26 Nov Four key attributes of strong safety culture
What’s our approach to changing safety culture? Once upon a time I would’ve given a fairly simple answer to that question.
You see, JOMC have been in this business for over 2 decades now. And personally I’ve been doing it for over 10 years, so it’d be very easy for me to reel off some typical steps and be done with it.
We know that for some organisations, who’ve never embarked on this type of thing, we could just go through a structured set of stages to create a strong and sustainable safety culture. As long as you adapt as you go along and recognise and deal with challenges, you can do something that’s very effective.
But for other organisations it’s not that simple. Like those who’ve:
- tried and failed
- achieved their goals but now things are tailing off
- been successful and want to build on that success
The secret here is to think about the end result
What does strong safety culture look like to you? By starting with this in mind, your approach to creating it becomes much more meaningful. Because you can actually work out what you really need to do, understand the absolutes and be very flexible with it. Instead of sticking to a rigid formula that runs the risk of failing.
So, going back to my longevity in the game (I may have just begun my inevitable descent into sounding like a hackneyed old veteran), here are my top four attributes of a truly world-class safety culture:
- A compelling sense of purpose: clear and inspiring vision, alongside a practical sense of how to get there.
- Engaging leadership: people who demonstrate honesty, integrity and create transparency across the business. They are visible, engage with their people regularly and understand what it takes to coach people to give them ownership, rather than just dictating instructions.
- Personal responsibility at all levels: individuals who recognise the importance and impact of their own behaviour, take ownership of issues where they can, and look out for their team members.
- An effective process of continual improvement: belief at every level in the importance of continuous improvement with simple, practical processes to enable it, allowing both shared learning and effective feedback.
Are all four attributes in place at your organisation? Read our examples of strong safety culture for advice on how to get there.