Your Safety Culture: Real World or Fantasy?

If you could wave a magic wand to improve your company’s safety culture, what would you change?

Would you…

… update Life-Saving Rules (LSRs)?

… implement better oversight for contractors at your worksite?

… cultivate leadership engagement?

All these activities play a role in promoting worker safety. But the question must be asked: how efficiently do these efforts align your safety culture with the expectations of stakeholders such as employees, customers, and regulators? What really works?

You may be surprised to discover that LSRs and even Fatality Prevention Programs (FPPs) don’t correlate positively with the prevention of tragic accidents on the job. Shockingly, a 2018 ERM Global Safety Survey of various industries found that these programs do not make a statistical difference in a serious injury or fatality rates. Of course, every company should carefully establish and conscientiously maintain such rules and programs, but—in and of themselves—these measures are not enough.

So… what will increase the effectiveness of your safety culture? Part of the answer lies in recognizing that risk continues to shift from host company employees toward contractors, who increasingly engage in hazardous activities. Understandably, it’s more challenging to explain and enforce company safety rules for contract workers.

Here’s a good place to begin—rigorous contractor engagement early in the process. In the same survey cited above, 94% of respondents reported that opportunities exist to address safety issues when qualifying, selecting, and inducting contractors. Always remember that safety on the job is a shared responsibility between the host company and the employer of record.

Additionally, be mindful that leaders—especially those working on the frontline—provide critical contributions to jobsite safety. Are your leaders spending enough time in the field to understand the concerns and needs of workers? Do they continue to improve their hazard recognition skills? Do they have the necessary time and resources to coach both contractors and company employees?

These are just a few common-sense ideas to help you enhance your company’s safety culture, and, happily, there’s no magic required!

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