Safety Officers: If safety is everyone’s responsibility, why does it feel as though it’s your responsibility alone?


“Culture clearly indicates everyday to every worker whether safety is a key value… it determines the extent of casualties, trauma, stress claims and compensation paid… and it dictates whether elements of a safety system succeed or fail.” Dan Peterson The Four C’s of Safety: Culture, Competency, Consequences & Continuous Improvement.

When it comes to creating a safe culture, great companies leave nothing to chance, because culture touches everyone and affects everything.

A sound safety culture benefits the entire organisation. It’s your most powerful tool for preventing pain, injury (or worse) for workers. For employers, it means that efficiencies are enhanced and less hours are lost to absenteeism.

Companies that have experienced major catastrophes can attest to the devastating consequences that accidents can have on an organisation. In the 21st century, companies are under pressure to create work places that are sound environments for employees and stakeholders, while also delivering on their mandate to create value for their shareholders.

These demands may appear to be conflicting and, indeed, with many traditional safety interventions that generate only a cost to the company without delivering tangibles, they are.

However, a safety intervention that actually performs and generates a culture of safety, efficiency and quality has the power to deliver vastly-enhanced shareholder value, while also managing the risk of accidents.

In the domain of human behaviour, emotions exert a far more powerful effect than logic.

Rigidly enforcing your safety rules and procedures may not guarantee a safer, more productive working environment. The average employee spends 40 hours or 23% of their week, at work. Of that time, management is generally only able to directly observe them approximately 10% of the time, with the rest being the employee’s responsibility to self-supervise.

We thus cannot look to management to be solely accountable for safety – every employee needs to internalise safety – every employee needs to take accountability for themselves and those around them.

The ultimate solution for organisations seeking to improve leadership and employee buy-in, ensuring that everyone follows safety guidelines – not because they have to, but because they want to, is by co-creating a fully-inclusive Safety Formula that everyone commits to, has daily visibility of, and can be measured to mitigate risks of accidents and incidents.