I use a concept called the Six Levels of Safety Performance as a practical model that takes the organization from a fundamental safety regs approach all the way through to an organization that is passionately engaged in leading the relentless pursuit of a zero incident safety culture.
The levels are briefly described as:
Level One: The regulations are mostly about reacting to condition related items in the work place. These are a necessary fundamental to safety, but really don’t make for a proactive safety culture that focuses on the activities that seem to cause most injuries
Level Two: What we see in the workplace and react to in order to prevent future incidents. This area deals with programs like Behavior Based Safety, Job Safety Analysis, Near Miss Reporting and Inspections
Level Three: What we do to proactively prevent injuries, i.e., Safety Accountabilities for personnel throughout the organization
Level Four: Safety culture diagnostics that dig deep into what all our personnel believe to be the strengths and weaknesses of our organization.
Level Five: How we engage our people in solving the problems that exist in the first four levels. Here the focus in on Continuous Improvement (CI) teams made up from across, as well as up and down the organization. They are the analyze, focus, execute groups that are “fix it” oriented
Level Six: How we develop and engage an ever expanding cadre of leaders that relentlessly pursue a culture of zero incident performance
For decades the safety profession has had a level one, with some amount of level two, mindset. This is analogous to living in a one dimensional world, it just doesn’t make sense. There is just not enough performance horsepower technology available with a reactive government regs approach. The level one world has time and again proven to give disappointing results that don’t deliver a sustained zero incident safety culture. To get there you will have to diagnose what the real issues are (level 4), engage your people in solving the problems (level 5) that include safety accountabilities (level 3) for employees who must live the solutions the teams deliver. Only then can you develop an ever expanding passionately involved leadership (level 6) up and down and across the whole organization that lives to deliver zero incident excellence.
What have you got to loose by breaking the decades old disappointing lockstep one dimensional world of regs and observations?