World-Class Safety Culture: Applying the Five Pillars of Safety
- Michael Saujani (MKS Safety LLC)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- February 2016
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 37 - 41
- 2016. American Society of Safety Engineers
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 88 since 2007
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- This article shares lessons learned from one company’s experience developing a world-class safety culture through innovation, hard work and persistence.
- OSH professionals are encouraged to use the five pillars of safety to create a road map to world-class safety culture.
When OSH professionals talk about world class, they generally mean best of the best, best in the class, best in the world. Murali (2012) defines safety culture as “the attitude, beliefs, perceptions and values that employees share in relation to safety” in an organization.
Since safety is a process, world-class safety cannot have a singular value. The Campbell Institute identified five main qualities based on its analysis of applications for NSC’s Award of Excellence, which recognizes superior OSH management systems. Specifically, these are: 1) OSH on par with business performance; 2) system-based approach to OSH; 3) continuous improvement; 4) OSH aligned with organization strategies and values; and 5) promoting safety and health on and off the job.
Similarly, Hansell (2012) identifies five key qualities found among world-class companies: 1) visible senior management leadership and commitment; 2) employee involvement and ownership; 3) systemic integration of OSH and business functions; 4) data-based decision making and system-based root-cause analysis; and 5) going beyond compliance.
This article shares lessons from the author’s experience in helping a large multilocation printing operation develop a world-class safety culture (Saujani & Adler, 2004). This effort was based on five key pillars: 1) management commitment; 2) employee ownership; 3) system data; 4) system integration; and 5) organization- wide engagement. Although this case example involved a manufacturing setting, most of the principles and ideas used can apply to various other industries as well.
Management Leadership & Commitment
Visible senior management leadership and commitment to safety are critical factors in setting a goal to attain world-class performance and developing the culture needed to achieve this goal. This commitment is best indicated “by the proportion of resources (time, money, people) and support allocated to health and safety management and by the status given to health and safety” (Flin & Yule, 2004).
How can an OSH professional secure management commitment? A proactive safety professional should know the characteristics of senior managers and understand what distinguishes the organization from similar companies. Some senior leaders are holistic and may need constant communication. Others make knowledge-based decisions—they need to hear logical reasoning behind safety-related activities and expenditures.
However, all senior leaders want their organizations to succeed financially and to perform optimally. This raises the question: How can an OSH professional use what motivates senior leaders (e.g., profit) to gain visible management commitment in safety?
|File Size||475 KB||Number of Pages||5|