Safety Culture Transformation
Globally many people are employed in high-risk environments where safe behaviour plays a crucial role in day-to-day tasks. Given the advancements in technology and systems which provide us with ample opportunities to improve control in our workplaces, why do injuries, production stoppages, litigations and fatalities still occur?
A company with an Agile Safety Culture reflects a work environment that unlocks inspiration, because employees feel supported to act safely. Team morale is positive, and collaboration and compliance is an inherent and natural part of everyday working life. Given that opportunities to participate in, and be involved in safety-related matters is part and parcel of the culture. There is a high level of ownership for safety, resulting in it being internalised as a guiding value in and outside of the workplace. People continuously find new ways to be proactive in driving safety on an individual and team level to curb behavioural complacency, indicating their responsibility and commitment to a safe and meaningful workplace and community. There are high levels of trust among individuals, teams, and units who are evaluated against clear, common goals and safety targets which support the creation of a safe organisational culture.
People can easily share their concerns and/or ideas, and they are involved in the decisions affecting their day-to-day activities. In an agile safety organisation, safety concerns are quickly and effectively dealt with and there is a culture of learning from safety mistakes. Supervisors influence others by acting as safety champions and mentors by providing frequent feedback and coaching. The growth path explains the balance between safety mindset and safety vigilance. The lower end of the growth channel represents a low maturity or indifferent safety culture, while the top end shows a mature, agile safety culture.
WHAT IS SAFETY AGILITY?
Safety Agility is dynamic and shaped by two predominant influences, Safety Vigilance and Safety Mindset. Both of these aspects are measurable. Simply put, they show what we believe and think about safety (mindset) and how we act towards safety (vigilance).
SAFETY VIGILANCE – BEYOND MERE RESILIENCE
Safety vigilance describes the move towards a more proactive approach to safety, where compliance is leveraged to make a real and lasting impact. Employees also work together to drive continuous safety improvements while looking after their own and others’ safety. The elements of safety vigilance allow us to determine the organisation’s readiness to embrace safety as an intrinsic core value.
SAFETY MINDSET – THE HEART AND MIND OF SAFETY
Safety mindset describes the organisational factors that shape our thinking with regards to safety. For example, how the quality of interactions amongst employees and with their supervisor’s drive, employees’ work-life experiences, or the safety climate. As the levels of workforce engagement and safety inclusiveness making up the safety climate become entrenched, an organisation’s safety culture is formed. Together, these elements allow us to determine the overall safety mindset within an organisation, reflecting the trueness of working relationships, employee morale and ownership towards safety.
When these aspects are found to be in balance, an organisation is squarely positioned in the growth channel towards a safety culture that is agile. And this is an exciting place to be.
Why? Because Safety Agility increases the likelihood that employees will engage in critical safe behaviours and resist pressures to take shortcuts, and in so doing, contribute to a reduction in behaviour-related safety incidents. We’ve seen first-hand how having a safer, more engaged and involved workforce, improves more than just safety. Over time, production and quality indicators begin to shift as well.