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Introduction and Background

How to Use this Guide

Guide Structure
Roles in Safety Coaching
A Day in the Life of a Supervisor
A Day in the life of a Coach
Diagnosis and Analysis

Introduction and Background
The Safety Coaching programme arose from joint industry collaboration aimed at giving impetus to the
continuing objective of achieving a workplace without harm. Over the years, improved equipment and
processes have led to considerably improved safety performance, but the improvement trend has
slowed, to the point that year on year performance has become somewhat patchy and variable.
It has long been recognised that the availability of effective work processes and the provision of proper
equipment are not enough in themselves. The attitudes and behaviours of people and particularly their
appreciation and tolerance of risk, also has a major impact on safety performance. The principal focus
of this document is behavioural safety. Safety Coaching is designed to assist safety leaders to create
an environment in which safe behaviours are promoted and unsafe acts challenged.
This is achieved through:-
Increased understanding of Safety Leadership and the expectations of Safety Leaders
Skill development and practice
Individual action planning to develop competence
The programme is based on three major elements, namely:
That safety leaders display the sense of purpose to translate good intentions into the actions
required to achieve a workplace without harm;
That safety leaders gain the foresight to enhance their judgement and guide their staff/colleagues
to deliver of their best.
That senior safety leaders provide an effective Safety Management System (SMS). That is a safe
place of work and the ability to work safely within it.
These elements are supported by materials to promote better appreciation and understanding of the
skills and techniques required to achieve the above. Those skills and techniques are explored through
dialogue and debate (i.e. in a workshop style) and practiced in a working facility.
The programme is designed to assist:
Those who have line responsibility for others, from the highest levels of management to front
line supervisors.
Supervisors and others (e.g. site safety representatives) who may not have others reporting to them,
but who have influence over others through their jobs.
Peer group leaders. It is recognised that people are strongly influenced through peer pressure and
that leadership and influence is not solely the domain of supervisors and managers. The challenge
for supervisors is to influence peer group leaders to act in the best interest of their colleagues.
The relationship between senior and junior leaders is embodied in the following diagram.
The key messages here are:
1. That the most senior leaders set the direction of their company and define the safety culture
within which they and others operate. Front line supervisors, through their proximity to the
worksite, have a much greater impact upon day to day performance.
2. For front line supervisors to consistently deliver on the safety leadership expectations and fulfil on
the Safety Management System, they must have confidence that the decisions they take in the
interest of safety will be supported by management to the highest level
The challenge for participants in the programme is to use their enhanced skills and renewed sense of
purpose effectively at their place of work.
The programme starts with a two day, classroom based workshop, where individuals develop their safety
leadership competencies and commit to actions that will realise beneficial change. Thereafter, site
based Safety Coaching takes the programme to the reality, and challenges, of the workplace. Here,
coaching support is given to translate the enhanced competencies into actions that are effective and
which the individual feels confident and comfortable to use.
Safety Coaching has three features that will contribute to its
1. It is site based; dealing with specific rather than generic issues.
2. It uses coaching; supporting others to deliver of their best.
3. It looks not only at the safety expectations placed upon individuals but also at the environment
in which those expectations need to be delivered on.
The approach is centred on three elements:
1. A day in the life of a supervisor, this enables us to ground the coaching in the day to day activities
of a supervisor, mapping the elements of safety to the activities.
2. A day in the life of a coach, enabling us to be specific about what a coach actually does on site.
3. A Diagnosis and Analysis section to identify system strengths and weaknesses.
Front Line Supervisor
Safety Leadership
Numbers of People
Proximity to
the worksite
Impact on
safety culture
Impact on
safety performance
The Safety Coaching programme focuses largely on safety leadership behaviour, the impact this has on
the effectiveness of the Safety Management System and particularly how it is influenced and applied at
the worksite. The evolution of safety performance is depicted in the following diagram.
Embodied in the requirement for leaders to provide a safe place of work and the ability to work safely
within it, are the three elements of the diagram. All three are interlinked. Though we strive to achieve a
workplace without harm, we recognise that we cannot achieve a workplace without risk. The challenge
then becomes to maintain risk under control. That is the purpose of the Safety Management System.
Technological advances in design and build of facilities and equipment, reduces risk and eases the
application of the Safety Management System. The values, attitude and behaviour (culture) of people
will determine its effectiveness in achieving a workplace without harm.
