Safety Leadership Walkthroughs: Causes of Missed Opportunities (Part 1)

Safety Leadership: Causes of Missed OpportunitiesOne of the best things you can do during a safety leadership walkthrough is to engage employees.  The problem is, we tend to do this in a shoot-from-the-hip, haphazard way that results in missed opportunities to gather critical information. One cause of these missed opportunities is focusing on conditions rather than people. [content_protector password=”missed-04″ identifier=”missed-04″]

As we mentioned last time, it’s an easy trap to fall into because conditions are relatively static and observable.  We’re taught to look in the box, above the box, around the box, behind the box–all of which help us to identify personal hazards, but none of which allows us to gauge the knowledge and competency levels of our employees to perform the job safely.

So when we do engage employees, it’s usually a conversation centered around their awareness of hazards, instead of one that’s focused on their understanding of the procedure they’re doing.  We still need to have the hazard-awareness conversations to guard against personal injury, and that’s something we’ve addressed in past issues of the newsletter.

But we have to add the competency conversations as well to guard against potential process hazards.  And the way we engage employees in these conversations is going to make the difference between getting the kind of information that will help us lead a safety culture, and getting the answers they think you want to hear.

We’ll begin to look at this in our next issue; but that’s all the time we have for this edition of Recordable INSIGHTS.  See you next time.



About the Author

Eric Svendsen
Eric Svendsen, Ph.D., is Principal and lead change agent for safetyBUILT-IN, a safety-leadership learning and development organization. He has over 20 years experience in creating and executing outcomes-based leadership development and culture change initiatives aligned to organizational goals, and he personally led the safety-culture initiatives of a number of client organizations that resulted in “best ever safety performance” years for those companies.