Aggregates Manager

October 2014

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Page 27 of 39

AGGREGATES MANAGER October 2014 26 Employee perceptions of how management views safety can shape the reality of their behavior. What's the perception among your staff? by Zach Knoop The View of the Top "F or many, many years I had in my mind we were a real 'safety' company, because that was all that was ever preached to us. Safety first. We've always had safety meetings. We al- ways had incentive programs. We had safety dinners back when I was younger. But were we really safe? Did we really believe safety? And it really made me question myself and this company after we got into these other safety programs. Did we really believe that, or was production really the primary thing? Unfortunately, I have to say, we addressed safety when it became an issue. We always preached safety, but we didn't address safety until it was an issue to us. That's what's really sad." These are the words of Daryl Moomey, a vice president at Dolese Bros. Co. based in Oklahoma City, Okla., (an aggregate and ready-mix supplier in Oklahoma), and I expect what he described is a current reality for many organizations. Most leaders' hearts and intentions are in the right place — they don't want anybody to get hurt. Employees, how- ever, can't see a leader's intentions. Employees judge what is important to leaders by their visible actions. So how can leaders put their intentions into ac- tion, and why is it critical that they do so? Accord- ing to Dr. Dan Petersen, who is considered by many to be the father of modern day safety management, one of his Six Criteria for Safety Excellence is that "Top Management must Demonstrate its Visible Commitment to Safety." This is moving beyond "supporting" safety by allowing for the purchase of personal protective equipment, providing time for safety training, and signing a safety policy that was written by the safety director. It is about defin- ing the leader's role in managing safety through establishing "actionable" safety accountabilities that cascade down through the organization. A robust safety system will have clearly defined and integrated safety activities for all levels of the organization that are regularly measured and incor- porated into performance evaluations, just like other business functions. This takes time and effort to es- tablish. There are, however, simple ways in which all leaders can demonstrate their visible commitment to safety.

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