People, Culture, Process
Targeting Zero Harm may appear an ambitious goal for many organisations but setting zero harm as an organisational target demonstrates not only a strong commitment to continual improvement but it also provides a clear indication to workers, their families, the wider business community and the general public that your people are your most valuable asset, and for many organisations there are substantial business benefits to be realised from this.
At ComOps we believe that there are three critical components that encompass a successful zero harm campaign:
Selecting the Right People to lead and maintain your commitment to Zero Harm
Committed and visible leadership is a critical factor to the success of all safety programs and without leadership and 'true' commitment at the highest level; most programs are likely to fail.
If you want to instil a zero harm target it is imperative that senior management understand and embrace the notion that safety culture goes hand-in-hand with operational and production efficiencies, reduced wastage, improved industrial relations and a more motivated workforce. There must also be a commitment from management to filtering this vision down through the organisation.
This commitment needs to underpin all workforce planning and interactions from recruitment and training right through to the day to day scheduling of shifts. Without appropriate skill mixes, knowledge and rest periods between shifts, employees tend to suffer from reduced decision making and complex planning abilities, diminished communication skills, inhibited ability to handle stress and decreased attention and vigilance, all of which can quickly un-do any commitment to your zero harm policy.
The maintenance and fostering of a commitment to zero harm requires encouragement and adherence to this notion on every single shift, every single day. In order to do this managers need a system that can automatically use information such as; employee skill, availability, personnel equity and fatigue risk scores, to ensure that they have the right balance of people with the right skills and qualifications at all times. Doing this will help to prevent unacceptable placement patterns and prevent injury and risk.
Education is key to a true Safety Culture
With strong safety leadership set in place, the next step in moving towards a zero harm target is about making employees masters of their own safety and empowering them to make the right safety choices.
Inductions, training and internal communications are all paramount in ensuring you have a safety culture embedded in your organisation and that everyone knows the correct process and procedure.
Zero harm requires commitment from every single worker within an organisation. For this reason it is imperative that every employee is educated and made aware of the significant role that they play in achieving success. Organisations must ensure that training is personal and relevant, the messaging and management support is consistent and that communications are regular.
Give everyone the tools they need to achieve Zero Harm
Having good intentions is great but you need more than that to get results. You need to ensure every person in your organisation has the right tools to reinforce and deliver on your overall commitment to zero harm.
Without the right tools in place to monitor and track changes, the cultural development is likely to fail and employees are unlikely to proactively respond if the process is hard or they cannot see results.
Every staff member needs to be able to identify potential hazards and report incidents. You need automated processes that ensure proper and timely notifications so corrective actions can be assigned and executed as quickly as possible. Risk and Safety officers need in-depth analysis capabilities. Claims officers need relevant information. Finance Managers need tools to help them lower insurance premiums and Management need reliable reports to ensure they are not personally liable for breaches to legislation.