Intervening with a broad range of site staff during coaching sessions helps build a picture of the strengths
and weaknesses of the Safety Management System and the attitude and capabilities of the individuals
involved. This picture can be strengthened by verifying whether the physical condition of facilities and
equipment confirms inferences drawn from verbal communication. In this respect, some elements of
coaching resemble the audit process, but the distinction between the two needs clarifying.
As mentioned earlier, coaches support others to deliver their best. To gain the insights that help this
process requires a high level of openness and trust between the coach and the person being coached.
Audit is a process generally aimed at the identification of system weaknesses and actions to rectify them.
This is often seen as a threat and can inhibit openness and trust.
When agreeing the coaching contract between the coach and the client, the foregoing needs to be born
in mind (see section 4 Appendix 1 Preparation for Coaching Visits).
Evolution of Safety Performance

and standards
No incidents
- a workplace
without harm
How to use this Guide
This coaching guide incorporates both the thinking behind the various elements of the Safety Coaching
programme and the detail of its delivery. Though developed as a guide for coaches, it contains ideas
and recommended practices that will also be useful for leaders at all levels.
The guide is split into four sections:
1. Guide Structure
Classroom based Advanced Safety Leadership workshops are structured around the clients
Safety Management System and a set of generic expectations common to all safety leaders.
The many people who participated in such workshops, prior to the publication of this guide,
will be familiar with this structure. It is retained through the guide, with the exception of the
Diagnosis and Analysis section. This is structured in line with the Step Change in Safety
forums Personal Responsibility for Safety (PRfS) format.
2. Roles in Safety Coaching
A Day in the Life of a Supervisor
This describes, in a generic fashion, a supervisors daily schedule and the opportunities for
improving safety performance, through maintaining effective control over activities.
A Day in the Life of a Coach
A description of what a coach might do on a typical day and how that might relate to what
the supervisor is doing.
3. Diagnosis and Analysis
Provides guidance on what constitutes good practice and poor practice. Data gained from:
communicating with staff; evaluating work processes; and assessing the integrity of the asset,
can be used to identify strengths and weaknesses in the systems which govern
working activities.
4. Appendices
Provides the detail for the preparation of coaching visits; coaching contracts; and follow
up requirements
1. Guide Structure
Safety Coaching has been designed to support leaders to fulfil the list of Safety Leadership Expectations
developed for the programme and to meet the requirements of the governing Safety Management
System. The 12 safety leadership expectations are common to all the parties involved in the
programmes development and are expressed as follows:
Safety Leadership Expectations
Set the Standard
Show exemplary personal safety behaviour
Set clear safety expectations
Possess a good knowledge of safety
Consistently raise safety standards
Recognise and act on poor safety conditions
Regularly observe, assess and intervene in the workplace
Communicate Effectively
Understand your people and demonstrate a real concern for their well-being
Commend good safety performance
Give and receive constructive feedback
Be able to hold a difficult conversation
Go beyond your own team
Demonstrate an enthusiasm for safety
The wording of safety management systems (SMS) varies from company to company, though the
elements within them are more or less generic. A typical SMS will contain the following elements:
Generic Safety Management System
Leadership and Direction
Asset Integrity (through design, construction, commissioning, inspection, maintenance &
change control)
Responsibilities and Authority to Act (scope, understanding and commitment)
Motivation & Sense of Purpose
Objectives and Resources
Risk Awareness and Control
Standards (policies, rules, codes of practice, procedures etc.)
This guide is based upon the principles and practices needed to fulfil the Safety Leadership Expectations
and effectively apply the requirements of the governing Safety Management System. They are fully
supportive of the Personal Responsibility for Safety (PRfS) structure described as follows:
Personal Responsibility for Safety
1. Clear Expectations
2. Effective Communication
3. Personal Leadership
4. Personal Risk Awareness
5. Planning
6. The Right and Duty to Intervene
7. Accountability
8. Self Evaluation
9. Develop, Encourage and Sustain Safe Behaviours.
Each element of PRfS is sub divided into Personal and System requirements. Evaluating the
effectiveness of individual elements is made through analysing the data gathered whilst:
Communicating with a broad range of people;
Observing them at work;
Assessing the physical condition of tools, facilities and equipment at the worksite.
