The Importance of Deliberate Action and Strategic Planning in Safety
Updated: Jul 19
In the realm of safety, it's common to hear leaders emphasizing the importance of prioritizing safety over productivity. However, a paradox emerges when these same leaders demand quick action from their safety teams to address problems, prevent injuries, and develop long-term strategies. This article delves into the significance of taking deliberate action and implementing strategic planning to achieve safety excellence.
The Fallacy of Lagging Indicators
Around 20 years ago, the safety community recognized that the absence of accidents or incidents does not necessarily imply the presence of safety. Merely having a track record without unfortunate events does not guarantee a truly safe work environment. While organizations may perform well in terms of safety, relying solely on lagging indicators tells us nothing about the underlying methods and practices that contributed to those results.
Embracing a Comprehensive Safety Strategy
Over the past decade, executives have come to realize the need for a comprehensive, multi-year safety strategy to achieve excellence in both safety performance and culture. A strategic approach entails creating value over time, improving market share and business capitalization, and enhancing customer satisfaction. Safety efforts require a strategy that effectively prevents injuries while simultaneously demonstrating the value being delivered. The aim is to transform the safety culture from a mandatory requirement to an intrinsic desire.
The Importance of Thoughtful Action
Organizations have developed pathways and methodologies to align safety efforts with the overall business plan. However, one consistent element for sustainable success is evident: deliberate, well-thought-out action supported by an executive team that understands the significance of investing time to develop a robust strategy.
Balancing Speed with Precision
It's ironic that workers are urged to take their time while the safety department is often held accountable for rapid action on long-term plans. Unfortunately, this pressure can lead to hasty decisions that yield minimal impact. Organizations have experienced the consequences of efficiently working on the wrong things, wasting valuable time and resources. By incorporating external support, leveraging relevant data, and following proven methodologies, organizations can allocate the necessary time to develop a comprehensive plan.
The Iterative Nature of Planning
It's important to acknowledge that no plan is ever perfect upon conception. Achieving safety excellence requires a continuous process of refinement and adaptation. If eliminating occupational injuries were easy, they would no longer be a prevalent issue. Deliberate action is needed, leveraging data and considering contingency plans. This deliberate approach takes time, but it is essential for creating a safe work environment and achieving safety excellence.
Deliberate action and strategic planning are critical components in the journey toward safety excellence. Organizations must recognize the fallacy of relying solely on lagging indicators and invest in a comprehensive safety strategy that aligns with their overall business objectives. By adopting a thoughtful and deliberate approach, organizations can build a culture of safety that goes beyond compliance, ensuring the well-being of their workforce and fostering long-term success.