How Company Habits Impact Safety Culture

How Company Habits Impact Safety Culture

There are a few different companies to look to when talking about effective safety culture. One of those is the world’s largest aluminum manufacturer Alcoa. What’s their lesson?

If you want to run a fleet that not only turns a profit, but operates safely, it’s vital that it starts with your company culture. Sure, this sounds like a simplistic solution, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

The fact is, once a bad habit has seeped its way into your company culture, it’s extremely hard to change. In these cases, the challenges lie in ensuring cultural bad habits are replaced with good ones and then embedded within the safety culture of your organization.

But where do you start? Surely, there’s a method to establishing a safety culture to be proud of. Indeed, there is, and we can help.

Giving A Cue

When you give a cue, you are providing your people with a tip that starts a habit. One example here could be a pre-trip safety check. Perhaps a warning light is on. Have they noticed it?

Safety managers should be out there in the field, testing and re-testing the safety culture of the fleet’s organizational competency. What if there’s a last-minute change to the makeup of a load? Will the truck driver or other employees involved be prepared?

When you provide a cue, you are alerting your people to the potential for a spot inspection at any time. You are cueing them in on your alertness, letting them know that you are paying attention. This is vital to ensuring the next step in the process is set in stone.

Setting up a Routine

Once you have provided your cue, you want your employees’ and truck drivers’ actions in response to that cue to become a routine. Has your truck driver established a routine composed of safety measures?

If you’re truck driver is running through a standard safety checklist, does that mean you can say to yourself, “Well, I know this already, he knows this already, so I’m just going to go back to my office.”

No.

The point of his exercise is to standardize the routine not only in your truck drivers but in yourself as well. Whatever your largest safety concerns are, focus on them during that safety check. If a safety check doesn’t include the challenges sitting atop the list, then it isn’t a proper safety check.

Providing a Reward

All of the above steps will make your people feel like you are micro managing them, when in fact, you are doing the opposite. You are preparing them for freedom. Therefore you need to reward the routine.

You want your truckers to feel as though they will be rewarded for discovering a safety issue and reporting it. The reward portion comes at the end of a loop

  • The Cue: The trucker discovering a safety issue
  • The Routine: The trucker reporting or correcting the issue
  • The Reward: The trucker being rewarded for correcting or reporting the issue as quickly as possible.

Changing the safety culture within your fleet is not impossible. In some cases, it may be quite necessary. And while there are many different ways to approach it, perhaps you needed a fresh set of eyes to look at it from another angle.

Take Alcoa as the example. Read up more on how they used this method to become one of the safest heavy manufacturing and commodities retrieval companies on the planet. Think you can’t emulate their success at the fleet level? Think again. After all, what have you got to lose in trying?