Generative HSE
Safety beliefs, standards, leadership & performance


Demonstrate the level of performance you want.

By Jim Neilson

“You get the level of safety performance you demonstrate.”  What’s your response to this statement? Maybe you work hard at increasing the level of performance by pushing safety at every opportunity. Maybe you do this better than all your peers. Maybe you even score well on safety at performance appraisal time. And maybe you’re still not satisfied with the performance of your workers.

It’s easy for us to find ourselves doing a lot of talking and not so much demonstrating. There are many ways leaders can demonstrate their commitment to a safe workplace, and the truth is they need to use all of them. Demonstrating safety is a full-time responsibility.

Some examples of real, comprehensive commitment look like this:

  • Lead by example
  • Back up talk with actions
  • Be fastidious about self-compliance
  • Visible Leadership
  • Make the time to ensure your people understand what is required of them.
  • Ensure there is no ambiguity over what constitutes a good job
  • Critical safety procedures
  • Make sure they exist
  • Have systems in place that ensure procedures are correct and followed
  • Tough love
  • Practise this
  • Incidents/accidents
  • Investigate all incidents/accidents thoroughly
  • Identify the root cause
  • Take appropriate corrective actions
  • Audit corrective actions for effectiveness
  • Proactive safety activities
  • Involve everyone
  • Ensure that proactive activities exist
  • Never turn a blind eye
  • Know what this means

Often leaders believe they are doing all they can because they don’t know any better. Here is where mentoring from an experienced leader with outstanding safety and business performance records can open their eyes to new opportunities.

If you’ve done everything you think you can do to improve safety performance in your organisation and yet results don’t seem to be forthcoming, perhaps you can look to a mentor who can reinforce what demonstrate really means, not just with the above examples but also with the myriad of other opportunities leaders have to demonstrate their commitment.

Jim Neilson is a coach and mentor specialising in behavioural change. Jim has over 40 years experience in operational roles at Bluescope Steel leading diverse teams to achieve desired business outcomes with outstanding safety results.