Project Description


Ultimate goal of zero incidents

BAE Systems has a significant role in keeping the UK safe. They play a key role in society by helping to grow the UK’s national and regional economy and boost prosperity, skills and technological know-how. Every year BAE Systems makes an important contribution to the UK’s Gross Domestic Product and exports.

Tribe has supported BAE Systems for many years and the safety, health and wellbeing of their employees remains an enduring priority.

Head of Health and Safety at BAE Systems Munitions, Ian Smith, instigated excellent procedures and processes at the UK’s manufacturing sites and they were gaining success in driving down accident trends.

However, Ian realised that more could be done to encourage an even better culture across the 1,200-strong workforce. He knew he needed some external support to influence the key behaviours that would lead to their ultimate goal of zero incidents.


Culture Assessment

With Tribe on board, the first step was a probing Culture Assessment conducted across the business. The results shaped a culture change programme of training and awareness – encompassing the senior leadership team, all levels of management and all operatives.

We then developed a new work code called ‘start safe, talk safe, home safe’ and accompanying graphics to underpin the desired key behaviours and provide a springboard for the culture change journey:

Start safe is about making sure workers have everything required to do their job safely before they start i.e the right information, the right tools and protective equipment, and that they consider risks and minimise these before starting a task.

Talk safe encourages the workforce to speak up about safety and find opportunities to discuss safe way of working. It’s about feeling supported and encouraging people to challenge unsafe behaviours and give recognition for working safely.

Home safe recognises that everyone has responsibilities outside work. It’s down to everyone to make sure we can all go home safe and continue to live our lives to the full.

Creating a programme identity and communications roadmap

To launch this new way of working to everyone across the business, we created a comprehensive communications programme. Each part of the business displayed banners and graphic boards around their site, including welcome boards at each site entrance explaining the programme’s key messages.

A short film featured the managing director and his senior team explaining their commitment to ensuring everyone goes home safely. It was important to make sure the message felt relevant to everyone in the business so filmed discussion groups featured a cross section of the workforce. Employees discuss how the key issues affect them and what motivates them to work safely.

We met the contributors in their lives outside work enjoying hobbies and with their families to give the film a really personal feel.

The management teams at each site used the film as part of a launch workshop for every member of staff. The session included an opportunity for internal teams to discuss how the issues relate to them and to agree how they can work together to make their sites even safer places.


Engaging the workforce through workshops

As part of the ‘Motivate’ stage of the programme we ran workshops – firstly with the senior leadership team, then across the whole business.

Culture change workshops bring people together to consider the culture in a new, more positive way, while challenging current attitudes values and beliefs. We used a range of ‘sticky’ interactive exercises and a highly charged, engaging case study to encourage open debate.

Everyone was brought together behind a common vision for improvement and encouraged to identify the part they can each play in achieving sustainable culture change within the business.

We also took individuals through workshops to create ‘talk safe’ practitioners. 25% of all employees are taking part in training sessions to arm them with the skills required to have good quality safety discussions or talk safe conversations.

Using a structured framework, the session provided an opportunity to practise, in front of the camera for immediate feedback, how to get the most out of these opportunities, give recognition for safe behaviour, get to the root cause of any unsafe behaviour and to solicit a genuine commitment to work safely.

The key part of any safety discussion is prompting the person working to think for themselves about they how they or others could be hurt by their actions.


Sustaining the programme

BAE Systems Munitions have run monthly campaigns based on the key risks and behaviours identified in our work. These campaigns include posters, managers’ guides and toolbox talks.


The programme has resulted in:

  • Major injuries down 10%
  • Lost time injuries down 80%
  • Injuries to contractors down 42%
  • Days lost down 91%
  • Recordables down 60%
  • Occupational illnesses down 100%

“‘Start safe, talk safe, home safe’ is a great success. There has been a noticeable shift in the culture with all employees significantly more engaged with safety. More issues are being raised, more near misses are being reported, and most importantly we are beginning to see all of this translated into a reduction in accidents. That means fewer people hurt at work and fewer lives disrupted outside work.

We are very proud that the wider business has now adopted ‘start safe, talk safe, home safe’ with the communications campaign being rolled out across BAE Systems Land and Armaments in the US, South Africa and across the rest of Europe.”

Ian Smith
Head of HSE, BAE Systems Munitions

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