James Cook: Adopting a forward view on safety
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James Cook: Adopting a forward view on safety

Published: August 25, 2021

You need to turn over a lot of different rocks before you can define what a good safety culture looks like.

James Cook, Senior Vice President EHS & The Manitowoc Way at The Manitowoc Company

James Cook, Senior Vice President EHS & The Manitowoc Way at The Manitowoc Company explains where to start and how to stay on the right path. With only 50% of the workforce believing that all accidents were preventable, our initial starting point was the need to demonstrate that safety is a core company value. The fact that it was leadership that pushed this message through made by far the biggest impact on our path to total employee engagement on safety. The project was helped by having my role reporting directly to the CEO. This accountability strengthened the importance of good safety procedures within the company. A further lever has been consistent and frequent intercommunication between employees, safety functions, and management.


Don’t drive safety through the rearview mirror

One important transition has been to stop the focus on the recordable injury rates, which is like driving the car looking through the rearview mirror. Progress on safety issues requires us to look forward to see what we can change by, say, empowering the workforce to raise safety issues through an easy to use process, or by having clear after-sales support policies that include training and guidance on health and safety issues. These are relatively small processes to implement but have a huge positive effect. A forward-thinking approach helps move away from a culture of blame to one where we get a better picture of what a good safety culture looks like.

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