We are delighted to have been shortlisted as one of the five finalists in the IIRSM category for outstanding risk management practice. We feel that this is true recognition for the hard work and determination that has been input into what is a truly superb project.
In November 2017 Suez Recycling & Recovery UK celebrated the 5 year anniversary of Safety In Mind, their national behavioural-based safety leadership programme. Championed by their forward-thinking Chief Executive, David Palmer-Jones, the programme was instigated to counteract the prevailing trend of major injuries and fatalities within the waste industry in general. At one point the waste industry witnessed 9 fatalities within only 12 weeks.
Designed and developed by Gauged Solutions in collaboration with employees of the Suez Group the programme has been both the catalyst and umbrella for significant positive change within the business that has extended from safety management into overall risk management.
Risk Management Initiative & Organisational Goals
The overall purpose of Safety In Mind was to reduce the risk of injury to Suez employees, contractors, visitors and members of the public, as established by a new Safety Charter which was introduced as part of the programme.
Using key measurement tools including safety climate survey, interviews, focus groups and collaborative working with a core group of personnel across the business we identified 4 key aims and objectives which, if achieved, would have a meaningful impact:-
- Increased visibility of leaders
- Improved engagement on safety
- Reward and recognise good behaviours
Promote a challenging culture Rather than concentrating on increased health and safety “initiatives” which traditionally appeared to come and go or simply on procedures and audits the programme concentrated on leadership as being at the heart of the success of health and safety and overall risk management within the business. (Indeed, considering the new ISO 45001 standard and core leadership requirement, Safety In Mind was leading the way).
Training consisted of a mandatory 2 day course for all management representatives, from Chief Executive through to Safety Representative, as well as training for all staff, with refresher training after 3 years.
The training, delivered by Gauged Solutions, combined the importance of leadership within the context of safety and risk management and effective leadership strategies with modern empirically-based theories of behavioural change (including Reinforcement Thoery, Theory of Interpersonal Behaviour and the Behavioural Change Wheel). Making the courses relevant to senior managers as well as safety representatives and suitable for all parts of the business (including logistics, processing, energy from waste, construction, landfill) and delivering it in a style to keep the focus but make it enjoyable has been key to its success.
Safety In Mind also introduced different ways of managing and measuring safely performance, including a requirement by all on the course to undertake safety conversations which are subsequently recorded to track/trend; designed to identify positives rather than focus on negatives.
Impact on Organisational Culture
Safety In Mind stressed that its success would be based upon 6 key pillars to high performing safety cultures, including top management commitment, middle management involvement, safety performance focussed supervisors, active participation of the workforce, positive perception of safety by the workforce and constant review of working procedures.
The impact in these areas have been significant. Whilst the first pillar has been consistently high throughout the 5 years, demonstrating the commitment of the senior management, it has not always been reflected throughout the business.
In 2015, for instance, PPE and a “lack of health and safety commitment” were the two highest complaints within the Suez “USay” staff feedback. By contrast, in December 2017, the same survey, of which there was an 84% reply, highlighted 0 issues against any health and safety issue!
The pillars are now in their 70s, 80s and 90s and whiklst there is no room for complacency they are moving in the right direction.
What Makes Safety In Mind Stand Out?
Not only has the feedback from the courses been universally acclaimed in their content and delivery and that it has demonstrated the effectiveness of collaborative working at site level between management and staff and across the different divisions within the Uk business, but it also stands out as a beacon within the Suez global business for effective risk management. Whilst it has been guided by Gauged Solutions, it has very much been driven by the management and employees of Suez; the very name came from a member of staff. Safety In Mind has empowered so many of the staff within the business and changed their way of thinking as well as acting, not just in the safety arena, but in widespread risk management. It has contributed to increased morale on site and, importantly, has provided staff with lifeskills that they have used in their career development and progression as well as in their home life.
