Our approach to Safety Leadership

To learn and establish exactly how we approach Safety Leadership and what it means for Colorminium, we sat down with Kay Jarvis (Human Resources & Compliance Director)

Safety Leadership is an expression often used in the industry. What does this actually mean for Colorminium?

Safety leadership is about taking the concept of safety from ‘boots’ to ‘boardroom’.  That it becomes so ingrained in our culture that we strive to take care of all of our people internally and externally affected by our actions or operations…one behaviour at a time!  Defined as the process of interaction between leaders and followers through which leaders can exert their influence on followers to achieve organisational safety goals. The feature of this definition that most often confuses people is the concept of leaders and followers.

It’s not only about having a safety culture.  It’s about embracing our values at Colorminium that create our culture and as such, place importance on the care and well-being of people.  Leaders can only create high functioning relationships through trust – what higher trust is there than protecting workers lives through the decision and actions leaders take?  Leaders don’t just sit on the board either – they are all over our business in varying forms and levels, creating the same trust levels from ordering PPE to producing RAMS or risk assessing our offices.  That for me is safety Leadership.

Tell us how you manage to successfully implement leadership in this field across all areas of the business?

Success is in the eye of the beholder.  We have come a long way but recognise we still have a way to go.  We want to lead with safety.  Embracing safety sets the foundation for getting everything else right in our industry – quality, commercial and customer relationships.  If we’ve done it safely, we will have harboured high functioning relationships with people by getting their trust in our safety leadership – this takes continual communication, education and demonstration.

Our culture essentially is what we are pushing to be the trigger for safety leadership to be achieved.  It’s lived through all of our values.  Firstly, we have not wanted to ‘chase numbers’ or statistics.  We have wanted to educate and create trust by understanding the exposed risks.  Through defining a structure of accountability, we have embraced safety being discussed as a standing item at all levels of the business.  We have invested into training both coaching and formally accredited courses – and not just targeted to those operationally facing.  To accept the language of safety being adopted within our culture this training has gone across all departments and all levels.

We have created a Safety Leadership Team that see’s a group of elected representatives come together to discuss initiatives, share behaviours and best practices.  We share the findings across various platforms and have seen process reforms and physical initiatives implemented as a result of this scheme.

We are rewarding and recognising safety behaviours but more importantly as at senior levels we are recognising and taking ownership for safety leadership culture. Therefore, any success we have had is as a result of the people that embraced the messaging and our culture, long may it continue.

Since you have started on this journey, are there any key examples of the way your drive for change in behaviours has made itself manifest?

For me, quite simply it’s discussed and referred to by our staff.  I could quote improvements to statistics or site operations, but for me personally it’s seeing committed employees willing to go above and beyond for their own and others safety.

When winning new business do you think our approach to Health and Safety is important?

Fundamentally key.  As above, we accept the responsibility for all people affected directly or indirectly by our business, physically and mentally.  Imbedded within our culture – we sell that; therefore we need to understand from the first stages what the risks to the promise of this delivery mean and cost.

Would you say that Colorminium is well positioned in its growth plans to continue this journey you’ve been describing?

Yes, we are.  The reason we are is because we live by, manage by and reward by our culture.  Our culture supports safety leadership, and therefore our journey will continue.  Our journey will change, and as external factors define enhance and affect the way we approach safety, Colorminium will continue to ensure that safety is not seen as a task, but as a point of trust within our culture.

You must be very passionate about well-being, where did this all start for you?

I am passionate about safety.  Safety directly affects people and our environment.  No matter the industry I believe that our greatest asset is our people.  If our people understand through our very culture that we strive to take care of them and others at every available level – we create the highest levels of trust and a higher functioning culture.   For me, how can we care about what we do if we don’t care about each other…and I am very fortunate that Colorminium embraces this.

I have sadly been involved with accidents and incidents of catastrophic proportions, those actions went onto to affects families, children wives and husbands of employees. Those experiences provoke a passion in me that will last.  Combined to the fact I genuinely care about our People at Colorminium.