Safety Leadership

DSC07163One of the hot topic discussion during 2nd Operation Safety Challenges Forum for the Oil & Gas Industry is about “Safety Leadership”.

Safety Leadership is defined as “The process of defining the desired state, setting up the team to succeed, and engaging in the discretionary efforts that drive the safety value,” which broadly boils down to “engaging in and maintaining behaviors that help others achieve our safety goals”. Common Safety Leadership strategies appear to be:

[1] Value Alignment: Encouraging people to take personal responsibility for safety by setting expectations for each layer (Senior, Middle, Front-line management, and employees) linked to clear goals. These are often created at a dedicated session where the CEO outlines his/her vision and senior managers determine how to translate that into concrete actions. Importantly, they strive to ensure the strategies and interventions adopted are aligned to their strategic intent and do not just boil down to a simple signing of the safety policy. Reinforcement strategies include all board members holding a weekly conference call where plant managers are required to discuss incidents occurring in the previous week, root cause analysis results, corrective actions, best practices, etc. At plant/operation levels, morning meetings are often held to discuss any and all pressing safety issues. Annual effectiveness assessments are often conducted with 360 degree reviews of individual managers; an organizational-wide safety survey; and, further diagnostics surrounding discreet organizational safety systems.

[2] Systems & Monitoring: Putting a robust Risk or Safety Management System in place encompassing (but not limited to) Preventive Maintenance; Operation Procedures; Inspections; Permit-to-Work systems; Safety talks; Safety Committees; Risk Assessments; Near-miss reporting; Training; Management of Change (MoC); Risk Management plans, etc. In terms of effectiveness, the monitoring focus appears primarily to be on incident rates (lagging indicators); Safety Surveys, and Gap Analyses via Internal Audit functions (leading Indicators).

[3] Education & Awareness: Providing safety leadership training so that safety leadership becomes a corporate value. Effectiveness assessment of the training strategy revolves around employees visibly observing the leadership commitment to a safe workplace, and leaders in the organization being more knowledgeable on safety with line management accepting their safety responsibilities.

[4] Exhibiting Visible Leadership: Encouraging the management team (from the most senior down) to exhibit visible leadership commitment to a safe workplace. This visible demonstration appears to take the form of chairing of safety meetings; Ownership of the SMS (i.e. conducting risk assessments, investigating accidents); Involvement in quarterly reviews & training; Two-way dialogues about safety with personnel; and, Site safety tours. Effectiveness is assessed by monitoring the number and quality of managerial observations / conversations (leading indicator). Typically some type of robust, but easily accessible, tracking system is required to monitor the outcomes of the observations and discussions.

In addition to engagement it’s important to differentiate among your employees in terms of their willingness and ability to “get on board,” adopt a safety-leadership culture, and perform at high levels. One of the best ways to do that is by force ranking them as A, B, or C players. Watch bellow video Managing the ABCs of Safety Leadership


About Risman Dukhan

Process learning never stops until the end of our life. Never regard study as a duty but as an enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later works belong.
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