Great Safety Leadership: The Only Way to a Zero Injury Culture

CIM Montreal 2015
Michael Hajaistron (BST), Tom McGovern (BST)
In today’s world getting to a recordable rate of 1 injury per 200,000 hours worked or .5% is no longer good enough. Most organizations have set their sights higher and believe that zero is the only acceptable goal. And it is the right goal! The question is: Can organizations realistically attain this goal within the current business landscape?

Recent fluctuations across industries have contributed to a world that is infinitely more complex and varied than in the past. Companies are demanding more out of workers than ever before, and with less supervision. Downsizing, mergers, buyouts, and closings have led to an unstable and uncertain work environment. Pressure to cut administrative and labor costs are leading companies to increasingly rely on third party contractors. The workforce is aging, presenting new challenges to engagement and personnel management. Getting to zero in this environment sounds daunting—and these are only the major issues.

While safety procedures have multiplied in most organizations—sometimes with the express intent of getting to zero itself—they have proven ineffective, straining an already overtaxed workforce. Adding more programs is not the solution. Organizations don’t need more things to do but a way to get more out of what they are already doing.

Research shows that organizational culture and leadership have the strongest impact on safety performance and overall production. Organizations that have high-functioning cultures have proven to produce better results and to sustain them over time. Leadership is inextricably linked to culture, developing and shaping it with each leader’s words and actions.

This presentation focuses on the type of leadership research indicates is most supportive of a zero-injury culture. What are the best leadership practices that help build confident and efficient work teams? How do leaders develop a management style that gets the most out of employees and achieves the organization’s goals in safety and production? What are the practical, everyday ways a leader can directly develop a zero injury culture?

This presentation shows leaders and safety professionals:

• How to leverage culture to improve safety performance;
• The concrete aspects of culture that actually predict performance improvement;
• How to enhance leadership techniques in a way that strengthens culture and safety climate;
• How to be more supportive of safety efforts in a way that is highly predictive of success; and
• The type of leadership research indicates is most supportive of a zero-injury culture.

Keywords: Zero harm, Safety leadership
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