Improving Safety and Loss Prevention with Systems Thinking

A critical factor to the success of any safety or loss prevention system is the effectiveness in which it is integrated into the organization, so it becomes “how” the organization performs. The language and discipline for seeing these interrelationships and connections are known as systems thinking.

In our experience, with both small and large organizations, employees, supervisors, and managers are smart, motivated, and well-intentioned; however, they are overwhelmed with the requirements and workload related to management systems and processes. In the case of safety and loss prevention, most people in organizations see these systems and programs as individual and unique activities that are not related to and, therefore, are not integrated into the business. The end result is people become frustrated because they don’t see the interrelatedness and value of these systems and programs, and ultimately develop a “compliance-based mentality” –– do what I need to do to satisfy my boss and company requirements. When any system or program is seen and managed separately from day-to-day operations, it loses its essential function. The failure to integrate safety and loss prevention systems with the organization’s other management systems and processes will lead to corporate inefficiencies and an increased inability to accomplish company goals (e.g., reduce safety incidents, improve operational excellence, cost reduction, etc.).

As Westerners, we have been taught from an early age to make complexity more manageable by breaking things down into individual parts and then try to understand and manage each part individually rather than collectively. This thinking has led leaders to unconsciously design organizations that inadvertently contribute to thinking in silos, not connections and interrelationships. To that end, the responsibility for safety and loss prevention systems traditionally lies with a Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental department. Furthermore, if these systems are used by other departments, they are generally an independent, unique activity (pre-shift meeting, group risk assessment prior to work, etc.) that are not integrated into daily operations.

Employees at all levels determine the success or failure of the organization’s safety and loss prevention performance. Therefore, it only makes sense to integrate these systems into daily operations, especially in high-risk tasks and tasks with an incident history (injuries, spills, reliability problems, product quality issues, etc.). Everyone has a role to play in setting the foundation for a safe, loss-free, and successful performance culture, but when all levels in the organization are not aligned and synergized in their safety and loss prevention approach, the men and women within the organization suffer the consequences of this dysfunction. On the other hand, when people at all levels are aligned, empowered, trained, and coached, using proven risk management and leadership practices, an organization can integrate safety and loss prevention systems to create the conditions for safe, loss-free, and successful task performance.

LPS™ (Loss Prevention System™) is a comprehensive management system with a 39+ year proven track record of working with hundreds of clients in more than 100 countries who are industry leaders in safety and loss prevention. LPSTM, an integrated process to maximize business performance, provides clients with a solution to integrate safety and loss prevention into their daily operations to more effectively lead and manage their high-risk work and prevent all types of losses within their business (e.g., personnel safety, process safety, reliability, product quality, regulatory compliance, financial, etc.).

For more information about LPSTM and how we can help make a difference within your organization, please contact us at info@lpscenter.net and visit us at www.lpscenter.net.

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