Learning About Safety Culture: NSC Day 1

Day one at the NSC Congress & Expo was full of booths, products, and info sessions for safety industry professionals. I was able to dip away from the show floor to listen to an interesting info session on cultural hazards and company leadership.

Rodney Grieve delivered a presentation called "Identifying Cultural Hazards: 4 Clues Your Organization is Out of Balance." As a first-timer at NSC, I was eager to learn about the safety industry as a whole and understand how industry leaders have an integral role in keeping employees safe.

Grieve's presentation centered around one main idea: safety is a result that this industry has to deliver; it is not a company value. He talked about how safety is often talked about reactively, rather than preventively. There are ways, he explained, to change this mentality to safety.

He gripped his audience right off the bat with a question almost anyone can relate to: employers. What makes an effective or ineffective leader? In order to keep employees safe, employers need to build a culture of success around the following topics: knowledge, focus, pace, and experience.

How, then, do you know if your organization is out of balance? Grieve says one big indicator is one of the most common: management does not get involved until someone gets hurt. This goes back to the idea that safety should be a priority, not an afterthought.

He also says that if an employer has a "submission box" mentality and does not welcome open, face-to-face feedback, there is a lack of trust and transparency. Companies need open and honest communication to remain safe and healthy, too.

Adopting a "Be Successful" mentality has three simple commandments according to Grieve: Be Aware, Be Present, and Be Balanced. When companies fall into unhealthy habits that don't encourage communication and honesty, people get hurt - and upset.

I can't wait to keep exploring the floor and learning from professionals tomorrow! To keep up with OH&S's involvement this week with NSC, go online to www.ohsonline.com/live.

About the Author

Amanda Smiley is an Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety Magazine and 1105 Media.

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