2. Roles in Safety Coaching
A Day in the Life of a Supervisor
Every day will be different for a supervisor and supervisors at different levels will be concerned with
different things. When coaching we take the supervisor above the normal day to day activity. We want
to ensure that the coaching is relevant to their reality, but perhaps seeing it from a perspective that
enables them to improve their own effectiveness and that of their teams.
Supervisors rely on the success of their teams for their own success. They are part of the team but
should not lose their overview through getting hands-on with respect to tasks. Good supervisors
support and encourage individuals within their teams to grow and take on more responsibility. They also
verify that the hazards associated with work activities are identified, assessed and maintained under
control. A method of achieving this is set out as follows.
Hazard Control / Risk Management
To verify that crews and work groups are competent and well motivated to conduct the activities of the
shift, the supervisor lays out the required tasks and then asks the team:
1. How they propose to conduct the tasks.
2. What are the risks/hazards involved?
3. What are the potential consequences if things go wrong?
4. How they will maintain control?
The supervisors objective is to find out what the team know so that he/she can:
1. Close any gaps in knowledge and/or skills through coaching or providing additional support
2. Eliminate any confusion about objectives or the way they will be achieved
3. Capitalise on new ideas coming from the team
4. Identify and eliminate any complacency to maintain focus on hazard control
5. Verify that the teams attitude is right
6. Set his/her expectations for how the work will be accomplished and how change will
be managed
7. Adapt his/her leadership style to meet the needs of the team and individuals within it
There are many opportunities through the day for supervisors to influence operational safety and the
following list is not exhaustive:
Morning Operations / Planning Meeting
This is when the planned activities of the day are discussed and agreed. Individual supervisors should
verify that they understand what is expected of themselves and their teams and they are properly
resourced to deliver. If other teams are given priority for shared resources, the supervisor should make
clear the impact this will have on their ability to deliver and gain acceptance for the consequences. The
supervisor should clarify any interface issues that planned activities might create and agree how and
when consultation will take place to ensure overall control is maintained.
Planning Meeting with Subordinate Supervisors
The main objectives are:
to disseminate information and requirements coming from the Morning Operations Meeting;
to set expectations for the shift;
to gain feedback and modify work plans;
to set the team up for success.
Pre-tour Meetings
These will preferably be carried out in the manner described under Hazard Control / Risk Management,
using the open questions to encourage dialogue and to share understanding. Of particular importance
here is to use the style of leadership most appropriate to the nature of the activity and to the needs of
the team.
Toolbox Talks / Task Risk Assessments/Job Safety Analysis
These are also carried out in the manner described under Hazard Control / Risk Management. Take
advantage of any specialist knowledge available and ensure all involved personal participate.
Verify that expectations are being met, that activities are being carried out as agreed and they are being
maintained under control. Hold one to one discussions with individuals to gain understanding of their
attitude and ability to deliver. Support people in need and commend those doing a good job. Pay
particular attention to external service providers and make them part of the team they can become
isolated. Supervisors need to capitalise on the skills service hands bring and neutralise any threats.
Reviewing Permits
Verify that defined controls are adequate for the task and that people performing the task are competent
and properly resourced. Verify actions to be taken in the event permit conditions are broken or
circumstances render the permit requirements inadequate.
The coach should observe the supervisor during all of the above meetings and activities. One to one
feedback should be focused on how the supervisor can optimise his/her input to gain assurance that
control will be maintained.
A Day in the Life of a Coach
Coaching is about helping people to gain greater competence and overcome barriers to improving
performance. Coaching concentrates on supporting professional development by challenging,
encouraging and motivating individuals towards achieving their goals. The coach acts as an objective
Supervisors give leadership and support to their teams. In fact, many of the activities a supervisor does
could accurately be called coaching. Ultimately, for any change process to be successful, it has to be
driven by supervisors and other leaders.
Coaching from an objective outsider can provide valuable support and has the added advantage that
the person being coached can be open and honest about topics they might find difficult to discuss with
their supervisor. An open relationship gives access to insights that can lead to improvements in both
behaviour and judgement.
