Common Qualities of Success: BPIR.com advice concerning successful safety programmes

March 11, 2010 by

Terry Mathis, founder of U.S.  ProAct Safety, writes [1] that it has been found that successful safety improvement initiatives are:

1. Proactive: the successful implementation of reactive safety programmes will inevitably generate the need for the development of proactive safety programmes.

2. Focused: traditional initiatives commonly lead to the development of many rules and procedures, and these tend to overwhelm and to diffuse employee attention. Truly successful safety efforts focus upon the most important dangers and the appropriate ways to avoid these. When employees begin to automatically take precautions themselves then accidents rates tend to drop permanently.

3. Transformational: precautions that have the potential to produce a significant positive impact upon accidents are termed transformational precautions. Truly excellent safety efforts do not seek for modest gains, but for goals that will transform accident rates using minimal and practical levels of effort.

4. Employee Centric: safety improvements are often limited through a lack of worker involvement. Effective safety initiatives must approach risk from both a management and an employee perspective.

5. Clearly Communicated: effective communication is a trademark of successful safety initiatives, and when deeds and words don't match then the message becomes unclear.

6. Results Oriented: some safety initiatives have emphasised process metrics over results metrics. A profound knowledge of safety is found using both process metrics and result metrics along with an understanding of the relationship between the two.

7. Multi-dimensional: successful safety efforts benefit from contributions from quality, technology and behavioural science approaches.

8. Integrated: successful safety initiatives must become integrated into everything that an organisation does. Safety programmes that do not mesh with day-to-day activities are seldom successful, and they are certainly not sustainable. Integrated safety needs to become an organisational value.

9. Practical: safety success can be advanced by theories, but ultimately it can not be achieved if it does not fit the cultural, procedural and the real conditions that are found in the workplace.

10.Humanistic: Successful safety programmes need to win the hearts and minds of the people involved. Ultimately the reasons behind working on safety are just as important as the way it is implemented. Goals dominated by financial targets and benchmarks alone will not win the hearts of the people who are able make initiatives truly successful.

[1] Mathis, T., (2008), What Does Safety Success Look Like?, Occupational Hazards, Vol 70, Iss 8, pp 43-47, Penton Media, Inc., Cleveland

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Neil Crawford
BPIR

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