Safety Culture and Your Elevator Speech

How would you describe your organizations’ safety culture? What would you say to the CEO? What would you say to a prospective customer? Is it as simple as “it’s good” or does the particular audience require more depth? I want to touch on this issue and how you might address the CEO if you only had a couple minutes of his free time between meetings.

As most of you have experienced, the “big wigs” come to your region, facility or site for their quarterly/semi-annual/annual visit to discuss operations, finance, or strategy and deliver the corporate message. Sometimes they have time to sit down and really address what safety looks like and what their vision is for the safety performance and any new or upcoming changes. Sometimes they don’t! So now, what if you only have a few minutes to discuss the nature of your safety culture and performance, what will you say?

For some of you, it may be a very easy conversation; everything is great in the safety world, no incidents since your last visit and everything is going well. How about if you had a recent rash of “minor” incidents and maybe even a serious injury? How will you rebuild their trust that you are taking care of business and the people and processes are working safely in those few precious minutes? Maybe it’s not personnel from your own organization but rather a customer that has come in to discuss a contract.

The point I am trying to make is you always need to have that “elevator speech” ready in your back pocket. You never know when the question will pop up, how is it going? How are the new safety policies working out? What are you doing to keep us from having another incident like last month?

So if you are in the elevator between meetings and suddenly the VIP turns to you and asks, how are things in the safety world, what will you say?  Tell us in our HSE Press Forum!