Why Organizations Should Approach the Role of Safety as a Department

When everything goes as planned and safety is doing its job, everyone’s happy. But what happens when things do not go accordingly? Then it may be time to call on The Safety Justice League. Hosts Abby Ferri, Jason Maldonado and Jason Lucas joined forces yet again to talk about those less than great expectations and provide some insights on how to turn a bad situation around and prevent crises from occurring in the first place. And often, turning it around starts with the safety professional’s approach.

“We probably deal with things from a safety standpoint that goes off the rails more than other professions,” Lucas said. But Ferri said that it all depends on how an organization situates the role of safety. More and more companies, and safety professionals, are starting to approach the role of safety as a department, like IT. “You involve safety proactively, and they are your advisor,” Ferri said.

Maldonado said one way to look at safety in terms of expectations is expectation management. Perhaps setting the bar too high is only going to lead to disappointment. People want to feel safe more than they want to be concerned with the safety process, and safety experts should learn to adapt to the fact that they will not always achieve great expectations. “You have to go in understanding that there are infinite numbers of possibilities of things that can happen, and you have to be able to figure out how you are going to be okay with whatever they are,” Maldonado said.

Ferri said the challenges for safety professionals go broad and deep. Many organizations safety professionals walk into maybe following safety protocols and systems cobbled together over the years from multiple sources. Getting the proper plan in place and getting buy-in from the top is not always easy. And even when the safety system is solid, often, Maldonado said the organization doesn’t know how to implement the program correctly. “If we could help people figure out how to get people to want to do the safety management system, then I think we win,” Maldonado said.

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