Questions to Ask to Develop a Safety Strategy

March 18 2024
By: Shawn M. Galloway

To create an effective safety strategy, it is important to ask the right questions that will guide the development and implementation process. What follows are the key questions to consider when developing a safety strategy, as outlined in my book, Inside Strategy: Value Creation from Within Your Organization.

1. Customers: Who are our customers? Identifying the key stakeholders and customers within the organization is essential for understanding their specific safety needs and requirements. info graphic of the text content of the blogDetermine which customers should be the main focus of the safety strategy and gather data to support this decision.

2. Vision: What does success look like in terms of safety results and observable performance? Clearly defining the vision for safety sets the direction and serves as a qualifier for future decisions. It provides a clear goal to strive for and helps align efforts toward achieving safety excellence.

3. Rationale: Why are we pursuing this safety strategy? Clearly articulate the reasons behind the safety strategy to ensure that everyone is aligned and understands the importance of prioritizing safety. Communicate the rationale to gain support and commitment from all levels of the organization.

4. Story: What is the compelling reason and story that will sway hearts and minds? Craft a compelling narrative that communicates the importance of safety and resonates with employees. Use storytelling techniques to engage employees emotionally and inspire them to embrace the safety strategy.

5. Scope: What is the scope of the safety strategy? Determine how far out the strategy can be planned and what resources are available to support its implementation. Consider the organization's capabilities and limitations to ensure a realistic and achievable strategy.

6. Snipers or Support: What factors may work against or with the safety strategy? Identify potential obstacles or constraints that may hinder progress or support the strategy. Anticipate challenges and develop contingency plans to overcome them effectively.

7. Data-Driven Strategic Priorities: Based on available data and information, what are the main areas of focus for safety improvement in the short- and long-term? Analyze safety performance data, incident reports, and industry trends to identify the key areas that require improvement. Prioritize these areas to focus resources and efforts effectively.

8. Initiatives Fit and Support: What specific actions or initiatives will directly support the safety priorities and move the organization closer to its vision? Identify and develop initiatives that align with strategic priorities and have the potential to drive significant safety improvements. Ensure these initiatives are feasible and have the support for successful implementation.

9. Alignment for Execution: How do we align everyone to the safety vision? Clearly communicate the safety strategy to all employees and ensure that they understand their roles and responsibilities in achieving the vision. Consider creating teams or task forces to work on individual safety priorities, fostering a sense of ownership and engagement.

10. Sustain Improvement and Live Strategy: How will we measure progress and hold ourselves accountable? Define the metrics and key performance indicators that will track safety performance and progress toward the safety vision. Establish mechanisms for regular review and adjustment of the strategy based on the data and feedback received. Continuously search for better practices and foster a culture of continuous improvement in safety.

Developing a safety strategy requires careful consideration and asking the right questions. By addressing key areas such as customers, vision, rationale, scope, support, and alignment, organizations can create a comprehensive safety strategy that drives continuous improvement and ensures the well-being of employees. Regularly review and adjust the strategy to sustain improvement and foster a culture of safety excellence.

Shawn M. Galloway

Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker, and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership, and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 700 podcasts, 200 articles, and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow, Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers and is an Avetta Distinguished Fellow.

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