There is a checklist (Appendix 1) to help ensure that the coach arrives on-site well prepared and that the
site is prepared for them. This includes understanding the current activity, the site safety record and the
systems of safety in use, as well as setting up a schedule of interviews and agreeing the coaching
There are two key aspects of coaching, namely:
The personal conduct of the coach
What they do during coaching sessions
The Personal Conduct of the Coach
Coaches are always at work. They need to consistently demonstrate the behaviours they are coaching
others to develop. They particularly need to be open to feedback on their own behaviour. They may not
be familiar with the installation they are visiting and may make mistakes. They must be constantly mindful
that they achieve change through influence and not through authority.
What coaches do
Two essential leadership attributes that the coach will address are:
The need for a clear Sense of Purpose. This clarifies both objectives and the route by which they
will be achieved. Without such clarity we cannot set our expectations of others in a manner that
provides the motivational stimulus for them to succeed.
The ability and the will to communicate effectively. In particular, this requires the ability to ask relevant
open questions and to listen to responses. We learn through listening and observing. Knowledge
gained helps us to use our judgement to best effect.
Key skills the coach will be working on with leaders are:
1. Setting clear safety expectations
2. Leading in the manner most appropriate to the situation and the needs of their staff
3. Conducting effective interventions
4. Making the most of the Safety Management System
1. Setting clear safety expectations
Leaders cant reasonably hold people to account, unless they have explained their expectations to them.
This is a face to face process which should:
Set people up for success
Verify understanding and the ability and commitment to deliver
Verify delivery if expectations are not being met, find out why
Support those who dont know, but are keen to learn how to deliver
Discipline those who, despite support, are not prepared to deliver dont tolerate those who are a
danger to themselves and others
In this case, support means to coach, train and assist Success is ultimately delivered by the team.
Individual talent is valuable, but success is most effectively achieved through a well functioning team
where individuals strengths and weaknesses are complementary, i.e. all the bases are covered.
2. Using the style of leadership appropriate to the situation and the
needs of their staff
To get the best out of people, leaders need to use the style which is best suited to their peoples needs.
Using the wrong style can leave people who are not up to the task exposed and competent people
feeling undervalued and even resentful. Kenneth Blanchards Model of Situational Leadership can help
leaders to choose the right style at the right time. It is distinctly advantageous for those being coached
to have participated in a Safety Leadership workshop where they have practised the different styles and
gained an understanding of their own preferred style. Coaches need to be sufficiently knowledgeable of
the model to enable them to transfer its insights to others.
The model is shown below.
Leadership - The right style at the right time
Supportive, facilitative
Frameworks & examples
Share responsibility
Ask team to problem solve
and action plan
Listen and encourage
Praise and reassure
Giving freedom, trusting
Support & Monitoring
Team take lead in goal
setting, action planning &
decision making
Encourage self evaluation
Guidance and direction
Explanation & encouragement
Involve team in problem
solving & goal setting
Listen for concerns/ideas
Make final decisions
Explain why........
Share knowledge & expertise
Strongly directive
What, where, when & how
Define job, identify goals
Lead action planning
Provide instruction
The teams level of -
competence / experience
motivation and commitment
3. Conducting effective interventions
Leaders need to give themselves the opportunity to make a difference. This requires they get out and
about to observe work being undertaken and to talk to people about how it is being conducted. This
will give the leader the opportunity to:
Identify any safety issues
Assess potential consequences and plan their intervention approach what is the desired
outcome? How best to achieve it?
Control the situation through making it safe
Review any issues with the person involved in a clear and respectful manner using the standard risk
assessment questions:
What can go wrong? How could you get hurt?
What are the potential consequences? What kind of injury could result?
How can control be maintained? What can you do to prevent it?
Gain commitment to the remedial action.
Verify that the commitment has been honoured.
The above methodology is effective across a broad range of safety situations from tool box talks and
task risk assessments, to gaining insight into the competence and attitude of staff. Helping leaders gain
proficiency in the technique is a key objective of the coach
Commending good safety performance is as important a skill as correcting poor performance. It is how
we capitalise on peoples strengths. It needs to be sincere and specific and must avoid being perceived
as condescending.
