Australia has come a long way with its commitment to safety.  Particularly in industrial high risk environments such as mining, manufacturing and infrastructure.  We have seen significant improvements in safety with systems, processes, and focus.  However from my experience many companies have started to plateau with regards to their safety performance.

From my perspective the next shift around safety will come from a greater focus on well-being and mental health.

The problem at the moment is that we focus on the physical health of an employee and not the overall well-being.  The issue here is that we send mixed messages as leaders.  We say don’t hurt yourself on the job, but being stressed out, oppressed or overworked is ok.  We say it’s ok to work for poor leaders, but not ok to sprain your ankle.  We say that we are values based organisations because we want you to go home safe, but we are not concerned that you go home exhausted.

Safety is not always about genuine concern for our people.  It is often about creating obedient children.

Safety leadership is not always about authentic leadership. It is often about looking good with the statistics

If you want to create a truly safe work environment where people not only don’t get hurt, but also feel valued and committed then try looking beyond safety compliance, towards improving your leadership.

Imagine a work environment where leaders were motivated by ‘doing good’, rather than ‘looking good’ or ‘being good’.  Would this be safer?

Imagine a work environment where leaders are motivated by the greater good, achieving great things, genuine concern for people and the valuing of relationships.  Would this be safer?

The thing about leadership is that you get lots of bang for your buck, yet I hear so many managers say it is a waste of money.  Not only does constructive leadership improve safety, but it will also improve profitability, productivity and innovation.  Is it the biggest lever your business has to improve what you do?