• Peter Bateman
    228
    This is an experiment in using the Forum software's live chat facility for the first time.
    It is also an experiment in using the Forum's 'event' facility. Bear with me.

    Craig Marriott is general manager health, safety, environment & quality with FirstGas.
    He was scheduled to speak at the 2020 Safeguard Conference about developing an effective long-term health & safety strategy.
    The conference has since been cancelled due to the pandemic (it has been rescheduled for 1-2 June 2021).

    Craig has kindly agreed to be the guest expert in our first Forum Q&A session. He will be on the Forum for an hour, starting 10am Friday 3 April.

    The idea is that Forum members send in questions. They come to the moderator (that's me), who selects the best ones for Craig to respond to.

    Given that many businesses have suspended their operations due to the pandemic, it might be the ideal time to do some long-term thinking about H&S strategy when the lockdown ends.

    For those businesses still operating, the issue might be: how do I rapidly adapt whatever H&S strategy currently exists to the new reality?

    Anyway, let's give it a go on Friday. If it works we'll try it again, maybe weekly, with a new guest each time.

    (Any errors will be mine as I try to set this up for the first time.)
    1585861200_1585864800_N_T_O29
  • Chris Hewitt
    5
    First question: How do you decide what not to include in your H&S strategy? Scope creep is often the bane of every strategy.
  • Craig Marriott
    203
    Thanks Peter - looking forward to it
  • Paula Luijken
    5
    This is awesome - "challenging the safety quo" is my favourite safety book and I am recommending it or quoting it weekly!! Very much looking forward to this.
  • Admin
    24
    I have tweaked the Forum's settings so that, from now on, all questions for Craig's session tomorrow will come to me privately for consideration. So I can release them one at a time during the chat session.

    So ... fire away! What queries about H&S strategy do you have?
  • Peter Bateman
    228
    To warm things up before we get started, here is Craig's story about H&S strategy development from the Sept/Oct 2019 edition of Safeguard.
    Attachment
    SG177 Strategy development (395K)
  • Matt Sadgrove
    22
    How do you achieve a balance between strategic direction from the leadership level and strategic input risk front line?
  • Craig Marriott
    203
    Before we start – would just like to say well done to all the H&S people managing their teams through this pandemic. I have had positive feedback from lots of organisations about how well things are being managed – even though it’s a tough time.
  • Craig Marriott
    203
    It is the role of the executive to lead the business. They should have the discussion around the strategy and what direction to take. But this should always include input from the teams. This will mainly be to flesh out detail and refine things, but the leadership and team views should mostly align. If they don’t, don’t be afraid to change things, but only make fundamental changes if there is a radical mismatch that will derail the strategy.
  • Russell McMullan
    3
    Senior executives and board members often have strong views about safety. Some can be very skeptical of the role safety, and some see 'safety' as an unnecessary cost or constraint on operations.

