A proactive safety approach at the workplace is the result of a high level of health and safety maturity. Organisations that prioritise safety view it as a core part of the business. It’s also seen as everyone’s responsibility and an effective measure of performance, which results in greater employee protection and fewer workplace incidents.
What is health and safety maturity? What does perfection look like? How can I get there? We will answer all these questions and more in this blog. Keep reading to explore topics like:
- Understanding health and safety maturity
- What are the different levels of maturity?
- 3 ways to elevate health and safety maturity at your organisation
- And what's next?
Understanding Health and Safety Maturity
Before we get into how to reach a high level of health and safety maturity, it’s important to understand what health and safety maturity is. Health and Safety Maturity is how sophisticated your organisation’s health and safety program, procedures and workflows are. It helps to assess how effectively your organisation can manage safety hazards to truly prevent workplace incidents from occurring.
There are several different safety maturity models like the Dupont Bradley Curve and the Hudson Safety Maturity Model. For the purposes of this blog, we’ll focus on the Maturity Model developed by Dr. Mark Fleming.
What are the Different Levels of Maturity?
At the Keil Centre, Dr. Mark Fleming developed a safety maturity model adopted by the United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive. This model contains 5 levels of safety maturity.
- Emerging (Level 1): Level 1 is known as Emerging. Organisations at this stage are interested in safety to remain compliant with regulations within their region. Many accidents are perceived as inevitable and the workforce is unengaged.
- Managing (Level 2): Managing is when organisations realise that the mismanagement of safety can be a risk to their business. Therefore, commitment from management is developed. Incidents can be prevented; however, reactive safety leaders believe this is due to unsafe behaviours conducted by front-line employees.
- Involving (Level 3): Front-line employee involvement is a key piece of healthy and safety maturity at this level. The rate of accidents is low, and leaders believe that incidents are caused by so much more than unsafe behaviours. At this level, front-line employees and management collaborate and safety performance is analysed through data.
- Cooperating (Level 4): Level 4 is known as Cooperating, where health and safety is seen as a vital part of the business where everyone must cooperate to elevate safety. Managers recognise that employees must feel valued, and the workforce takes accountability for their own safety and the safety of others. A proactive approach is seen at this level. Accidents can be prevented, and data is heavily collected and analysed to assess safety performance.
- Continually Improving (Level 5): Organisations at this level truly believe in health and safety and are looking to continuously improve their procedures and controls to effectively protect their people. Accidents have not happened at these organisations for a long period. This is because everyone is devoted to health and safety and sees it as an important part of their responsibilities. Leaders take a proactive approach to safety where many safety metrics are collected and analysed to make sure safety performance remains high.
How mature is your safety culture? Find out which level your organisation falls under, according to our EcoOnline Safety Maturity Model. Take the quiz now.
3 Ways to Elevate Health and Safety Maturity at Your Organisation
To reach the highest level, some of the many things employers can do is:
- Make health and safety a fundamental part of how they operate
- Empower employees to participate in safety activities and collaborate with management who is committed to their safety
- Collect and analyse the right data to continuously improve
Let’s dive a little deeper into each element.
1. Make health and safety a core value
Something all organisations with a high level of safety maturity have in common, is health and safety at the centre of their business. It affects everything they do and lays the foundation for successful performance.
For example, let’s take strategy. If safety is a fundamental part of your approach, your aim will be to protect employees and create a safer, more sustainable working environment. When this is at the root of all decisions, you will begin to get the right stakeholders in the room when it comes time to establish goals and the methods you will use to accomplish them. You will also consider the right resources, equipment, and systems that you need to reach your goals.
With safety at centre stage, you can elevate your safety maturity while reducing workplace incidents. This will result in greater efficiency, better brand credibility, and ultimately more business.
2. Prove that safety is everyone's responsibility
From C-suite executives to the front-line workforce, safety is everyone’s responsibility. Elevate your safety maturity by helping all team members acknowledge this and by creating a sense of accountability.
How can you do this? It starts with senior leadership. They must show their dedication and commitment to safety. This is done by including health and safety performance as part of the goals for the business, showing that they are providing the organisation with the right resources to accomplish these goals, and asking employees for feedback.
Need help demonstrating the return on safety to C-level executives? Check out our free whitepaper on the topic.
This brings us to our second point. Senior leadership and front-line employees must collaborate to help improve your safety maturity level. Leadership that values employee feedback and takes their opinions into consideration, builds a more empowered workforce. This will improve your safety culture, making employees feel truly accountable for each other’s safety, raising your safety maturity level.
3. Analyse the right data and analytics to continuously improve
Another key element to help raise your safety maturity level is data and analytics. It is when you collect and monitor the right safety metrics, KPI’s and more that you can truly elevate your safety performance.
With a comprehensive view into your safety performance, you can begin to identify areas of weakness and strengths. This will help you prioritise what you need to work on to more effectively reduce hazards on site. Measure both leading and lagging indicators such as training completed by employees, action item completion status, safety meetings conducted, lost time injury frequency rates (LTIFR), days away restricted or transferred (DART), and many more.
Once you identify the metrics needed to accomplish your safety goals, you can start to track trends and patterns in your data. You can now make data-driven decisions to create a more proactive safety approach. Make sure you share this data with employees, so they are aware of safety strengths and weaknesses.
To learn more about how to convert safety data to actionable insights, read this whitepaper.
Health and safety maturity is a complex topic and we’ve just skimmed the surface. Before you take action, make sure you are reading as much as you can on the topic and collecting all the information you need to develop a proper strategy to elevate health and safety maturity at your organisation.
Reaching the next stage is challenging, so we want to help you get there with the right resources in your toolkit. From the benefits of a mature health and safety management system to how your organisation can get there, check out our free eBook, What is Health and Safety Maturity, What Does Perfection Look Like and How Do I Get There?, to learn more on this topic.