The Importance of Safety in Your Corporate Strategy
By Susen Trail | 09/21/2020
Harvard Business Review author Michael D. Watkins defines Strategy as "a set of guiding principles that, when communicated and adopted in the organization, generates a desired pattern of decision making. A good strategy provides a clear roadmap, consisting of a set of guiding principles or rules, that defines the actions people in the business should take (and not take) and the things they should prioritize (and not prioritize) to achieve desired goals."
However, many businesses do not bring their Safety Manager, or safety information, into strategic planning sessions. As a result changes in production or facilities are planned but hazard identification and prevention are not. As a result the Safety Manager and Safety Committee are always playing catch up and the communication gap, while obvious to them, often remains unidentified by upper management.
Businesses need a Safety strategy that fits within, and is formed by, the overall business strategy. Otherwise the programs and activities are just a reaction to the hazards as they come up. This leads to:
- Short circuited communication
- Lack of connection between the programs and safety activities
- Greater work, and re-work
- Perception, and actuality, that safety is not supported by management
- Greater cost, production delays, etc.
In part this is due to a sort of 'language barrier' between the two parties. Few Safety Managers have any background in business and vice versa. Few in management have any training or experience as a Safety Manager and don’t have the time or desire to start learning now
When we designed our Safety Management Software we wanted it to not only make the Safety Manager's job easier we wanted it to make his or her job more understandable to upper management. To do this we created two management-oriented tools:
- Executive Safety Champion
- When setting up the company information there is a data entry point to identify one person in upper management who will keep the Safety Manager in the loop about decisions and goals currently being discussed in the C-Suite. This person will also be prepared to answer, or get the answer, to questions related to safety that may come up in board meetings.
- The Return on Investment graph
- Our Safety Observations reports can praise an employee or condition or report a hazard that needs to be addressed. All of our forms can be set to become a Safety Observation if the data entered indicates an unsafe state, such as a ladder that is missing a cleat that needs to be removed from service and repaired.
- As part of the prevention investigation you can enter the cost in production slow down, property damage, etc. the company could be reasonably expected to incur if the hazard is not controlled and an accident is not prevented.
- This information is automatically entered on a dashboard of performic metrics graphs that can be accessed in less than a minute, including logging in.