Leading and Owning Safety

Sponsored Article by KBA

Fatality rates in Singapore have been increasing by the week! We continuously hear that an injury-free workplace demands strong leadership. In an organisation, safety leaders are manager(s) and/or the owner(s), who can guide their employees to work towards a common safety goal. However, there seems to be a huge gap in what is said and written to what is done and implemented.

Leaders in an organisation have many roles to play, in today’s business climate – internal and external threats, supply chain issues, manpower challenges, and environmental/social responsibilities. Yet, without humans doing the work, there would be none of these challenges and issues to consider. From sole proprietors to SMEs to MNCs, the key role of the leader must be to ensure the safety of their employees. This should be done positively, and proactively with the goal of preventing injuries and loss of life as the organisation’s safety outcome/metric is measured by workplace accidents, injuries, or fatalities. Just on workplace injuries alone, Singapore’s 2021 National WSH statistics reported 21,539 minor injuries, resulting in four or more days of medical leave. 2022 is certainly not looking to be a better year for such measurements.

Do safety leadership styles affect the employees’ safety behaviours? Are employees comfortable asking for help, providing feedback or challenging safety lapses without facing negative stigma from management or fellow employees? Leaders should ensure that they are able to foster a workplace culture in their employees with their leadership style. Leaders must ‘walk the talk’ and not just ‘dictate’ via internal email broadcasts or safety bulletins. A visionary leader will know what safety should be for the organisation and be able to communicate it to the employees.

Most organisations would have safety protocols clearly stated in their company’s induction policies. When it is communicated to employees with clear expectations, it eases the safety adoption onboarding process. With defined expectations, organisations should also offer a supportive environment, and resources such as suitable training to all levels of leadership to ensure they can address risks/hazards and maximise their safety leadership efforts.

So, what does all this mean? OWNERSHIP – Senior Leaders within all businesses must take ownership of all safety aspects of the business. Ownership means being involved, being present, having empathy and humility, and demonstrating that you care. Know what the legal requirement is to ensure a safe place at work and aspire to higher standards. Empower your team to take ownership and engage directly with you.

All business owners, leaders have families, spouses, children, parents, you would not let anyone of them be in an unsafe environment, so why would you allow your employees to do so? There are many initiatives – incentives, slogans, etc that industries can create and repeatedly use. It is only if the leader takes ownership of the safety in the workplace and empowers their team to do so too, that will then establish a mindset change in how safety is seen and established to prevent all workplace incidents and fatalities.

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About KBA Training Centre Pte Ltd
Established in 2006, KBAT has been in the forefront in providing training for the offshore, inland/inshore and the health and safety sector. KBA Training is the premier venue for International and National accredited training and is positioned to offer integrated specialist solution for consultancy and training to the onshore, wind / renewable energy and offshore industry. Website: www.kbatraining.org

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