Dec 12, 2023

Empowering health and safety: Leveraging resilience and innovation in workplace

  • Article
  • Health, Safety and Environment

In the pursuit of creating secure, adaptable and resilient workplaces, health and safety (H&S) practices are undergoing a transformation. Recognizing the need for more dynamic strategies, organizations are working to shape a proactive and employee-focused H&S culture. Over the last decade, we’ve seen a catalyst for change emerge: H&S plans now serve as instrumental tools, enabling companies to skillfully protect their most valuable asset—people. This blog article explores innovative practices that are reshaping H&S for a secure work environment, which aligns with the ESG framework and emphasizes corporate responsibility. Beyond ensuring safety, this new approach also prioritizes employee development and well-being in organizational strategies.

  1. A new health and safety culture based on collaboration

    By fostering a culture of collaboration, companies acknowledge that innovation extends beyond new tools—it encompasses novel ways of thinking. Establishing a solid governance and organizational structure sets boundaries, nurturing employee empowerment and laying the groundwork for a robust H&S framework ingrained in the company's values.

    This cultural move is influenced by the Safety Differently approach, which was conveyed for the fist time in 2012 by Sidney Dekker, Director of the Safety Science Innovation Lab at Griffith University in Brisbane (Australia). It proposes addressing workplace safety by reducing bureaucracy and empowering workers. It also aims to improve overall system safety by detecting structural vulnerabilities that could trigger incidents and by harnessing team skills.

  2. Putting people first

    Beyond fulfilling legal obligations, acknowledging that an organization’s competitive advantage lies in the well-being of its workforce is recognized by industry leaders for its intrinsic value and is an essential part of their strategy. We are seeing a paradigm shift. By prioritizing people, H&S initiatives become strategic assets, positioning companies at the forefront of a cultural transformation. Unleashing people’s creativity through their diverse ideas and having them take informed and proactive decisions will help create a future we all want to be part of. This approach promotes increased engagement from employees, because they recognize safety as a shared responsibility, becoming a shared concern.

  3. Focus on rigour to develop resilience

    To optimize resources, companies adopt a rigorous approach to H&S. Managing risks based on severity allows a strategic allocation of resources, focussing efforts where they are most needed and fostering a resilient response. For example, maximizing resource allocation to prevent high-severity risks that could lead to death or injury, resulting in downtime. However, it is important to note that this approach does not disregard lower-severity risks. On the contrary, it prioritizes risks to ensure more balanced resource management. Implementing a structured and proactive decision-making process strengthens team safety, ensures better asset protection, and contributes to sustainable practices.

  4. Ingenuity in safety: Working smarter

    Digitalization has generated a new source of wealth: data. By mastering the art of making this data speak, by connecting systems and by applying innovation, companies now have the means to move their business forward. In a competitive industry, this explains the growing integration of technology to streamline industrial processes and is a booming trend across all aspects of business, including health and safety process management. The technology is then used as an enabler, by embracing progressive and sustainable safety practices and choosing meaningful KPIs to help improve overall safety and efficiency.

  5. In conclusion

    The evolution in safety culture marks a departure from perceiving safety as a constraint. Rather than viewing it as a limitation, there is now a move toward considering safety as an opportunity for progress. When combining sustainable development goals with corporate performance targets, true leaders prioritize worker well-being. Their contribution to developing a new safety culture through innovative approaches ensures workplace safety and paves the way for a resilient, sustainable future. By embracing safety as a strategic asset rather than a compliance necessity, these leaders integrate H&S into the broader framework of organizational success, fostering a culture that prioritizes both human welfare and corporate excellence, with a keen emphasis on empowering employees.

This content is for general information purposes only. All rights reserved ©BBA

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