Message to Corporate Leaders from Safety Speaker John Drebinger
Make sure your employees truly understand your total commitment to safety!
You are charged with successfully achieving your company’s mission and making a profit for your stockholders. I have interviewed many corporate leaders who have discovered how to convey their commitment to safety to everyone on their team. Safety is one of those values that come from the top down.
The problem is that in the rush of getting the job done some employees misunderstand that you still want the job done safely. You must always make sure each and every employee understands your level of commitment to safety. People have short memories or concentrate on the message of the moment. They may have understood you when you last addressed them at a safety kickoff or other meeting. You told them that safety is a must and every job must be done with safety as the key focus. The problem is that in the midst of a crisis or during future meetings they hear you say how important production or solving a key problem is. You might say, “Do whatever it takes to get this job done!” You mean do whatever it takes as long as you can do it safely, but they don’t hear that unless you reinforce it every time. I suggest you always direct those you lead by saying, “Do whatever it takes to get the job done, safely.” How about, “Get it done no matter what, safely.” This reminds them of the importance of getting results, but lets them know that your directives and focus on safety are still in place.
As a leader you must capture a vision and share that vision with your fellow leaders so that you achieve the safety results you expect. Reinforce, Reinforce, and Reinforce again. John can teach you the secrets he has learned by interviewing CEO’s and leaders who have successfully conveyed their vision to all members of their team.
Your integrity is vital to conveying a safety vision. Your people know what values you are not willing to compromise. Is safety one of those or do they think that when the going gets tough that safety slips down in priority?
Successful leaders demonstrate their commitment to safety by some of the following activities:
- They personally attend major safety events and kickoffs;
- They honor their commitment to preventing negative consequences of reporting close calls;
- They follow up on safety problems and make sure those responsible have solved the problem;
- Constant monitoring of middle management to make sure they are as committed as you are;
- Safety is a measured performance item on the annual reviews of all corporate leadership;
- Commitment to safety is a key to promotions within the company; and
- Financial advancement in the forms of raises or bonuses is affected by safety performance.
When presenting to their regional managers meeting, John Miles of OSHA told me that Mobil Oil went from a worker’s compensation cost of 16.5 million to 1.5 million in a five year period. This was sheer profit from focusing on safety. How would you like to find almost 3 million in extra profits every year over the next five years?
I can show you and your employees the way to a new level of profit and productivity. Safety is one of the greatest opportunities to achieve greater profits and also protect your people. The greater profits help you achieve a competitive edge year after year. Companies with a poor safety record bidding on a job have it much tougher being the low bidder because they must factor in injury costs that their competitors don’t have.
John is available to consult with you on how to improve your communication of safety issues to your entire team.