Finding Focus for Safety Improvement
Updated: Jul 18
Improving safety within organizations requires the right allocation of resources, but more importantly, it demands a laser-like focus on the areas that would create the most value. In this article, we will explore the significance of strategic focus in safety efforts and discuss how data-driven decision-making can drive meaningful improvements.
The Power of Focus: As Zig Ziglar famously stated in his book "See You at the Top," having power, brilliance, or energy alone is not enough. To achieve significant results, these attributes must be harnessed and directed toward a specific target. Safety, like any other complex area of responsibility, demands focused and strategic action. It is essential to prioritize and address safety issues one step at a time, avoiding the temptation to tackle everything simultaneously.
Strategic Decision-Making: Strategy is about making choices and placing small bets to create sustainable value. It involves not only determining what actions to take but also identifying what actions to avoid or discontinue if they do not contribute to overall safety improvement. Effective strategy begins with a hypothesis—a focus area that is believed to be game-changing or value-adding. This hypothesis should be tested against available data to determine its validity. Is your safety approach data-focused or driven by opinions?
Do you base decisions on statistical trends or react impulsively to isolated incidents?
Creating Value and Perception of Value: In business, strategy is crucial for capturing customer attention, outshining competitors, and creating value for shareholders. Similarly, within an organization, a safety strategy is necessary to raise awareness among employees and stakeholders, demonstrating the value of safety initiatives. This presents a significant challenge for safety leaders—to ensure that their efforts are perceived as valuable. Without a sense of value, a safety culture may become driven by compliance rather than genuine engagement.
Finding Your Focus: To identify the areas that require concentrated attention, it is essential to gather and analyze relevant data. This includes injury data, risk exposure data, behavioral observations, and cultural insights. Explore if specific times, days, tasks, or groups show higher incident rates or increased risk exposure. Conduct perception surveys and engage in discussions to understand the concerns and suggestions of employees at all levels. Data-driven decision-making not only strengthens the foundation of your safety efforts but also garners greater support from stakeholders.
Driving Meaningful Improvements: By focusing on specific areas backed by data and involving others in the decision-making process, you can drive meaningful safety improvements. This strategic approach ensures that resources are used effectively, and efforts are aligned with the organization's goals. It moves the safety culture away from a "have to" mindset toward a "want to" mentality, where individuals are genuinely invested in safety.
To improve safety, it is crucial to embrace strategic focus and data-driven decision-making. By directing resources toward the areas that will create the most value, organizations can make significant progress in enhancing safety culture and performance. Remember, it is not about doing more but doing better and smarter. With a strategic focus, you can pave the way for a safer and more engaged workforce.