A Three-Step Process for Better Safety Leadership Walkthroughs (Pt 1)

Three-Step Safety-Leadership Process: Step 1-PrepareWe’ve already addressed the most salient points for improving our safety leadership walkthroughs.  And if we do just those things, we’re going to be in pretty good shape and we’ll be on the right leadership track.  So I want to devote the rest of this series to a three-step safety-leadership walkthrough process that adds some structure around those points. [content_protector password=”3-step-1″ identifier=”3-step-1″]

The three-step process is:

Step 1: Prepare

Step 2: Engage

Step 3: Verify

Let’s start with the first step (Step 1: Prepare).  The best way to give direction to your safety-leadership walkthroughs is to prepare for them ahead of time.  Become familiar with potential process hazards, or incidents you’ve personally experienced or heard about in the past, but don’t limit it to your own experience, location or company.  Become familiar as well with the hazards of the industry, and learn what it takes to mitigate those hazards.

Also, find out what safety-critical operations will conducted on the day of your scheduled walkthrough, and make it a point to monitor them, ask questions about them, and verify competencies around these operations when on site.

In fact, go the extra mile here, and schedule your walkthroughs to coincide with these operations.

Be sure to read the excellent article on this by Andrew Hopkins of Australian National University.  He elaborates on these principles and applies them to a real-world case study: “Management Walk-Arounds: Lessons from the Gulf of Mexico Oil Well Blowout,” National Research Centre for OHS Regulations, Feb 2009.

We’ll address the other two steps in this process in our next editions.  But that’s it 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.