Hints and tips for safety interventions:
The objective of a safety intervention is to have a conversation where the person being intervened
with agrees to a beneficial change in behaviour through recognising that it is the right thing to do
Keep the agenda simple; prioritise if there are many issues
Be open about your concern for the person, not just a concern for the application of rules
Keep ownership of the problem and the solution with the other person through use of open
Help the other person to recognise and accept responsibility for the potential consequences of their
behaviour this will lead to more sustained change
Provide support to eliminate any error enforcing conditions that the other person has to cope with
Intervene pro-actively in non-confrontational situations (e.g. in tool box talks and risk assessments)
to prevent unsafe acts from occurring.
Use the same technique to: identify gaps in the knowledge of others; improve your own safety
knowledge and identify and address complacency;
4. Making the most of the Safety Management System
Safety Management Systems are generic in their scope, though expressed in words which reflect the
culture of the governing organisation. The representation below depicts that of an Operator. The words
could be changed to reflect the SMS of any organisation, or those used in the generic SMS described
in the section Guide Structure. The wheel like representation has been chosen to highlight the fact that
individual elements are part of an interdependent whole. Without leadership and commitment, the wheel
collapses, but it is weakened if even a single element is deficient.
Safety leaders who:
set their expectations and verify they are being met;
confirm the competence and attitudes of those conducting work at their site;
continuously assess the effectiveness of the safety management system.
Gain the information, knowledge and understanding that lead to foresight
Accidents are inevitable unless we maintain the risk associated with activities under control
Foresight is the means by which we pre-empt loss of control by identifying and eliminating its potential
3. Diagnosis and Analysis
Safety Coaching describes a set of expectations for Safety Leaders that will create an environment in
which unsafe acts are challenged and safe behaviours promoted a workplace without harm. These
expectations are equally relevant to everyone working in a safety-critical environment as they are to
Safety Leaders who have attended the Safety Coaching programme.
Most companies in our business will have a Safety Management System (SMS) which defines the
elements under which they achieve a safe place of work and the ability to work safely within it. To be
effective, the system needs to function as a whole and cover all of the bases all of the time this is a
really tough requirement, and one which differentiates safety from other types of business risk.
In many aspects of our business we invest based upon the probability of success and put controls in
place to minimise negative consequences. Our decisions are not governed by the fear of failure; in fact
we can tolerate occasional failure. With safety, particularly when we are addressing attitudes and
behaviours, we want people to focus on the consequences of things going wrong and take action to
maintain control. We cannot tolerate failure that results in people being seriously harmed or even killed.
Conversations with staff, together with observations of activities and assessments of physical conditions,
will yield information that, when subjected to diagnosis and analysis can identify strengths and
weaknesses in people, systems and hardware.
As explained in the section under Guide Structure, as an alternative to using the SMS as the basis for
diagnosis and analysis, we have developed our approach around the nine elements of Personal
Responsibility for Safety (PRfS) as this is an industry-wide initiative, it will be familiar to many of the
people being coached.
In the following pages you will find tools for assessing each of the nine PRfS elements from two
perspectives (personal and system), i.e. descriptions of what good and bad look like, and questions
you can ask to explore how well the personal and system aspects of each element are functioning:
1. Clear Expectations
2. Effective Communication
3. Personal Leadership
4. Planning
5. The Right and Duty to Intervene
6. Accountability
7. Self Evaluation
8. Develop, Encourage and Sustain Safe Behaviours
When this is going well we would expect to see:
Safety being made as important as any other personal priority
That working safely is integral to performing work
Company supported programmes such as STOP (Safety Training Observation Programme, TOFS
(Time Out For Safety) etc being used as intended.
Leaders setting their people up for success
Leaders verifying people understand their responsibilities and are competent to deliver
Leaders verifying people fulfil their responsibilities and establishing reasons for non compliance
Leaders supporting those who are keen to deliver but need help
Leaders disciplining those who are not prepared to deliver. Those who are a danger to themselves
and others and who are not prepared to change should not be tolerated
Interfaces with other teams clearly understood
When this is not going well we might expect to see some of the following:
A gap in understanding between the intent of leaders and the perceptions of their people
Variable safety performance
Difficulty in responding appropriately to poor safety behaviour
Complaints about fairness and inconsistency of application of rules
Persistent excuses that I didnt know
Poor team dynamics because of a fear of voicing different opinions
Leaders not being prepared to delegate
Closing the gap
The following questions will help provide further insight into what is going on:
What are the safety expectations on this site?
How do you know what they are?
Are the rules applied consistently and fairly on this site?
