A key first step for any organisation aiming to improve its workplace road safety is realising there is no silver bullet. This is often a battle that must be waged by those who lead safety, and must convince others of the return on investment it can bring.
The next step is realising that this safety journey is not going to end. It will be continuous, sometimes scenic, and chances are it will go through some very uncomfortable country. If the destination is zero, the safety journey is a constant work in progress as the organisation continues its day-to-day functions.
But the journey is well worth it. What is required to successfully navigate it though is preparation, planning, resourcing, a strategy to get buy-in from those on the journey, and determination to find the right tools that can help your organisation.
Let’s pause for a moment and reflect on the planning that goes into a holiday, for example. Without planning and preparation, the holiday is likely to descend into a battle with dissenting views on what to do next, differing priorities and expectations among friends and family, and unexpected costs. There is little cohesion and everyone finishes up going their own way. And while travel plans can go awry (did someone mention a pandemic?), you can make sure the things that you can control have been considered.
How does this relate to workplace road safety? On a holiday, the mood can become unpleasant. For organisations, failures in safety can be catastrophic as workers’ lives, and the community, can be directly impacted.
Key themes emerge
- Starts from the top
- Is an ongoing process
- Is good business
- Prioritises employee protection, and
- Takes advantage of technology.
This has been reinforced in our latest case study, which demonstrates how Sutherland Shire Council shifted from a reactive to a proactive safety culture. It acknowledged there was no silver bullet, and actively engaged workers ‘at the coalface’ in the safety journey by asking them to help inform and plan the route.
Its approach even resulted in workers with 40 plus years of experience realising there are still things they can learn. Like any journey, the scenery is constantly changing, even on familiar routes.
As well as taking workers on the journey, the Council’s Fleet Manager actively sold the efficiency and other business benefits of improved safety performance to the Executive. They listened, and the Council’s investment is paying dividends in both improved efficiency and safety, delivering myriad benefits for its workers and the wider community it serves.