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A Deep Dive Into Safety Maturity

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September 22, 2020

Dina Adlouni

Your organization’s safety culture is its heart and soul because it’s the foundation for a safe work environment and therefore, the health and wellness of all your employees. Without a strong safety culture, your front-line workforce will be exposed to multiple risks and dangers on-site, increasing the chance of incidents and injuries. This is why your safety maturity level is so important. As safety champions, we know the higher your safety maturity level, the more you can shield your workforce from harm, and the higher your sense of credibility within the market.  

So, first things first…what is safety maturity? Safety maturity is how advanced or mature an organization is when it comes to their safety program. After talking to our team of safety experts, we have come up with three categories your organization can fall into. Curious to know what your safety maturity is? Take our Safety Maturity Level Quiz to find out, in less than two minutes.

Categories of Safety Maturity:
1. Beginner

At the “Beginner” stage, safety professionals are getting started by doing what is necessary to maintain compliance, as this is the driving momentum behind their safety focus. Teams at these organizations are mainly concerned with getting the job done, with safety representatives typically seen as getting in the way of productivity. When it comes to the safety maturity scale, worksites like this have improvements to make. 

Oftentimes, such organizations only begin to focus on safety after a catalyst-like event such as an injury or death, occurs on-site. Outdated hazard assessments are used, front-line workers are unengaged, information is poorly documented or tracked on cluttered Excel sheets or paper, and inspections are only done when required or worse – after a near-miss. Safety managers also typically give orders in such organizations, rather than guidance, and require all workers to have the necessary training only when they first join.

Such companies also don’t take the necessary actions to measure certain metrics such as leading indicators and lost time frequency rates. They only focus on lagging indicators when an incident takes place. The value of a leading indicator is ten-fold, as it helps you look towards the future and plan for what could happen, unlike lagging indicators which only reflect the past. It is crucial to focus on the right leading indicators to track patterns in your organization so you can strengthen your safety maturity level. Find out where you rank and get the right leading indicators tailored to your level, here.

2. Intermediate 

Companies at an “Intermediate” level place more of an emphasis on safety, as it is used to mitigate injuries on-site and keep workers safe at all times. C-Suite executives and safety leaders are more committed to safety not only because it helps them protect their team, but because they also recognize safety contributes to their bottom line with a large return on their investment. In this environment, the front-line workforce is also more engaged and involved when it comes to everyday processes and meetings. With more buy-in from executives and your front-line workforce, you can strengthen your safety culture and in turn, your safety maturity level. 

On “Intermediate” worksites, communication is more of a two-way street where feedback and a healthy dialogue is encouraged between safety champions and the frontline. Inspections and hazard assessments are conducted more frequently (not only after an incident), action items are assigned and completed, and workers are always retrained at a regular cadence to ensure they are all aware of any changes or updates to certain standards or regulations.

So, what’s keeping you from moving from good to great? Getting a 360 view into your safety program, will help you not only identify gaps in safety performance, but it will allow you to see patterns and measure trends to strengthen your approach for the future. A simple way to measure these trends is by focusing on the right leading indicators to propel your organization forward. Find out what you should be focusing on with your own list of leading indicators as part of your results, with our Safety Maturity Level Quiz.

3. Advanced

Our final category on the safety maturity scale is “Advanced”. At this stage, safety is seen as a competitive differentiator and truly drives revenue growth, as all team members (from C-Suite executives to the front-line workforce) have complete buy-in and are committed to a safe workplace. The front-line workforce is highly engaged and plays a crucial role in providing feedback and contributing to meetings and toolbox talks, with their team’s safety top of mind. What is known as a “strong safety reflex and velocity” are seen at such organizations. To learn more about what this means, check out our whitepaper on Building a High Participation Culture.

On these sites, not only are all inspections, forms, and hazard assessments completed, but they are regularly updated and modified to improve performance. Action items are always completed on time, and the training that employees undergo are above and beyond what is required for their role.

At “Advanced” organizations, all metrics and data are also centralized in an organized system and are used to improve operational efficiency and make more proactive decisions. But how can you truly attain excellence? The right leading indicators, once again, play a critical part in helping you become an industry leader. Uncover leading indicators that could advance your status here and continue to drive for a zero-incident rate now.

In the End…

No matter what level you’re at, there’s always room for improvement. A strong safety culture is the lifeblood of your safety success, so take the time to invest in it to propel your business forward. A strong safety culture leads to a greater safety maturity level, giving you a competitive advantage in the market.

Which category does your organization fall in to? Take the Safety Maturity Level Quiz to find out today.

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