“Regulation meant we had every procedure, process, and safety mechanism in the book – but that gave us a false sense of security, that we were completely safe. The sad reality was that our people were hurting themselves to get the job done.”

Sean Trainor led employee engagement for high profile brands in energy, rail and construction sectors, so he knows what it’s like when your safety performance reaches a point where it just plateaus, or worse, begins to drop – despite all your best efforts.

He believes that success begins and ends with culture in your organisation and has an idea to strengthen and improve its performance. It’s called Safe Places To Work and gives a benchmark for organisations on important factors that influence safer cultures.

“It’s like the Sunday Times ‘Best Places To Work’, but our list gives insight into issues that promote or prohibit safety culture. So people can learn from leaders and get clear advice on how to improve.”

What’s behind the Safe Places To Work benchmark?

Leading consultancies like OC Tanner, Uber Engagement and JOMC have joined forces to create three measures of strong safety culture:

  • Enablement – support by management
  • Recognition – reward and encouragement
  • Engagement – winning hearts and minds

After an employer and employee assessment based on these measures, participants gain a report that compares their results with global benchmark figures.

The idea is that best practice and healthy competition encourage positive change. Because organisations learn from each another and want to be a recognised global leader in safety.

Safe places to work logo

Organisations who make the top 100 benchmark scores get invited to an award ceremony in late September 2013, where companies are awarded by sector and size. The top 100 list is published in a special Sunday Telegraph supplement at the end of October 2013 with case studies to show best in class.

Where did the idea come from?

“As a manager it was hard to accept the norm of getting injured to get the job done. Something had to change, and it did.”

Back when Sean oversaw people handling tonnes of hydrofluoric acid and high-temperature uranium he found it frustrating that although there were fewer serious incidents, people were still getting hurt at work.

So by improving engagement with staff they saw a change in AFR from 3.4 to 0.36 within a year:

“Hardly world-class but a step change. More interesting though was that production rose to the highest rate in our plant’s 20 year history, at the same time we had the lowest absenteeism, overtime with the lowest manpower.”

Sean realised that the route to a happier and healthier workforce was also the route to a more effective and productive workforce.

“…an unintended, but very welcomed consequence of making a safer place to work.”

Join Safe Places To Work

The assessment and selection process begins on 24th July 2013, to remind people that safety culture is 24/7 and engagement never stops.

Contact JOMC to register your interest in the top 100 Safe Places To Work.

This article was written by Chris Kenworthy