    What approaches have you found successful in gaining senior stakeholder buy-in and ownership of the safety strategy?
  • Craig Marriott
    203
    I always make sure there is a really clear alignment between the safety strategy and the overall business strategy – how do they help and support each other? How will the strategy we are developing make the overall business better? But the real key is groundwork with them before the strategy is developed. I spend a lot of time emphasising the link between safety and business. The underlying aspects of good safety also support good quality, reliability, efficiency and profitability, so safety is effectively a health indicator for business performance.
  • Matt Sadgrove
    22
    How do you ensure understanding across the entire business with language and perception differences (black line, blueline)?
  • Jon Harper-Slade
    62
    Considering the phrase 'all models are wrong, but some are useful', which major models from safety science do you find the most useful and which do you find the least?
  • Craig Marriott
    203
    Your headline strategy information should be simple to understand because it’s at quite a high level (if you have a multi-lingual workforce, do some translated versions). The key thing is to link the strategy to the work people do so it is clear why it matters to them. If your strategic objective is to reduce paperwork (hint: do this), it will be fairly obvious. But if it is to increase technology use, this may be less clear, so show them what it means to have a virtual reality version of their workplace.
    Afterwards, keep the conversation going – when people make suggestions, raise issues or ask why we do things, look at how it links to the strategy and discuss it in those terms so their understanding grows over time.
  • Bruce Tollan
    31
    How do you measure and display the value of H&S strategy?
  • Craig Marriott
    203
    How to answer that in one paragraph? Thanks, Jon!
    Least helpful to me is the accident triangle (or at least how people have interpreted Heinrich’s original work and used it). It has driven obsession with counting and focusing on low risk issues. The most helpful is probably the underlying theme of several different, and newer, schools of thought which is to put the worker at the heart of H&S and better understand their reality.
  • Jon Harper-Slade
    62
    Thinking about the COVID-19 response; how do you think we can best prepare for what may come next?
  • Craig Marriott
    203
    Measuring strategy can be hard because it’s long term. You need to understand clearly what success looks like for each objective and set this out at the start. That is where you’ll agree the value and whether it is worth the effort. When you break it down into shorter term actions, line these up with your overall success measure. Review the strategy routinely and make sure you’re still on track and that the objective is still valid and providing value in the renewed context. You may well have to change direction if, for example, a pandemic disrupts everything.
  • Chris Hyndman
    55
    In your opinion, to counter against complacency (and confirmation biased KPIs) is it better to review and tweak the safety strategy periodically or to carry out a hard reset after a certain length of time?
  • Craig Marriott
    203
    To Jon’s covid-19 question. We are moving into thinking much more about complex systems. Our overarching strategy suddenly just becomes recovery + adapt to the new normal. There are many interlinked factors and we cannot honestly predict how it will go. We are currently developing different broad scenarios and high-level approaches against each of them so that we can respond to whichever arises. It’s about putting in things that are resilient and agile. It’s a great case study for bad strategy – if you project ahead and fix on an outcome to move towards you may get it hopelessly wrong and fail spectacularly.
  • robert p
    13
    Do you have workers participating in developing the strategy? If so, how? If not, why?
    Do you involve partner PCBU in developing the strategy? If so, how? If not, why?
    How do you bring the strategy to life / visiting a work site what would I expect coal face worker to know of the strategy?
    How to articulate the contest & harmony of regulatory compliance with meaningful progressive safety & health practice?
  • Jon Harper-Slade
    62
    “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” Winston Churchil :-)
  • Craig Marriott
    203
    To Chris
    A bit of both. Regularly review and tweak (although most tweaks will be to the shorter term actions rather than the strategy itself) and then a more detailed review every year or so. I would only advocate a hard re-set (by which I mean completely changing things) if there is a major upheaval in the business environment. In terms of KPIs, be very wary about the behaviour they drive. On the whole, we have indicators, but not targets. These help you steer without biasing the direction.
  • Chris Hyndman
    55
    :grin: I wonder if he also mentioned the dangers of being told only what people thought he wanted to hear!
  • Emma Simm
    1
    Hi Craig, In your opinion what is the most effective lever to shift an executive strategic focus from compliance to intent?
  • Jon Harper-Slade
    62
    What advice would you give the young version of yourself as you were setting out into your professional career?
  • Craig Marriott
    203
    @Robert P
    Lots of questions here - see my earlier reply about the role of the leadership in setting strategy and worker input. Keep the conversation going and help them understand their role in delivering the strategy that is relevant to them – I wouldn’t expect them to know the whole thing, but would like them to be able to talk about their components of it.
    Partners – yes if they are embedded enough.
    I don’t believe there is too big a tension between compliance and progressive practice if it’s all done well. WorkSafe is moving in the right direction, I think, to help with this but their job is not easy. I wrote a blog about this here https://safetyquo.com/2016/09/04/stick-stick-stick-carrot/
  • Craig Marriott
    203
    Hi Emma See my earlier response to Russell. I believe most senior leaders genuinely care. It takes a while to educate them, though, that compliance and counting may not be the best way to do this. I think that this education is the key factor. Unfortunately, the most effective tool in practice is a bad accident. Sometimes a very high potential near miss is a good lever, but please don't try to engineer one!
  • robert p
    13
    and the gods will laugh
  • Jon Harper-Slade
    62
    It is now a well accepted fact that injury frequency rates have little to do with safety performance (yet most of us are still using it that way); What do you suggest it is replaced with and how would that change happen?
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If you are interested in workplace health & safety in New Zealand, then this is the discussion forum for you.