What is safety? How to achieve it through the Six Principles of Safety TM
What is safety? It is obvious isn’t it? It’s just common sense, it’s not rocket science. We have heard it all before!
The COVID 19 crisis has provided an example of the assumption that everyone knows what it means to be safe. Many TV segments, emails and social media provide daily examples of people signing off with the line “stay safe”. But what does it mean? We probably all appreciate the sentiment, but do we really know what it means and importantly, how you do it?
It is assumed by many that everyone knows and understands what we mean when we say, ‘work safely’ or ‘stay safe’ and also, what it means to have a safe organisation; what it means to achieve zero harm.
Yet ‘safety’ is one of those multi-meaning words that invoke many images, thoughts and feelings in people. Unfortunately, in our experience, those responses are more often negative than positive. But that is a whole different safety story.
Let’s just say that ‘safety’ has a credibility and understanding problem and as a consequence, so do organisations that espouse the importance, or the ‘virtuousness’ of safety e.g. ‘our goal is zero harm’. There could be many words written as to why this is the case, but that will not fix the problem.
The problem that we believe many organisations have is that they talk about safety as if it is quantified and defined construct with the same meaning to all. But it is not. Many people get that being safe essentially means keeping oneself removed from harm, but how is this achieved whilst at work or say, avoiding COVID 19?
Assuming that everyone has the same understanding of safety is fraught with risk as many companies spend large sums of money on safety and yet do not achieve the corporate return on the investment as expected.
Riskcom provides a process that will help resolve the problem through helping people understand what safety is and in effect, quantify safety and make it a self-defining construct. In doing this, the aim is to help organisations to prioritise their safety effort and be able to demonstrably show that effort is being invested in the areas of safety that will yield maximum potential safety return.
The understanding of the concept of safety is most important as we begin a safety journey toward ‘zero harm’ or some other corporate goal or even the control of COVID-19. For without a common understanding of what safety is, how can an organisation ensure that all people understand when (if) they get there? Is it zero LTIs? Or maybe reduced compensation premiums?
At Riskcom, we do not believe that it is hard to make some changes in an organisation to provide meaningful traction on the path of your safety journey. There are two key aspects of the safety journey that must be fully understood and managed in order to enable success in improving safety performance.
First, we all need to understand that with respect to safe performance there are only six ‘leavers’ that an organisation can pull. We call them Principles of Safety.
Riskcom has developed a model – the Six Principles of Safety TM that provides an integrated and interrelated representation of the complex interaction of six key principles or leavers. Whilst the six principles can be independent of each other, ultimately, they must operate in harmony (i.e. as one) and become interdependent for an organisation to be truly safe. The six key principles are:
The overlap of the very best performance in each principle with that same area in the other principles creates what is known as the ‘safety space’ (see Diagram 1 below). A unique space where all the key principles of working safely are simultaneously optimised and this is when an organisation can be confident of minimising the likelihood of injury. Some may call this space ‘zero harm’.
Figure 1 Illustrating a schematic representation of how the six principles of safety combine to produce the ‘safety space’.
And secondly, an organisation must:
Give Riskcom a call to discuss how we can help you navigate the road to improve safety performance by:
Next week we will look at how the six principles of safety can be used to manage COVID-19.