Evidence of the Benefits to Organisation
From a purely statistical point of view the benefits are significant:-
- Zero fatalities since 2012
- Near Miss and Hazard reporting increased from 1672 (2011) to 13425 (Dec 2017)
- Within the Energy From Waste division an accident frequency reduction of 57% (from 9.3 to 4) in last 3 years and a severity rate reduction of 74% (from 275 to 71)
- Within the SUEZ UK business there have been a 63% reduction in our RIDDOR reportable incidents since 2012, a 36% in our accident frequency rate and a 12% reduction in the severity rate.
From a recognition within the waste community perspective SIM has resulted in:-
- Waste Industry & Health (WISH) Forum Award in Northern Ireland
- Environment & Energy Award for H&S Skills Development
Commendations by HSE Waste Industry Director to individual supervisors for their commitment (National Lead Inspector Initiative) From a customer perspective:-
- Demonstrable safe culture and risk management focussed
- Customers seeing how Suez engage
Providing a competitive advantage From within the business:-
- Safety In Mind is “just how we do things around Suez” Safety in Mind is embedded into all the business training and risk management
Thoughts of David Palmer-Jones, Chief Executive Officer, SUEZ Recycling and Recovery U
Back in mid 2012 within SUEZ Recycling & Recovery UK we noticed that our safety performance was plateauing and we were still experiencing the same types of incidents. We questioned ourselves as we had all the necessary organisational controls including a sound and certified H&S management system with policies, procedures and training packages, then following further evaluation we found that the majority of our incidents were behavioural based such as deviations from procedures not all of which were deliberate or intended. The systems we had provided the necessary foundations in order to start the next part of our journey which was towards Behavioural Leadership and we knew we needed help on this because as a concept this was relatively new to the industry and we sought out Gauged Solutions as specialists in this field to work with us.
With Gauged Solutions we brought a wide ranging selection of our workforce together to identify our objectives and expectations. Our employees in the front line are the people doing the difficult, dangerous and challenging work so we listened to their opinions on what we get right or do well and what we get don’t get right and could improve and out of this we enacted our behavioural safety charter. Employee involvement from the offset has been pivotal.
We set out with the four simple but extremely powerful objectives identified above in the background section and these have proved to be fundamental to the success to date.
Safety in Mind was the catalyst to our employees becoming more empowered to challenge accepted practices, influence change within their workplace and feel confident in suggesting best practices and raising concerns without fear knowing they will be dealt with which is indicated by the significant increase in near miss and hazard reporting. Our leaders (safety representative, supervisors and managers) and employees themselves have modified their behaviour positively as a result especially in how we engage with each other.
The program has complete top down, bottom up commitment and we have Safety as a critical success factor in our business and ensure it is at the forefront of all our decision making processes. We also have an elected workforce group who meet every quarter and focus on the future direction of Safety in Mind as we prosper towards a zero harm culture where we expect everyone involved with SUEZ to have Safety in Mind at all times to ensure our employees, contractors and members of the public go home safe every day.
Our relationship with Gauged Solutions as prescribed above was started as a consultant/client however they quickly became integral to our Safety in Mind program and business with their knowledge, passion and attitude this relationship felt and transpired into more of a partnership and alliance. They have been as committed to the program success and continued success as I, and each employee, in the business are. They brought with them a wealth of experience from other industries including those similar to our core activities. We could not have accomplished what we have so far without the collaboration and efforts of all which is truly inspiring and this will continue for years to come.
"The Barry Holt Award is an endorsement for outstanding risk management practice. Among the finalists is Gauged Solutions, the brainchild behind Safety in Mind – a behavioural safety programme which is embedded in major UK waste company Suez Recycling and Recovery UK.
Glenn Ridsdale, managing director of Gauged, explained that Safety in Mind – a blend of safety leadership and coaching techniques supported by up to date research – has had a significant positive effect on the Suez business in reducing its accident rates and also increasing staff engagement in safety management.
Ridsdale said: “We wanted to share the ‘good news’ story of Safety in Mind, as well as highlight the significant work that is being performed throughout within the waste industry to effectively manage their health and safety risks, particularly as the sector has long been associated with serious accidents and fatalities in the workplace.”