Jan 8, 2020
Safety leadership is not about doing the bare minimum required to be compliant. Instead, a strong culture of safety is one where workers and managers are truly committed to working safely. This is a top-down and bottom-up approach and delivers more than lip-service to OSHA requirements.
Yes, compliance is essential, but it's time to move past the lingo and paperwork and move to a place of deep trust between all employees and management. In that environment, a strong safety culture can take hold and thrive. Trust is the key to transforming an organization.
Trust can be broken down into the following five core components:
Caring: Show real concern for workers. Employees can easily figure out if compliance is about lip service or if there is real actionable intent behind the care.
Commitment: Take a stand and make the impossible possible. Commitment is about holding on to your word until the final task is finished. Commitment to a strong safety culture becomes a value in itself and is non-negotiable.
Consistency: Everyone agrees to the rules and they apply to all workers and managers, alike.
Competence: What is the skillset that aligns with the particular challenge at hand. Is there enough training available for workers to be at the top of their game? Higher trained workers will do a better job of keeping their workplace safe and productive.
Communication: This is essential. Are the tasks, challenges, obstacles, and goals communicated effectively by management? Also, are workers able to communicate their concerns, should any arise? Communication is a two-way street in this regard if a company wants a strong safety culture/
Top safety leaders create a safety culture that shifts from a minimum requirement of compliance to a workforce where employees are committed to working safely. Safety leaders know that safety starts and ends with the people. It’s not about the confusing jargon, acronyms, abbreviations, and the piles and piles of paperwork. It’s about the deep trust that exists between the company and the workers.
Safety leaders agree that compliance is important. Compliance is the rules, regulations and laws that are necessary for a safe workplace. For this article I spoke to three safety to leaders to better understand how they moved from understanding and knowing the rules and regulations to being committed to operating safely always. It all comes down to trust!
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