Journey to Safety Excellence

Journey to Safety Excellence

From IMPO a good article discussing the reasons for developing the “journey to safety excellence” strategy by James Johnson, National Safety Council.

Q&A With James Johnson, National Safety Council - Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operations

Interview by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO

James Johnson is responsible for leading National Safety Council advocacy initiatives to reduce deaths and injuries associated with workplace safety. Mr. Johnson works with a diverse group of stakeholders to establish and promote best practices for safety and health processes affecting employees on-the-job.

With more than 30 years experience as a safety and health consultant, project manager, and team manager, Mr. Johnson has led development and delivery of progressive safety solutions for companies of all sizes and industries. He has managed multiple risk control disciplines, helping them to align strategy to actionable and measurable initiatives for continuous, sustainable improvement, and world-class performance.

IMPO: What are the key elements to this approach?
JJ: There are four key elements to the journey to safety excellence. Each is important unto itself and in relation to each of the other elements. The elements are interdependent, and when fully integrated as a workplace safety strategy—and working in concert with other improvement processes such as quality and efficiency—have significant impact on protecting workers and enhancing company performance and profitability. The four key elements are:
  • Management leadership and employee engagement. This is about enhancing a safety culture that creates the opportunity for safety excellence through shared ownership and responsibility.
  • Safety management systems. This is a framework of processes and procedures used to ensure that an organization can fulfill all safety tasks required to achieve its objectives.
  • Risk reduction strategies. Risk is the combination of the likelihood of an event (occurrence) and the severity of the injury that may result. Risk is always present in the workplace and companies who strive to reduce risk will outperform companies that do not.
  • Performance measurement. Managing a process of improvement requires data on activities and outcomes in the form of performance measures. This enables companies to establish baselines, measure improvement over baseline, and understand the relationship (correlation) between safety activities and the outcomes of injury and disability.


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