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How to obtain better safety results ?

So back again, you are into a leading role such as project manager on a construction site or similar and it becomes more and more apparent what the impact is of safety for your project. And for the ease of the discussion I will omit the ethical importance. Your client is putting pressure on the implementation of a zero accident policy and even more… there are bonusses related to good safety performances. Not to mention the inner company pressure for low safety numbers. I am guessing that you would like to know what that one formula is that leads to good results and preferably with no effort.

In fact you are looking for the holy grail of safety. How to get low numbers and still safeguarding those revenues for the project. Not forgetting that you want an effortless solution. And to be fully honest, some will feel that tingling sensation in their fingers to swipe those accident reports under the carpet. Maybe that person that fell from 3 stories high was in fact basically someone having the flu. Problem solved. Well, this could turn out completely different.

So now, where to find the solution ? Let me first get something out of the way. If I would ask you to tell what you find important in picking a subcontractor ? Would you say that in first instance you want a subcontractor who is trustworthy ? who works in a professional manner according to all rules and regulations ? A subcontractor who works clean, smoothly organized, …. without any trouble ?

Does not this sound like a subcontractor who works in full safety ? And see how all of a sudden a different light is shed on safety. Safety as a commercial important element. Just an easy to understand element why safety as such, is not in conflict with better commercial results. On the contrary, it shows how it is vital for economic results. Just a one off example of many.

Now this misunderstanding is out of the way, where is that easy to find solution then ? Without fudging the numbers ? Where is that one trick that solves everything ? … although I believe the solution is effortless and rather a state of mind and philosophy, you will maybe understand that the answer is not so straight forward. It is partly to be found in what you probably already apply and know. Or what your company regulations tell you based on a management safety system. But again this is only part of the story. One can see that not everyone is obtaining the same results although the safety system is seemingly similar. And next to the fact that leadership makes such an enormous impact, there is more. Knowing how to manage safety is a bit like knowing how to draw but adding skill, experience and that one touch of inspiration enables you to draw a mona lisa. And that is where your site safety advisor comes in. Having someone who seems likeable to your ears and eyes is maybe not the one you need. The role of your safety advisor on site goes beyond site visits, attending meetings and filling in all kind of reports. Based on his knowledge and experience your safety advisor is your go to person to inform you on what is the best mix of actions to take. It is a bit like a cook in a restaurant. It is what he serves you that shows off his real competence. So, next time you need to pick a safety advisor, I think, you are better off by not only asking former experiences and trying to feel how much you like the person but to test which kind of cook your are placing in from of the stove of your restaurant. So, bon appetit !

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