This article has been provided by Cority and looks at how the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the view of safety culture during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed much in our lives, including where and how we work. Beyond altering our physical workplaces there are clear signs that the public health crisis may be triggering a fundamental shift in our collective views on safety, health, and well-being, especially on-the-job. For Health and Safety professionals, these changing viewpoints are providing unique opportunities to re-think not only how you manage risk, but how you can develop stronger safety cultures in the months and years ahead. Perhaps for the first time, organizations are seeing a real tangible connection between their ability to manage safety, and their long-term business viability.
Cority’s Sean Baldry, CRSP, recently sat down with renowned safety culture expert, Dr. Andrew Sharman, CEO and Principal at RMS Switzerland, to discuss how COVID-19 is shifting our views on safety culture and leadership. Let’s take a look at some of their thoughts.
How will the experiences of essential workers during the pandemic influence how organizations approach safety culture and safety management in the years ahead?
Essential workers have certainly held things together for us right around the world, and we owe them a debt of gratitude. Their willingness to work at all hours, constantly being on call, and even placing themselves at risk for others helps us realize that everyone remains, above all else, human. COVID-19 has become a remarkable opportunity to “level the playing field” and has shown us that no matter what title you hold or where you work, the virus doesn’t discriminate. This reinforces a truism about occupational health and safety, and it reinforces that behind all the programs, initiatives, policies, and metrics we normally focus on, health and safety is really about people.
How can Health and Safety professionals convince leaders that now is the time for investments in health and safety, and not cost-cutting?
With most sectors facing considerable economic challenges, now is a perfect opportunity for health and safety professionals to step up and demonstrate their ability to offer real, tangible value to the business. It’s also time for organizations to extend current table-top discussions beyond COVID-19–, instead broadening their perspective on what needs to be done to protect their workforce and re-incorporate those very real health and safety risks that were on their agendas before the pandemic struck.
How will technology change the way business leaders manage safety, and build strong, resilient safety cultures, in a post COVID-19 world?
The pandemic revealed most clearly to leaders that they need to take advantage of the vast information their business collects to better enable them to detect problems early and take the necessary steps to protect their people from harm. The crisis has reinforced the importance of preparation – the need to anticipate problems early and then build resilience in our processes to help withstand disruptions and recover quickly. That means leaders need better data to make better decisions.
To get more insight into Sean and Andrew’s conversation, including topics like mental wellness and leadership, and to learn more about actionable steps you can implement today to improve your health and safety programs, check out our eBook, A Brave New World: Exploring how COVID-19 is Shifting Views on Safety Culture and Leadership.