If you’re like most hard-working inspectors, you get up every morning determined to make a positive difference. You’re on a mission to create a better workplace and ensure you and others make it home safely at the end of each day.
The journey to a safer work environment may look different across projects and companies. To help combat this inconsistency we are adopting a new Target Zero campaign as a key component of our safety strategy in 2021-2022. We are taking a closer look at Target Zero as a concept and argue why it’s more effective as a mindset than a measurement.
Target Zero: What Is It?
The goal of a Target Zero initiative is to create an incident and injury-free work environment. Arguably, all safety programs strive to achieve this in one way or another, but when Target Zero is taken too literally, it can become problematic.
3 Challenges with Target Zero
If Target Zero is embraced as a metric that your EHS team must achieve, you can run into the following issues which can be counterproductive to improving safety:
Creates a Culture of Fear – One of the most effective ways to improve safety is by building a positive safety culture, so the last thing you want to do is create a culture that breeds fear and makes your workforce uncomfortable. Target zero can inadvertently send the message to employees that mistakes aren’t tolerated which isn’t good for morale or for continuous improvement.
Fuels Underreporting – Reaching a zero injury target can be stressful. When too much pressure is put on employees to hit zero, underreporting of incidents and near misses tends to rise. Consequently, your employees may be painting a false picture of safety performance and workplace risk.
Promotes Complacency – Achieving zero is totally attainable – until the next incident happens. No workplace can ever be truly risk-free, and when zero recordable injuries are achieved, employees can fall into the trap of resting on their laurels and can be less motivated to continuously improve processes and safety outcomes.
Moving Target Zero from a Metric to a Mindset
To continuously improve safety performance at the organization, it’s time to re-think Target Zero as part of your safety mission. It’s imperative we strive to make our workplace safer and lower risk every day, but we need to be mindful of how we are positioning risk mitigation in our organization.
Each year Slip, Trip, and Fall injuries are our #1 category of injuries company-wide. Within the Applied family and those contractors/clients you work with each day, let us place extra focus on eliminating this hazard.
As inspection professionals, we should focus on setting and achieving accurate and realistic goals with contractors and clients – such as eliminating hazards, risks and incidents, let us move from chasing a data metric to changing our mindset about safe work.
The company has taken on the mission to gain greater visibility into pre-incident observations and near-miss incidents.
A New Near Miss & Observation utility has been developed to enable quick capture of observed & reported risk Observations and Near Miss incidents. This data enables the safety team to work with inspection employees in identifying KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and help eliminate future incidents on the job site.
The Target Zero risk mitigation campaign is an excellent opportunity to share this mindset during daily JSA meetings, discussions with clients, and safety team meetings. Situational Awareness and Risk mitigation are a Target to ZERO!