EHS Management

Take Some Time and Rethink Your Safety Strategy

You know you should have an overarching safety strategy to underpin your policies and procedures. But even if you have one, it may not be hitting on all cylinders. Shawn Galloway, president and chief operating officer of ProAct Safety of The Woodlands, Texas, has identified 5 strategy-based problems organizations need to overcome to improve both safety planning and execution.

  • Too many buzzwords. Beware of excessive use of terms like “zero injuries,” “employee engagement,” and “world-class safety performance” without a plan to achieve these lofty aspirations. This disparity can cause employees to think the strategy lacks substance and lose confidence in it.
  • First things first. Too many organizations jump to programs, solutions, training, and other tactics before thinking through the needs on a larger level. First determine what success looks like, what the destination is, and how to measure progress.
  • Pay attention to culture. Avoid focusing on incident prevention without considering the gap between what’s desired and the current culture. Galloway describes culture as the reason why compliance and excellence efforts succeed or fail.
  • Get good goals. Setting goals for incident reduction is a common approach. But often, the relationship between the initiatives you pursue and the goals itself is unclear or even missing. Link your goals to metrics.
  • Align with business. Make sure your safety strategy is aligned with and supports the business strategy. The belief that safety competes with production is outdated thinking. In fact, says Galloway, safety enables profitability and productivity. Strategy is not what to think, it’s how to think, he concludes.