By Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt
I recently wrote a series of social media messages about attributes of a healthy safety culture. I received some interesting feedback and cross-talk from organizational safety leaders, so I wanted to make the collected messages available in PDF form for this blog’s readers.
Click on any of the attributes listed below to read the original messages.
- Top-Level Management Commitment
- Personal Accountability and Empowerment
- Risk Awareness and Planning
- Problem Identification and Resolution
- Promoting Open Reporting
- A Culture of Continuous Learning
- Using the Proper Metrics
- The Questioning Attitude
- Just Culture
I hope that, after viewing these messages, readers look around their operations, note where an attribute is lacking from their organization’s safety culture, and consider whether the shortcoming presents an opportunity for improvement. As widely known expert on organizational accidents James Reason said, “There are no final victories in the struggle for safety.”
While writing these messages, I realized again how integrally enmeshed personal and organizational responsibility are in the safety journey. The active error committed by one employee might not have been committed by another, but the same employee who committed the error might not have done so in another organization. Furthermore, in addition to individuals, an organization might be at the root of an accident.
Continuous safety improvement takes both conscientiousness and boldness to voluntarily identify what might go wrong and to think through the “what ifs” on the way to mitigating risk. It’s a tall order, and my hat is always off to those who accept the challenge—our safety professionals.
I hope that these musings will be of value to you and your colleagues as you move forward in your safety journey!