It is frustrating for me to see organizations’ inability to effectively address and resolve notable role model personnel who continue to take significant risks. Sometimes it is:
• Inexperienced work groups that are just trying to get the job done without adequate operations or safety knowledge
• Personnel who resist any kind of change as a supposed threat to their power
• Management leadership where the focus on output trumps all other considerations
• Employees who have always done a task in a way that is no longer acceptable in a safety culture which is more focused on preventing the possibility of incidents
Sometimes these key poor safety role model personnel are punished, or rewarded, or what seems most often the case; ignored. And yet their performance with respect to safety affects the decisions and actions of everyone around them.
In my opinion, role models who continue to take risks almost always deal with inconsistent and/or ineffective safety leadership who do not appropriately address the poor role model realities.
• Do we really know who the true safety role models are and what they are doing?
• Do we immediately address the unsafe issue and act to correct it?
• Do we appropriately counsel the poor safety role models who take risks?
• Do we place good safety role models in charge and reinforce their decisions to make the low safety risk approach the correct action?
• Are we visible in the workplace reinforcing the safe and productive culture?
• Do we reinforce the need for the work groups to stop whenever there is a safety concern, discuss the realities of the situation and then choose the safe low risk alternatives? This is not a search for an excuse not to do a job, rather it is a search for the ways to do tasks safely.
A poor safety role model culture requires strong safety leadership commitment and accountabilities from personnel who continually engage in demanding a safety culture of correct.