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Have you ever asked yourself the following questions:

  1. Does my organization support and sustain a safety culture?
  2. What daily actions must be implemented to influence a true culture that embraces safety?
  3. How can I improve the communication of hazards and associated risk issues and concerns?
  4. Am I “wired” into the organization?
  5. Are my efforts of value?
  6. How should a Safety Management System Process look like?
  7. Where do I get the necessary information I need and how do I keep it readily available?

Parts of the Book

Part 1  –  Laying the Foundation
Part 2  –  Safety Management Systems Defined
Part 3  –  How to Handle the Perception of Risk
Part 4  –  Tools to Enhance Your Safety Management

Chapter 1, The Perception of Safety

The development and sustainment of an organization’s safety culture requires a multidisciplinary approach that entails understanding the work environment, perceptions about safety, compliance, basic safety management systems, human error performance, communications, etc. For a safety culture to be developed and sustained, the leadership team and employees must change their perception about safety itself and the management system.

Chapter 2, Analyzing the Organizational Culture

An organization, whether public or private, large or small, must be constantly adjusting to its environment in order to meet a wide range of internal and external pressures and demands.  To understand an organization’s safety culture, you need to define how you want the safety management system to work within this environment of constant change. To establish a level of stability, a system of desired behaviors and beliefs must be developed that provides consistency in problem solving, decision-making and general relationships, and resilience to loss-producing events.

Chapter 3, Analyzing and Using Your Network

The importance of organizational networking in the development of an effective safety culture cannot be overstated. We are all part of a complex web of personal and professional networks. These networks establish how we send and receive information about ourselves, our environment, its issues, problems, and concerns as well as our successes and values.  We use this information to establish how we function, operate, and become a part of organizations, families, communities, and social or professional groups.

Chapter 4, Setting the Direction for the Safety Culture

When trying to improve, develop, or ensure that the safety management system can be sustained, you have to develop a planning process that will move the organization forward.  This planning process ranges from daily, weekly, and monthly activities to annual and multiyear planning. The overall big picture is to ensure that the safety culture is consistently maintained and that your safety management system is effective and efficient in the identification and control of hazards and associated risks.

Chapter 5, Overview of Basic Safety Management Systems

When you are in the beginning stage of developing and implementing a safety management system for your organization, communication is the key to success as.  To get all employees involved, at all levels of the organization, the quality and depth of your network is crucial to ensuring your messages gets transmitted.  Both the leadership team and employers will gain from a shared, collaborative effort and the system will be better as a result of everyone’s involvement.

Chapter 6, Management Leadership: Demonstrating Commitment

According to Dan Petersen, safety results require support and behaviors from the entire organization, especially top management.  While commitment starts with top management, it is necessary to get employees to participation to make the management system work.  This is an indicator of the perception of how well the organization is working to create a safe work environment.

Chapter 7, Leadership and the Effective Safety Culture

When the word “leader” is heard, it immediately conveys an image of someone who is able to step to the front of a group, clearly communicate what he or she desires the group to do, inspires the group to do more than what is normally expected and get the group to achieve what others did not think was possible.  Real Leaders are rare and leadership is something you know when you see it.

Chapter 8, Employee Involvement

For an effective safety culture, one of the core elements is employee involvement in the safety management system.  As part of the leadership team, you do not have to solve all of your safety culture issues alone.   Your organization already has great “built-in” resources available that may not be fully utilized as effectively as they should.  These resources are your employees!  If fully engaged, your employees can be your best problem-solvers as they are closest to the real and/or potential hazards and associated risk.

Chapter 9, Risk Perception - Defining How to Identify Personal Responsibility

An understanding of risk and its control must permeate your organization if an in-depth safety culture is to be sustained.  A safety management system using only inspections and observations to identify hazards will not provide a full appreciation of the potential for injury and damage without linking the results to the potential risk.

As safety is an emergent property of all aspects of an organization, without constant focus on the potential changes in the organizations, the potential for loss producing events may have a way of slipping out of control.  Too often the true scope of hazards and associated risk are only identified after a loss-producing event has occurred.

Chapter 10, Risk Management Principles

Risk Management is an essential element of a strong safety culture.  Safety management systems such as ANSI Z10-2012 (“Occupational Health and Safety Systems, ANSI/AIHA Z10,” 2012)  have criteria for a risk assessment to be completed as part of the overall analysis of an organization.  The concepts of risk management should be considered an essential part of the leadership team’s decision making.  All employees need a basic understanding of the terms risk, risk control and risk management if the organization’s safety culture is to be sustained.

Chapter 11, Developing an Activity-Based Safety System

In the ideal safety culture, the leadership team is constantly communicating and emphasizing their vision, the goals and objectives it believes are required for the organization to be successful.  A safety process is best implemented using a systematic approach that focuses efforts on key essential activities to drive improvement of communication, rapid feedback of issues and concerns, and improved coordination of safety activities.

Chapter 12, Developing the Job Hazard Analysis

The Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) is the foundation for any successful safety management system.  A safety culture can only exist when a full understanding of ongoing jobs, steps, and tasks are defined and the various hazards and associated risk are managed and controlled.   As such, the JHA is an essential element in the assessing of the depth and scope of risk within the organization.

Chapter 13, Education and Training - Assessing Safety Training Needs

The safety culture and safety management system are supported by effective, comprehensive education and training.  The culture of an organizational has a powerful influence over employee norms, habits, and behaviors as they complete their daily assignments and tasks.   The strength of the underlying unconscious perceptions, thoughts, beliefs, etc., of the organization can override the best safety-related training designed to influence behavior.

Chapter 14, Assessing Your Safety Management System

A Safety Management System assessment provides a comprehensive assessment of the current state of the safety culture.  The effectiveness of the safety management system should reflect the real values and beliefs of the organization.  A structured and detailed assessment should provide specific details about potential gaps and opportunities for further improvement, not just in the safety management system but in your organization as well.

Chapter 15, Becoming a Curator for the Safety Management System

Throughout this book, a central theme has been the emphasis on communication and the flow of critical hazard and associated risk information through an organization.  The safety culture is dependent on leadership and employees receiving and understanding the importance of maintaining open lines of communication, working towards reducing barriers and resistance to the message being sent.

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