The Safety Third Culture

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Frequently in the work place we are bombarded with the redundant safety protocols and procedures to ensure injury prevention. Safety Third is a concept that Mike Rowe of Discovery Channels, ‘Dirty Jobs’ came up with after filming several seasons in uniquely dangerous situations. The underlying idea behind it is to promote safety for yourself first, then others around you, and finally what the company would like you to be safe about. However, for good reasons, companies invest significant resources into reducing exposure to risks for their tenants, employees, and customers.

Frequently we look at these sometimes-ridiculous regulations and restrictions as inhibitors to what we really want to do. But what cannot be debated is the positive effect of health and safety legislation over time. Namely, since the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act passed in 1974 in the United Kingdom, there has been an 85% decline in the number of work place fatalities.

A firm’s brand success is defined by the service excellence and the provision of encouraging safe places to work, shop and live. Serious damage can be done to a firm’s name in the event of an unexpected incident. At Cushman & Wakefield, they promote a Health, Safety, Security, and Environment (HSSE) in their company culture. They conduct this in way that blends into every aspect of their working lives through partnerships with employees and security in the environment, based on continuous improvement.

To incorporate this philosophy effectively three components must be implemented: Leadership, systems, and culture. By endorsing strong leadership involvement in safety programs, this benefits employers and employees alike. If there is an area of concern an employee becomes aware of, they can give feedback to their line management to seek implementation of new safety procedure. Keith Knutsson of Integrale Advisors speaks on means of implementation claiming, “systems offer streamlined and integrated implementation of new safety protocols.” This open dialogue of HSSE allows for better management of risk and encourages innovation and improvement in services and products that would not otherwise come about.

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