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Strategic Safety: Overcoming the planning blind spot

Mar 9, 2021 12:19:22 PM / by DEKRA

When done right, safety can transform company culture and produce dramatic results in employee engagement, production, and other corporate goals. Organizations better at safety tend to perform better in other business areas and produce bottom line results everyone can get behind. The benefits safety offers the enterprise, however, are often overlooked in boardrooms where the company’s most important decisions are made. Corporate leaders often fail to recognize the advantages that can be gained by including safety in strategic planning or the ways business functioning can be improved with a comprehensive safety approach. In other words, at the highest levels of planning, safety falls into strategy’s blind spot.

This blind spot is caused by long-standing beliefs and tradition: safety is viewed (or overlooked) as a plant-level issue, best left to people working in the factory and in the field, with very little to do with boardroom discussions or executive decisions. While it is true that safety has the strongest impact on the people at the worksite, its role in the organization is profound. When integrated with the rest of the enterprise, safety offers meaningful tools and methods for making effective change. These tools are transferable—they can be applied to overall operational effectiveness, with wide-ranging benefits that significantly impact productivity, engagement, and quality. Through safety, leaders demonstrate their commitment to employees, their families, and the community—an effort that generates widespread support, discretionary effort, and loyalty.

Even when leaders recognize safety’s role in the big picture, they struggle with how to include it in strategy discussions. In many organizations, safety-related data never make their way to the people who need to see them. When the data does reach leaders, few have the training or experience to use the data the way their organizations need them to. We know that executives genuinely care about the wellbeing of their people, but in many organizations board members are often left in the dark about major injuries or feel helpless to prevent them. For them safety is a murky subject, and few understand its core elements or what they mean to the big picture. Senior-most leaders don’t know what to focus on and don’t know the right questions to ask.

In his white paper Safety Strategy: 5 Questions to Ask and Answer to Get Safety Right, Ted Apking, DEKRA Insight president of organizational safety, provides questions leaders need to start asking, and thought-provoking answers to them. He discusses the role of safety strategy in performance improvement and offers insights for leaders to guide strategy development and execution. He explores approaches to making safety part of enterprise planning and provides a starting point for developing a safety strategy. Safety Strategy: 5 Questions to Ask and Answer to Get Safety Right is a must read for every leader who wants to ensure he or she is not limited by a blind spot to safety improvement. After all, “failure to plan equals plan to fail.”

Overcome the safety blind spot, download the white paper: Safety Strategy: 5 Questions to Ask and Answer to Get Safety Right.

Topics: Serious Injury and Fatality, safety, organizational safety, DEKRA, workplace injuries, Workplace safety, safety leadership, culture, exposure


Written by DEKRA

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