A proactive safety approach at the workplace is the result of a high level of health and safety maturity. Organizations that prioritize 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 organization
- 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 organization’s health and safety program, procedures, and workflows are. It helps to assess how effectively your organization 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?
- Emerging (Level 1): Level 1 is known as Emerging. Organizations 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 organizations realize 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 behaviors conducted by front-line employees.
- Involving (Level 3): Front-line employee involvement is a key piece of health 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 behaviors. At this level, front-line employees and management collaborate and safety performance is analyzed 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 recognize 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 analyzed to assess safety performance.
- Continually Improving (Level 5): Organizations 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 organizations 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 analyzed to make sure safety performance remains high.
3 Ways to Elevate Health and Safety Maturity at Your Organization
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 analyze 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 organizations 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 organization with the right resources to accomplish these goals, and asking employees for feedback.
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, and raising your safety maturity level.
3. Analyze 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 of your safety performance, you can begin to identify areas of weakness and strengths. This will help you prioritize 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.
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 organization.
Reaching the next stage is challenging, so we want to help you get there with the right resources in your toolkit.
>> If you want to explore more about the level of safety maturing in your organization, start by taking this quick quiz.