How does your supervisor ensure that you have the ability and commitment to meet his / her
safety expectations?
1. Clear Expectations
When this is going well we would expect to see:
An induction process which provides clear expectations for all employees and contractors
People at all levels of the organisation intervening to improve safety performance
An audit process which exposes weaknesses rather than trying to hide them
Standards and procedures are clear and easy to read, accessible to users and specific to the job
Standards and procedures are embraceable people are able to maintain an understanding of how
the system is working
That all aspects of the Safety Management System are effective, i.e. staff are provided with a safe
place of work and are working safely within it.
The objective remains a workplace without harm even when safety performance falters
That incentives drive the right behaviours rather than rewarding statistical performance
An improvement plan with measurable targets
When this is not going well we might expect to see some of the following:
Standards and procedures are discredited and seen as obstacles to getting the job done. Custom
and practice takes over
Users dont feel ownership
People bypass systems and procedures when under pressure
Standards are not enforced
Systems are so complicated that maintaining a proper overview is not possible
There is an over emphasis on statistical performance
Attainment of statistical goals is rewarded rather than the behaviours that underpin them
Missing a target has a bad effect upon morale (this often results in a spate of accidents)
Closing the gap
The following questions will help provide further insight into what is going on:
Do procedures help or hinder you?
Are you consulted about changes to standards and procedures that affect your work?
What safety interventions have you made recently and how did they go?
How are you motivated to achieve your safety goals and objectives?
What is the process for reporting incidents? How do you know whether an incident needs to be
reported or not?
How effective is the process to manage deviations from standards?
How are deviations which affect you and your job dealt with?
1. Clear Expectations
When this is going well we would expect to see:
Team strengths and weaknesses being identified and gaps closed
Recognition of what people need and what motivates them
Constructive interventions build people up, dont knock them down!
Issues of concern to people being listened to and followed up on
People being given the opportunity to display their knowledge and feel good about it
Face-to-face communication being used whenever possible
The correct time, place and media to get messages across
People treating one another with respect
People committing to agreed changes and demonstrating compliance
Time and energy spent finding ways to keep the safety message fresh
A good two way flow of information good leadership decisions are informed decisions
People show respect and develop relationships which give two way access to information and
When this is not going well we might expect to see some of the following:
People struggling with tasks they dont properly understand
Leaders/supervisors seen as task masters
Unbalanced teams / skills gaps
People do not feel their views are listened to and respected
Resentment that people only get feedback on their mistakes rather than things they do well
A lack of openness between staff and supervisors
People feeling that their work is only a job
Unwelcome behaviours, e.g. aggression, resentment, confrontation, unresponsiveness
Inability of supervisors to influence those not under their authority
Closing the gap
The following questions will help provide further insight into what is going on:
What differences are there in the ways that employees and contractors are treated here?
How is good work recognised and rewarded?
What makes some conversations difficult? What things would help you to conduct them?
What are the biggest challenges in holding difficult conversations? Do these occur differently here
compared to other sites?
How does your supervisor become aware when there is a problem?
What mechanisms are in place for you to give feedback or advice to your supervisor?
What techniques are used to ensure that safety meetings hold peoples attention and are a valuable
use of time?
2. Effective Communication
When this is going well we would expect to see:
Safety communications written in clear and concise language, avoiding jargon and abbreviations
Positive and negative consequences associated with compliance with the safety rules and
guidelines being communicated
Decision-making based on hard data
Employee and contractor input requested, captured and considered when changes are made
Timely and effective feedback provided on positive and negative issues raised
A published schedule for regular site visits by line and senior management to communicate with
When this is not going well we might expect to see some of the following:
Supervisors and others not prepared to listen
People do not feel their views are taken seriously or respected
Understanding is assumed not verified
Supervisors are stuck in their preferred leadership style rather than using the right style to best suit
the team and fit the circumstances (Telling, Selling, Delegating, Participating)
Closing the gap
The following questions will help provide further insight into what is going on:
What systems and processes exist for you to provide feedback to your supervisor?
What leadership styles do you notice at your site, and how do these compare?
If you are given instructions you dont understand, how do you get clarity about what your supervisor
requires of you?
