For good reasons safety is a top priority. Rules, procedures and PPE’s are well developed and absolutely necessary. Their implementation makes a tremendous difference in preventing accidents. However, more is needed. An additional focus must be placed on the behavior and attitudes of employees such as to make them ‘breathe’ safety. ‘Safety from the inside out’ creates sustainable and measurable change in attitudes.
Research shows that up to 95% of our behavior is directed by non-rational, automatic drivers. To a large degree, unsafe behavior can be explained by these processes. A major difficulty: being aware of your own non-conscious dynamics. To a large degree you are dependent on the willingness of others to make you aware. In a work environment natural teams are critical in keeping each other on their toes.
Although nobody will deny the high priority that Safety has and needs to have, sometimes it conflicts with other business priorities. In the worst case, taking care of safety is experienced as cumbersome. That is why a part of the role of an EHS manager is mastering strategies of respect based influence vis-à-vis other managers.