Belief Based Safety

Frequently people are incredulous when they hear of a story in which output was put ahead of
the safety of others. Intellectually we understand it, however many of us struggle to believe it can happen outside of England in 1720. Usually when it happens it is a clear sign of what we really value. Schneider International, one of our clients, who has introduced our Excellence curriculum as part of a Belief Based Safety program to over 14,000 staff have a strong, non-negotiable value in that they believe that there is nothing that urgent that requires putting people in danger. They are constantly putting their beliefs about safety into action and I particularly like the story of when a prospective job applicant rang HR to discuss an interview and when they realised he was driving and on the mobile they asked him to find a safe spot to stop and call back. Effectively they sent a message about their values before the applicant became an employee.
Contrast this with what was reported in “The Age” today. “A Metro train driver high on ice who had just run a red signal was told by management to continue driving the train loaded with passengers because…it was more important to avoid a major train delay. The driver, who had 10 times the threshold for a positive reading of ice, was also instructed to drive the train 6.5 kilometres after it had been taken out of service.”
It is hard to know where to start or what to say. Our values and beliefs drive our behaviours and underpin our decision making so every action (and inaction) sends a clear message about what we really value.
I have always found Lou’s comment in the Excellence program illuminating, “People watch your actions not your words.”

(If you want the case study on Belief Based Safety Leadership contact Carolyn in Perth).

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