Workplace Health and Safety – Process or Culture?

The Importance of Achieving a Collaborative Culture 
Person, Education, or Skills?

Workplace Health and Safety – Process or Culture?

During a discussion about Workplace Health and Safety this morning a colleague recalled a story told to him many years ago that may be real or may be apocryphal, but either way demonstrates in easy to understand terms, the many and varied challenges around Workplace Health and Safety.

“A sales rep got into his company car and drove from the office carpark down a steep driveway toward a busy main road. However upon reaching the road he was unable to brake because he’d absentmindedly left his shoelace undone and it had jammed in the car door. Consequently his vehicle entered on-coming traffic and an accident ensued.”

Process: Do up your shoelaces.

Culture: Develop an unconscious competence that will ensure you do up your shoelaces prior to operating a company vehicle.

The message in this aphorism is that safety is crucially dependent on both process and culture, as neither will succeed without the other.

Joint Venture Supports Both Safety and Culture

As previously advised we have recently joined with a specialist Safety Organisation in an effort to ensure that our clients have the very best facilities and resources to achieve their Safety objectives. Our joint venture partners provide the roadmap, professional direction and overall strategy. While eXenet ensures that it is supported by appropriately skilled and trained individuals. And most importantly, individuals with the necessary collaborative and mentoring skills to produce the desired result.

The culture component of that desired result cannot be over emphasised. You can write, produce, distribute and instruct as many processes and procedures as you like, but if your managers and employees don’t fully understand and embrace your underlying motivation for implement these processes and procedures, the best you will achieve is short term compliance.

Process Mapping and Effective Delegation

Returning to our Safety discussion this morning, it struck me that the task is as much psychological as it is instructive. And that has immense impact on both your selection of personnel and your strategy. Process mapping and effective delegation is difficult enough. But the task of implementing those process maps to an extent that requires every member of staff without exception, to adhere to them without question, every minute of every day? That requires character analysis, mentoring, measuring, training, and constant never-ending awareness from all parties involved.

The good news is that the rewards are immense. ‘Do it once and do it properly’ is a saying that comes to mind. Know what it should look like and drive everything and everybody towards that end and you’ll be amazed at the impact on productivity, personnel satisfaction, customer approval, brand and image, profitability and of course safety. It is a journey well worth embarking on.


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