We have all heard of the various safety slogans such as ?Safety is Priority #1?, ?Safety First? and ?Safety Above All Else?, etc., etc.? Unfortunately, if truth be told, these slogans are meaningless.? First of all, safety should be interwoven into the production, maintenance and quality systems of any organization and not treated separately.? Secondly, such slogans diminish the value of a safety management system.? It is this author?s opinion that worker safety is more than a slogan.? How an organization values safety is described within the safety policy or safety mission statement regarding how they do safety.? Slogans remind me of political campaign commercials that you see on television or hear on the radio.? The thirty second sound bites do not reflect the character, belief system or moral compass of the individual.? Such commercials make you feel good about the candidate, because they are only telling you what you want to hear, not describing how they do or would do the very things that they say they will do in the political ad.

When discussing zero incident culture within an organization, what does a zero incident culture look like and how is it defined?? A zero incident culture is defined as the shared values and beliefs hat drive the safety management system and behaviors that result in zero incidents.

Culture change is a long term process. Our desired ?zero incident culture? will occur with our beliefs are consistently reflected in the behaviors at ALL levels of the organization.

We can strengthen our culture by focusing on our EHS climate. The EHS climate is the day-to-day management systems and behaviors that impact a site?s culture.

The ?toolbox? portion of this presentation is designed to introduce some day-to-day tools that can be used to strengthen our EHS culture.


  • Culture change is a long-term process?
  • Eaton will achieve a zero incident culture when the zero incident beliefs are consistently reflected in the behaviors at all levels of the organization


  • Climate change can occur more quickly than culture change?
  • The climate is the day-to-day management systems and behaviors
  • Culture change is BEST accomplished by strengthening the climate

The shift in safety culture necessary to achieve world-class performance is very large. In order to achieve world-class performance, sites will have to progress through each phase of the cultural evolution process. The required cultural shift will take several years to complete.? Interdependent is the ultimate goal of a safety culture, see Figure 1.? The curve illustrated in Figure 1 is one example of such safety culture curves to model your organization to as well as to validate the effectiveness of the safety management system on a frequent basis.

ISO 45001

Figure 1:? The Safety Curve

Safety is a core value that must be integrated into every aspect of our business. Operating with zero incidents should not compete with business priorities.? Rather, it must be an integrated part of every business aspect.

Priorities change? An organization must make safety a core value and integrate it into every aspect of the business.

Values do not readily change? An organizations safety value should remain unaffected by competing daily priorities.

Leaders display many signals through their behaviors and decisions… These actions indicate to our business partners whether safety is a value at all times, when it is convenient or not at all.

Management must be accountable and responsible for continuous safety improvement.? The site?s safety resource should be viewed as a ?coach? rather than the person responsible for safety such as the safety manager, safety supervisor, safety coordinator, etc..? Modeling of the desired safety behaviors and daily execution of the activities that result in zero incidents must be the responsibility of managers and front-line leaders

Management leadership is essential in achieving a workplace with zero incidents. Managers and front-line leaders must be visibly engaged in the processes and demonstrate the behaviors that support a zero incident culture. In other words, leaders must ?walk the talk? and not just ?talk the talk?.

Accountability and responsibility defined. ?We use these two words interchangeably.? But they have two different meanings.? Usually, someone else gives you a list of accountabilities, ?Here, I want you to complete these activities, this list of things before the end of the shift?.? Normally you will complete these for a variety of reasons such as, it is the boss giving you the orders or there is some kind of a reward for doing them (in this case a paycheck).? But notice how generally someone else gives you the accountability.

EVERYONE must take ownership for achieving the zero incident goal?

  • Management – Management must be knowledgeable about the site?s EHS performance, causes of incidents, strategy for improvement, goals and resources.
  • Front-Line Leaders – Front-line leaders must demonstrate the desired behaviors and be visibly involved in the activities that support zero incidents
  • Workers – All employees are responsible and accountable for their safety, the safety of others and environmental performance in their work areas

I believe that the entire organization must be engaged in the goal of zero incidents.? Incident-free performance is not possible without everyone?s participation and commitment. Participation does not have to be complex or time-consuming. For example, taking a few moments to report a near miss incident is a meaningful and relevant way for employees to get involved.

However, whatever the accountability, it gets done best when you take personal ownership or responsibility of it.? At work it may be that you have a reputation of always doing the job the quickest and with the fewest errors.? You?ll take responsibility because of the pride you feel for a job well done.

In conclusion, the validation process and measurement of such a culture is simple.? It is based on engagement activities from all employees with established scorecards to document participation.? Activities can include training, hazard assessment, pre job task review, and behavior observations. The fundamental element to achieve the type of safety performance that any organization in the world would want to achieve is to shift the ownership for safety. If an organization has 75,000 employees ? including managers, front-line leaders, service technicians, sales persons and shop floor employees ? then the organization needs to have 75,000 safety professionals to own the process.

If you are looking to get ISO 45001 Certification, you may need the services of a specialist Health and Safety Consultant who can guide you through the requirements of the ISO 45001 safety management system standard and help you develop and Implement the safety systems in your organisation.