A lack of injuries does not mean a good safety program exists

Wednesday, November 17, 2021 9:02 AM

One of the greatest misconceptions by a lot of people, including senior leaders and directors around a board room table, is that the absence of injuries in a business reflects that a good safety program is in place.  Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  One must dig much deeper beneath the surface level results to understand if the foundational programs, policies, processes, procedures, mindset, and behaviours exist within the organization from which results are obtained.  The “process” and the safety culture that exists in the organization is much more important than the results on any given day.  Said another way, the way the results are obtained within the business are at least equal to the results themselves.

Good safety results are not obtained by accident (i.e. safety is no accident).  It is the result of a dedicated effort by the entire team to create a culture that safety is paramount and where dedication translates to a commitment to be disciplined about planning and executing work in the right manner (including processes to check if the right manner is indeed correct).  

Safety is an investment in not only in the protection of the people of the team, but the culture of the business and organization as a whole.  As the culture created around safety translates into the other parts of the business as well and elevates the performance and results of the whole organization.  With a better safety focus (and results), operational reliability is often improved and costs in the business reduced translating to a better overall business as well.

Safety is the not the absence of injuries, but is the sum total of the mindset, attitudes, behaviours, procesess, and procedures needed to assure that nobody gets hurt.  Do not just feel comfortable with good results, as these could simply be luck, but dig deeper to understand if the foundation is storng to deliver those results on a regular and recurring basis.