One area Healy Group risk advisors are passionate about is helping our clients improve profitability by reducing injuries and accidents. Safety policies, training and education often fail to change unsafe behaviors and conditions that lead to accidents.

A Zero-Accident Culture can provide the energy that is needed to transform traditional safety initiatives and policies into an active, viable safety culture.

What if everyone’s mindset, from senior management on down to a front-line employee, was that all workplace accidents are preventable? This is not to say that every accident will be prevented, but a zero-tolerance culture conveys the highest level of commitment to the health of employees, and this commitment can pay off in many ways.

Why Develop a Strong Safety Culture?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), developing a strong safety culture has the single greatest impact on accident reduction of any workplace practice. This is why developing a Zero-Accident Culture should be a top priority for managers and supervisors in any organization.

A Zero-Accident Culture is:

  • based on the assumption that all accidents are preventable.
  • focused on safety commitment, communication, culture and learning.
  • the basis for inspiring and innovation in improving safety.
  • driven by organizational and individual commitment.
  • translated to commitment and embedded in a company’s business strategy.

Walsh Construction, the 13th largest contractor in the United States, has a rich tradition of safety.  Co-Chairman Dan Walsh says, “The most important thing we can do every day is to send men and women home in the same shape as when they arrived.” Their Core Safety Program is grounded in a simple message and approach: “No One Gets Hurt.”

A common characteristic of organizations with successful Zero-Accident Culture is active and passionate leadership from top management. This commitment is often embedded in an organization’s business strategies.

Four C’s of Zero-Accident Culture

Commitment. Commitment is the key driver for any long-term and sustainable culture change.

For any new culture to develop it must be:

  • supported by top-down key management.
  • a sustained effort throughout the year.
  • focused on shared values and empowering to all employees.
  • embedded in your Mission and Vision statements.

Culture. Culture is what people believe, feel, and think. The culture is sustainable when the commitment to “all accidents being preventable” becomes a key characteristic or brand of the organizational culture.

Here are some ways to brand your safety culture:

  • Adopt a name for your safety culture.
  • Actively look for risks to mitigate.
  • Create an open communication environment.
  • Empower all employees
  • Establish a “no blame” culture.

Communication. The commitment needs to be communicated to all employees in order to impact the safety behaviors of the entire organization.

To create a strong communication plan for a Zero-Accident Culture, determine:

  • What information needs to be conveyed?
  • Who Is responsible for communicating what information?
  • How often communication is needed?

Continued Learning. Persistent education and reinforcement of the safety culture combined with the organization’s overall safety training must occur on an ongoing basis throughout the organization.

This requires:

  • continued top management support.
  • recognizing progress & breakthrough.
  • implementing ongoing safety culture education & training.
  • annual assessments of the culture.

We’d love to hear your insights and experiences regarding this topic. Want to talk about implementing a Zero-Accident Culture in your organization? We can help. Let’s Connect.

About the Author:

George Carlin is a Commercial Insurance and Risk Management Advisor at the Healy Group.
With more than 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, his expertise includes negotiating insurance rates, structuring coverage, resolving claims, and managing risks for his clients. He strives to bring valuable insight to his clients that will benefit them personally or help them grow their business.