Partly cloudy
14 °C
Seattle, Washington
Partly cloudy

Fri Jul 19 2019
none

Five steps to improving safety in the workplace

31-08-2010
by 
in 
Five steps to improving safety in the workplace

A client told me that one of the Senior Managers in his company sent an email to everyone in the organisation asking if they had any ideas about how to improve the “alarming safety performance.”

On the positive side maybe he was trying to engage his employees in improvement opportunities?

On the other hand maybe he was really lost and was looking for answers.

If this sounds familiar or you are about to press the send button have a think about the following five steps to turn a big problem like “alarming safety performance” into some manageable steps that your team can really help you with.

If all is well in your business maybe have a look at Step 5 anyway!

Step 1: What is the problem?

When you have decided you want to make a change you have already made the first crucial step; you have recognised things need to change! The reason you have got to this point is in response to what I call the “trigger” event(s). Trigger events are typically an incident or change in management or maybe Regulator action.

Have a brainstorm with your people about what they perceive as the triggers and agree on a manageable number.

Step 2: How did we get to this point?

Once you have identified your triggers you need to decide how they happened – please keep to the facts only! There is no need to blame anyone – we are in this together. Ask the five “Why’s”. Why did that happen? Why did that happen? And so on. It’s a good idea to have a facilitator to help you agree on 5 or 10 reasons why each of the triggers occurred.

Step 3: Minimum standards

The result of your 5 Whys should have given you a list of causes. Now have a look at what minimum standards you could put in place to prevent these. See if you can group your minimum standards together into clear and sensible “rules” such as “Never work on energised equipment,” “Never walk under a suspended load,” or “Always drive a vehicle under the speed limit.”

Step 4: Engage

Your new rules can be used to address “the alarming safety performance” but please don’t just send an email to everyone or simply post them on a notice board. It is important to engage with your people, to get them on board, to help them understand why these rules are useful, and gain some ownership. You need them to be in partnership with you on this.

Step 5: Review

Effective systems need to be reviewed and learning’s from the review fed back into Step 1. After six months have a look and see if your standards have made any difference to the safety performance, talk with the team from Step 4 to see what they think, and, if you think it is necessary update and refresh them.

Five steps is part of the Journey Program, a simple way to improve injury risk.

* Dr Marcus Cattani is the Director & Principal of Cattani Consulting.

Related news & editorials

  1. 19.07.2019
    19.07.2019
    by      In
    The design and function of safety engineering is constantly evolving, and Treotham is keeping up with the trends with its Euchner safety products.
    Digitisation increases machine availabilityIn complex networked installations and machines, providing functional safety information about the door... Read More
  2. 18.07.2019
    18.07.2019
    by      In
    Control Logic has a new range of IP69K-rated safety light curtains and light grids from Schmersal that are suitable for use in hygiene-sensitive sectors including food, pharmaceuticals, meat and milk processing.
    The SLC/SLG 440 IP69K series safety devices can withstand frequent cleaning with water... Read More
  3. 16.07.2019
    16.07.2019
    by      In
    Insurance and Care NSW (icare) and Paralympics Australia have announced a three-year extension of their partnership, ensuring NSW workers continue to benefit from unique opportunities for support and mentoring from Australian Paralympic athletes.
    icare’s Paralympian Speakers Programme is now in... Read More
  4. 02.07.2019
    02.07.2019
    by      In
    iAuditor is a mobile app designed to empower workers in the field by performing paperless inspections. Once a workplace hazard has been identified, frontline workers can mitigate safety risks and communicate actions in real time.
    Building and sustaining a safe work environment is also the... Read More