Building on the need for leadership to create a two-way accountability model, leaders also should use employee information to develop a culture of two-way continuous learning.

Today's work environment constantly is changing, due to emerging technologies. And while these assets can improve our efficiencies, they also can lead to a bevy of incidents that previously may not have been present in the workplace. With employees facing growing threats, leadership has a prime opportunity (and responsibility) to engage employees through continuous learning.

The key to an effective continuous learning program is that it be just that: continuous. Leadership should engage employees with skill building that goes beyond formal training on new processes and procedures. Instead, teams should focus on a blended mixture of formal training, informal coaching, professional development and even non-work-related life skill building. Such programs will ensure that employees have the necessary formal workplace training, while also improving employee morale by encouraging their professional development.

With improved morale, employees likely will be more focused on workplace efforts, eventually leading to a reduction in incidents and injuries.

Using Technology to Drive Performance

Creating a culture of continuous learning and accountability is not something that happens overnight. In fact, it often is suggested that leaders explore technology options as yet another tool to drive these elements of their safety performance programs.

If you are considering a technology solution, it is imperative to find something that can help build accountability while also helping to foster continuous learning. As there are a variety of platforms to choose from, consider a solution that can handle key data elements, such as KPIs, standards and procedures, skill building, observations and audits, communication and, lastly, root cause analysis.

Platforms that focus on these data areas will drive leadership engagement by ensuring that leaders have visibility into all reported injuries and near-misses while also providing key data on skill building programs.

Ask Yourself: Is Leadership Involved?

At the end of the day, your top leadership team should be fully engaged in your safety program. While it often is easier for management to take a top level, more hands-off approach, having your leaders fully integrated into the plan is key to reducing injuries, reducing costs and increasing overall employee morale.

As you look at your leadership team, the question you should ask yourself is whether it is fully vested in safety performance. If not, it may be time to see how you can get corporate leaders involved. EHS

Len Jannaman currently is acting as vice president of UL's EHS Sustainability Division's Advisory Services. Prior to his current role, Jannaman completed 33 years with DuPont in leadership roles in manufacturing, business management and safety consulting before retiring and forming several businesses. For the last 10 years with DuPont and then for seven years at his own firm, his specialty has been helping companies install a world-class safety management system to engage employees from the CEO to the factory floor.