Ergonomics done right.®
July 21st, 2008

Leading through Accountability

Leader Thanks to David Wright for sharing Robert Pater’s article on How Upper Management Can Actively Lead Safety.  It provides a good description of some key things managers and leaders should do to model and lead safe behaviors and influence a corporate safety culture. One common challenge is how to get leaders to do this…

Our experience coaching organizations to improve workplace safety and ergonomic conditions in the workplace has been to combine engineering solutions with cultural change. We’ve found one element that is essential for success; accountability.

A wise person once stated that "what interests my manager, motivates me." Holding people accountable for safety performance (or the success of any initiative for that matter) is simple:

  1. Set clear expectations (responsibilities, goals, roles, targets)
  2. provide people the resources, tools, and training to meet their responsibility
  3. visibly and actively monitor and track progress made towards the expectations
  4. take action when expectations are not met

It’s all about planning, managing, and follow-through.

Ironically, this 4-step approach is not foreign to managers and supervisors. They follow some form of these steps to schedule and complete work, build widgets, and manage production and quality. Leaders in safety should apply the same approach (Accountability) to influence, guide and lead people and their organization to success.