So it was fascinating to learn that at an American company, one of world’s largest chemical manufacturers, its chief executive officer also refers to themselves as its chief safety officer. Sadly that in itself won’t stop incidents happening; just recently four workers died following a toxic leak at a plant in Texas.
However, by naming themselves chief safety officer the CEO has sent a clear message that everyone in the organisation, from the board to the shop floor, has a vital role to play in keeping themselves, their colleagues and their customers safe and compliant.
That’s the same philosophy we’ve always embedded into the heart of our own SafetyNet safety auditing solution, currently used by commercial airlines the world over, not to mention by the Ministry of Defence here in the UK.
Our view is that when a single person or department has sole responsibility for safety then that aspect of an airline tends to be locked away in a silo and often leads to finger pointing when something does go awry.
SafetyNet provides a widely-accessible hub for the reporting of safety issues where all processes – from event and hazard investigations through to risk assessments and peer reviews – are handled.
Transparency is a crucial element to all this, and once something is entered into SafetyNet its progress can be tracked right the way through to its ultimate conclusion, which could be a recommendation for an issue to be addressed or a decision that no further action needs to be taken.
Whatever the outcome, SafetyNet builds confidence throughout airlines to help enhance their safety management systems, creating just safety cultures (where whistle-blowing isn’t a dirty word) from the inside, leaving no one in any doubt that operational safety is the utmost priority.