2. Effective Communication
When this is going well we would expect to see:
Leaders taking responsibility for performance and giving their peole the time and support to maintain
their work under effective control
A visible commitment to safety and the care of others
Supervisors leading by example inside and outside work
Leaders demonstrating that they care about their own safety and that of others, and wont tolerate
unsafe behaviour
Promises delivered
When this is not going well we might expect to see some of the following:
Leaders saying one thing and doing another
One set of rules for them and another set for us
Safe behaviour having to be remembered rather than being instinctive
Exhibiting inappropriate behaviour when under pressure
Leaders blaming their staff for poor performance
Closing the gap
The following questions will help provide further insight into what is going on:
Why is safety important to you and what do you do to achieve your safety objectives?
How does your attitude to safety show up at home?
What is your safety reputation on this site?
What was the last difficult decision you made around safety?
3. Personal Leadership
When this is going well we would expect to see:
Adequate funding and resources to support safety initiatives
Training that supports the development of appropriate safety leadership and behavioural skills
Recognition of outstanding safety performance
A mechanism to ensure openness and integrity of reporting without fear of repercussion
Incorporation of key safety leadership behaviours in the companys appraisal programme
Provision of mentoring where needed
When this is not going well we might expect to see some of the following:
Lip service paid to safety
Safety systems are bureaucratic and ineffective
The safety issues that really matter are not discussed
Closing the gap
The following questions will help provide further insight into what is going on:
How variable is the quality of safety leadership?
Are any aspects of safety leadership consistently good or poor?
What specific examples from the recent past could you give that demonstrate good or
poor leadership?
What are your personal safety objectives?
3. Personal Leadership
When this is going well we would expect to see:
Discussions about risks of the job, with leaders encouraging their teams to question anything they
dont understand
Everyone on site having an understanding of the issues, risks and opportunities
The consequences of losing control of risk are identified and actions are taken to avoid this
from happening
People seek knowledge from those with expertise, both inside and outside the team
People get involved in practical worksite inspections and always stay aware of their surroundings
Continual assessment of the potential consequences of changes to the operation
Everyone on site takes time to familiarise themselves with the safety aspects of their work
Work is stopped if people believe control is threatened, and is not resumed until control has
been assured
When this is not going well we might expect to see some of the following:
People walk past unsafe acts and conditions
People believing safety requirements have taken the fun out of work
Leaders being by-passed or undermined in decision making
Leaders too focussed on admin work rather than getting out and about
Individuals not recognising the potential impact of their work upon others
Peoples actions being determined by the probability of a hazard being released rather than
the consequences
Closing the gap
The following questions will help provide further insight into what is going on:
Who are the experts on this site (in specific areas)?
What are the major risks here and how are they being managed?
Ask a question about a risk exposed during a coaching session and judge the openness /
defensiveness of the response.
4. Personal Awareness
When this is going well we would expect to see:
Appropriate risk assessment and observation skills training provided to all employees
and contractors
Hazards associated with the work environments are captured and communicated
An effective hierarchy of risk control (e.g. eliminate mitigate procedures) is in place with the level
of control based upon the consequences of losing it.
Knowledge and understanding of procedures verified, and compliance monitored / enforced
Awareness and ownership of risk at every level of the organisation
Experienced personnel assigned to inexperienced, new or transferred personnel to share their
knowledge and experience of job / site specific risks
An effective system of safety alerts is in place (lateral learning is disseminated at the most
appropriate time)
Procedures referencing the risks they are designed to protect people from
When this is not going well we might expect to see some of the following:
The level of controls do not reflect the consequences of each risk
People affected by hazards are not involved in their identification, assessment and control
High level hazards are being managed by site staff rather than being eliminated through proper
planning and design
Risk / hazard information is not disseminated
Complacency / a false sense of security
The effects of change have not been properly evaluated
Deviations from standards are not properly risk assessed or the risk assessment is conducted to
justify the deviation rather than to verify that control will be maintained
High levels of deviation from standards and procedures
Closing the gap
The following questions will help provide further insight into what is going on:
What are the risks associated with your work?
What part do you play in identifying, assessing and controlling them?
What are the potential consequences of you making a mistake?
What controls are in place to ensure that the equipment you use remains fit for purpose?
