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  • Writer's picturePeter Sturm

Safety Leadership during COVID and Difficult Times

Reflecting on safety during COVID-19 pandemic times has been a good time for reflective thinking, looking inward personally and looking outwardly for many organizations. We have been challenged by a virus that is a silent killer, significant personal losses for family members impacted and our world of work is different than it was in January 2020.

“Safety is all about people, people, people, and building a culture of safety is about our behaviours and support of people becoming the norm.”

While reflecting and reading an article by Chuck Pettinger written in August 2020, he proposed in his article titled: “5 Ways to Build a Culture of Safety for the Long Term”. The five ways listed are:

1. More Engaged and Empowered Employees

2. A Greater Emphasis on Proactive Measures and Safety Metrics

3. Moving Safety from “Outside-in” to “Inside-out”

4. Signage that Relates Safety to Helping You AND Others

5. Safety that is Made Convenient

I would like to expand on “Safety that is Made Convenient” and the long term sustainability of an organization when it values and supports its “human capital”, namely its people.

During these times of uncertainty, questioning and significant change, I see this as the opportunity for us to shift our thinking and approaches. I call it moving from “compliance to safety+sustainability” as the new focus and paradigm.

We need to start to look at compliance and regulatory edicts as the minimum and starting point for our safety management systems. Let’s work with our industry, competitors, associations, researcher and fellow safety professionals to solving the safety and COVID problems together. Let’s work at our workplaces to share, find the easiest and sustainable safety solutions. This all aligns with building our safety leadership capabilities and competencies so that every one of us at every workplace becomes the champion and leader of today’s workplaces.

“Safety is all about people. Having open dialogue rather than rehashing rules. It is more effective for helping our employees to look out for each other and focus on “why” we should work together, not on “what” I expect you to do!”

I am confident that this period of change and stress is going to lead our workplaces and thinking to a new level with the new paradigm of “safety+sustainability”. More to come in future blogs and postings.

Source: Chuck Pettinger, EHS Today

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