L2L Episode 2: What Are the Key Barriers to Gaining Better Visibility in Health & Safety Today?

How much visibility do you have into the incidents – actual and near-miss – that occur in your facility?

In this video in our Leaders2Leaders series, our panel of health and safety leaders discuss the barriers that limited their visibility into health and safety performance.

Achieving Visibility into Performance

How to achieve more visibility into safety performance has been a conversation for 25 years, said Paul Darby, Global Head of Health and Safety at DHL Global Forwarding. ‘It’s this capture on the ground, when incidents happen, particularly near misses. Our injury reporting has got much better but being able to capture things and get it into a system or platform… It’s still that on-the-ground battle with operations that incident reporting ‘takes’ their time. Once you get it into a platform, it’s relatively easy.’

Ratna Morjaria, Global ESH Director, Evonik, warned that if companies are going to ask employees to help them collect data – by reporting incidents and near misses, for example – then the company should do something with that data or be transparent about why it is not being used. Conversely, when it comes to near misses, some H&S professionals are fighting the perception that nothing happened, so why report it?

‘Especially when it comes to experienced people, no one likes to admit their mistakes,’ said Grazyna Momot, Group HSE Manager and MIS Lead, ABB. She said the company has a safety week and engages the employees at the various sites to help plan the activities for that week.

Employee Engagement Is Key

This engagement with the employees was quite effective to help overcome barriers to safety, she noted. Employees at the local level are engaged in improving safety performance and want to share their ideas.

Some organisations wrestle with the fact that they have groups of employees who have very different safety concerns, said James Pomeroy, HSE and Security Director, Lloyd’s Register. Office employees at his company work in a safe environment, he noted, and their safety concerns are related to health and wellbeing; in particular, mental health. The company also has employees who Pomeroy said conduct higher risk activities and their concerns are more about reducing incidents and managing risk.

“Tailoring the message helped us get good conversation going, rather than having a set of standard processes and saying everyone needs to comply with them,” he added.

Kone ‘cascades’ safety messages down through the organisation and the emphasis is not just on employees receiving them, but on understanding them. Safety messages are prioritized to provide the best impact and support retention of the messaging, said Wim Koster, Head of Global Safety at Kone.

“We work very hard to get the safety message on the main page as it were,” said Morjaria, “and the challenge is [having] safety really being seen as a business benefit… It helps to have someone right at the top [championing safety]. It makes [reaching down through] the layers much, much easier.”

New Video Series: Leaders2Leaders

This programme brings together some of the smartest, most forward-looking professionals in the industry to discuss the key issues facing health and safety today. Lessons from Leaders is a companion eBook that highlights health and safety: where we are and where we’re going.

Health and safety today is more complex and dynamic than ever. The world is experiencing significant changes in how, when and where work happens. Today, employees are just as likely to be contractors as they are to be permanent staff, and workers are placing greater emphasis on their wider mental and physical wellbeing.

Watch more episodes and download the companion guide: Lessons from Leaders.

Read our first L2L blog post: Safe+Sound Week and Leaders2Leaders: What Should Today’s Health & Safety Professionals Prioritize?

This entry was posted in EHSQ, Health & Safety Management by Sandy Smith. Bookmark the permalink.

About Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the Global EHSQ Content Lead for Intelex Technologies. Formerly the Content Director for EHS Today, she has been writing about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990. Her work as a journalist and editor has been recognized with national and international awards. She has been interviewed about occupational safety and health for national business publications, documentaries and television programs; has served as a panelist on roundtables; and has provided the keynote address for occupational safety and health conferences.

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