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Transforming Goals and Culture

Updated: Dec 17, 2023

As a Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) professional in the oil and gas industry, I’ve noticed that safety measurement, while crucial, often lacks the enthusiasm it deserves. This lack of excitement can stem from how safety goals are defined and communicated. This blog will delve into six transformative questions that can revitalize your safety measurement approach and positively shift your safety culture.

1. Positive Goal Setting

How are your safety goals articulated? Often, safety objectives are negatively phrased, focusing on reducing incidents or injuries. To foster engagement, reframe these goals positively. Focus on achieving safety milestones and building a strong safety system. Positive goal setting can shift the mindset from merely avoiding failure to actively striving for excellence.

2. Aiming for Success, Not Just Failure Reduction

Do your safety measures aim to fail less or to achieve more? Our goals must highlight what needs to be accomplished, not just what needs to be avoided. Encourage a culture where employees are driven to contribute positively towards achieving safety excellence, not just steering clear of incidents.

3. Communication: Balancing Negative and Positive

Evaluate your communication focus. Do you concentrate more on what you don't want (accidents, incidents) than what you want (safe practices, proactive measures)? Balance your safety discussions by emphasizing positive behaviors contribute to a safer work environment.

4. Measuring Performance and Results

Safety performance should be measurable and linked to results. It’s not enough to repeat success; understanding why and how it happens is crucial. Develop key performance indicators that create confidence in replicating positive outcomes and provide a clear understanding of what drives success.

5. Emphasizing Both Results and Performance

While results are significant, the performance leading to those results should not be overlooked. If we focus solely on outcomes, there’s a risk of data manipulation to meet targets. Discuss the results and the behaviors and processes necessary to achieve them. This approach fosters a culture of transparency and continuous improvement.

6. Employee Involvement in Measurement Systems

Involving employees in developing and understanding safety measurement systems is key. Seek their input and allow them to contribute to the process. This involvement builds trust, engagement, and a sense of ownership, illustrating how safety measurements benefit them personally and professionally.

By addressing these six questions, organizations can transform safety measurement from a mundane task into an inspiring and meaningful activity. Reframing safety goals positively, emphasizing achievement over failure reduction, and actively involving employees in the measurement process can ignite enthusiasm for safety. This shift in approach and mindset can foster a culture that celebrates and drives safety excellence. Remember, effective safety performance and results stem from internal collaboration, ongoing conversations, and a commitment to evolving measurement systems. Let’s embrace this new perspective and commit to a culture that values and celebrates safety excellence.

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