Leading organizations — especially those in the engineering, design, construction and management communities — strive to make safety a core value. At AECOM, we do this because part of our safety vision is reaching the ultimate goal of zero incidents in the workplace.

A driving factor in achieving this goal is enhancing the organization’s culture, and focusing on the safety values that live in its people. As my colleague Shelley Brown, safety, health and environment (SH&E) manager, recently wrote, “safety, by its very nature, is emotional.” Our “Culture of Caring,” where employees hold themselves accountable for the safety of their colleagues by gently pointing out risks to prevent injuries, shows our people how to conduct themselves as AECOM employees.

As fundamental as a safety culture is for improving an organization’s safety, health and environment outcomes, we cannot take it for granted once its roots have taken hold. It is essential that an organization continually evolve and enhance its safety culture by focusing on ways to help people better connect to it. For most organizations, this comes down to driving leadership involvement and employee engagement.

We work to gain additional leadership involvement by setting higher targets for senior management observations. This is the kind of behavior we look to inspire in all AECOM employees. To increase employee engagement, we made it easier for all of our people to report incidents and observations. Through safety management software such as IndustrySafe and LifeGuard, our employee population has access to project-specific tools to report near misses and safety observations. Through March 2016, there have been more than 35,000 observations made by employees.

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But what if your workplace is a public space? This is an additional responsibility AECOM and others in our industry face. We deliver projects all over the world — from Istanbul’s new airport, to the Crossrail 2 project in London, U.K., and the Panama Canal Expansion — and must consider the safety of the end user from the design stage to construction. Every day, AECOM is also safeguarding the public from exposure to hazards that could disrupt their daily lives and prevent injuries.

As highlighted in our recently released 2015 safety report, we have exceeded our safety performance goal — coming in at 7.5 percent under our targeted corporate recordable incident rate. Similarly, our corporate lost workday case rate has reduced by 11 percent*. This number represents a significant decrease in both the number and severity of serious injuries globally.

All workers have the right to do their jobs in safe workplaces and come home to their loved ones every night. An organization that embraces a safety culture and energizes its people to embody its values through their individual actions is one that is best positioned to help ensure this happens.

Safety Tip: When you’re working on a project, think about how an incident could affect your quality of life and your family members at home. Allow that mindset to determine your attentiveness to the safety of you and your colleagues.

*To account for AECOM’s integration with legacy URS, this percentage is the average improvement from 2010 to 2015. 2010 to 2014 data reflects legacy AECOM operations; 2015 data reflects the combined company’s operations.

Andy Peters

Originally published Apr 29, 2016

Author: Andy Peters