Safety Culture - 10 Things to Help Improve a Safety Management System!

In order to develop a successful safety culture, one needs to understand the basic elements that make up a management process. If you are looking to take your system to the next level, the following ten things will help you improve your safety management system and will help you with your journey:

   1. Defining safety roles and responsibilities for all levels of the organization. For example, ensuring that safety is a line management function and not part of the safety professional's role.
   2. Developing upstream measures. Stop focusing on OSHA's Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR) as a measurement. For example, document and track the number of reports of hazards/suggestions, number of committee projects/successes, number of related specific activities, etc.
   3. Ensure that management and supervisors are aligned with the vision, by establishing a shared-vision of safety goals and objectives vs. production, quality, etc.
   4. Implementing a process that holds managers and supervisors accountable for visibly being involved where they will set the proper example and leading a positive change for safety.
   5. Evaluating and rebuilding any incentives and disciplinary systems for safety, as necessary. For example, not basing the incentives and disciplinary system on the number of recordable injuries. Instead focus on specific activities that have been performed.
   6. Ensuring that all safety committees understand their roles and responsibilities, have a defined charter, and are functioning properly. For example all employees should know how to become a member of a committee, understand their responsibilities/functions, and authority.
   7. Providing multiple paths for employees to make suggestions, concerns, or problems. One such mechanism should use the chain of command and ensure that there are no repercussions against employees. The key is to track suggestions, concerns, and/or problems and hold supervisors and middle managers accountable for being responsive to all employee concerns.
   8. Developing a system that tracks and ensures that there is timely hazard correction. Many sites have been successful in building this in with an already existing work order system.
   9. Ensuring that there are methods for reporting injuries. Educate employees on the importance of reporting minor injuries and loss producing events. For example, first aid cases and any near misses.
  10. Evaluating and rebuilding the injury investigation system as necessary to ensure that investigations are conducted on a timely basis, complete, and effective. Ensure that each injury has an identified root cause. Avoid blaming employee for injuries. Take a look at the management system as a whole to see if there was a failure in the system.

As stated, if you are looking to take your safety management system to the next level, the listed ten items will help you with the needed improvement along your with your journey.


"Developing an Effective Safety Culture: A Leadership Approach" by James Roughton

OSHA Web site - eTools - Safety and Health Management


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