The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

What Safety Leadership Behaviours did you Demonstrate today? (Part two)

Graham Marshall - Monday, July 04, 2011
Yesterday I said that leaders define the HSE culture in their organizations by demonstrating to those around them what is and what is not acceptable behaviour.

I then posed a number of questions for you to think about.

Today, we'll consider the meaning of your possible answers.

1.  Did you get out and about in your workplace and talk to anyone about hazards today?
If you answered "no" to the question above, what does that demonstrate?  Doesn't hazard management matter at your workplace?  Perhaps you were too busy with more pressing commitments?  Perhaps you're fearful about communicating with the workers about hazards because you might appear foolish?  What reasons can you think of that provide an excuse for not talking to people about hazards in the jobs they're doing?


2.  What have you done today to demonstrate that you follow written procedures?
How did you show you were following procedures?  Perhaps you decided you could break the rules?  Maybe the procedures don't apply to you?  Maybe they're out of date, unknown or just not workable?  What reasons could there be for you to demonstrate that the "rules are made to be broken"?

3.  What have you done today to ensure others in your organization are following written procedures?
Have you observed breaches of the rules and not intervened?  If so, why not?  What reasons could you have for allowing rule breaking to go on?  Did others that you influence notice you turning a "blind-eye" to known breaches of procedures?  What message do you think this behaviour sends to your subordinates?

4.  Do you know how your contractors are managing risk?
How do you know?  What have you done today to find out about the work your contractors may be performing?  What controls are they using to stay safe?  How are they planning their jobs? If you don't know, isn't it time you found out?

5.  Did you have a conversation today that had something to do with HSE?
If not, why not?  8-10 hours at work and not a single conversation about safety?  Incredible really?  Isn't it time for you to get out and get talking, influencing, and showing what your HSE expectations are?

6.  Did you do anything to close-out a corrective action from a hazard/incident report, an inspection or a HSE audit?
Your only excuse is if you don't have any correctives.  But there again, if you don't, is it due to a poor reporting culture?  Maybe you don't do workplace inspections?  Perhaps there isn't an audit plan?  Perhaps your people are fearful of reporting problems to you.  Why would that be do you think?

7.  Did you break any traffic rules when driving to work this morning?
Are the rules stupid?  Don't they apply to you?   Perhaps you're a great driver so don't need to comply to the stuff everyone else does?  What does this say about you?  What message are you sending to colleagues who may observe your driving style?

8.  Did anybody in your organization raise a HSE conversation with you?  If not, why not?
Maybe there just aren't any safety concerns in your business?  Is that true?  Or have people given up on coming to you with their problems.  Have they concluded that you don't care?  Have they concluded you won't listen?

In all cases it's a failure of leadership.

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