4. Personal Awareness
When this is going well we would expect to see:
Plans created with input from all involved
Those carrying out work to fulfil plans have the time and resources to do the job safely
People feel able to request help when needed
People asking questions if they do not fully understand the plans they are working to
Work completed under permit where required
People suggesting improvements get feedback on whether these will be incorporated in
future plans
When this is not going well we might expect to see some of the following:
Short term fixes becoming permanent changes
Changes are imposed without consultation with those affected
People feel disenfranchised they have little control over how things are done
Plans lack credibility
People take shortcuts to maintain the work schedule.
Recurring failures in the plan, e.g. frequent delays to non-essential work
Lack of coordination of concurrent activities
Closing the gap
The following questions will help provide further insight into what is going on:
How are plans for your site developed, reviewed and monitored?
What are the most common failures in the planning process?
How do you provide input to plans?
How much flexibility exists in plans to accommodate unexpected events?
When this is going well we would expect to see:
Plans that clearly support the sites safety objectives
Well integrated teams that accept newcomers easily
Participation in the planning process of personnel involved in the task
Service personnel who are familiar with the site
Clear and easily accessible work instructions which outline individual responsibilities
The right people with the right skills knowledge and tools at the right time
Little delay caused by lack of preparedness
A documented , effective change management process
Documented learning incorporated in revisions to plans
The workplace, the equipment within it, and the tools used to accomplish work are designed, built
and maintained in a manner that assures asset integrity
Pace of work is commensurate with limitations of hardware and the competence of people.
Risks controlled through effective planning rather than having to react when things have already
gone wrong
When this is not going well we might expect to see some of the following:
Problems and delays due to newcomers taking longer to complete work
Slower pace of work to accommodate learning on the job (this may also be a positive!)
Lack of familiarity with site and processes
Installation and equipment working at the margin of their capability
High level of downtime
Lots of temporary fixes in place
Maintenance staff overstretched
Closing the gap
The following questions will help provide further insight into what is going on:
Are work plans achievable given the resources available?
How are work plans created, reviewed and discussed?
Is work discussed before the shift and before particular activities start?
What processes exist to ensure that newcomers to the site can function effectively?
Do you understand what is expected of you?
When this is going well we would expect to see:
Leaders visiting the workplace and engaging with people at their place of work
Curiosity people asking open questions to improve their knowledge and find out how things
really are
Leaders coaching subordinates to improve their intervention skills
People at all levels of seniority coaching those around them
Openness to interventions from other people
Open dialogue about safety conditions and their controls
Good awareness of the risks, hazards and potential consequences associated with tasks
People having the confidence to stop any job they believe cannot be completed safely
Leaders with credibility, respect and the ability to coach others and the confidence to
challenge people
People using their influencing skills to achieve change where they dont have authority
When this is not going well we might expect to see some of the following:
Dismissive response to interventions
Poor intervention technique
Relationships suffering
Interventions being seen as criticism
Leaders lack influence work gets done differently when they are not around
People walk past unsafe acts and conditions
Closing the gap
The following questions will help provide further insight into what is going on:
Are safety issues addressed or avoided?
How easy do you find it to intervene?
Is there a recognised way of making safety interventions at your site?
When was the last time you made a suggestion for improvement not a STOP card and
what happened?
How do people respond when you intervene? Does this vary depending upon seniority?
How does it feel when others intervene with you?
Who makes the greatest number of safety interventions at your site?
What contribution do you make to keep yourself and others safe?
If you believe procedures are inadequate how do you work to change them?
6. The Right and Duty to Intervene
When this is going well we would expect to see:
Company policy supports the right and duty of any person to intervene in the interests of safety
An observation and intervention programme which requires and facilitates workforce feedback
Actions taken in response to employee and contractor observations
Recognition for proactive intervention
When this is not going well we might expect to see some of the following:
Cynicism people believing that raising concerns is a waste of time and changes nothing
Shore based managers make few offshore visits and only engage with offshore leaders when they
are there
Leaders only use large scale meetings to address issues rather than engaging people in small
groups or as individuals
Offshore supervisors become desk bound and start to lose touch
Closing the gap
The following questions will help provide further insight into what is going on:
Are interventions welcomed at this site?
Have you had help to improve your intervention skills?
What observation and intervention programme is in place and how is it working?
Are you able to influence how work is conducted outside your team?
6. The Right and Duty to Intervene
When this is going well we would expect to see:
People understanding what they are being held accountable for
Conversations that clarify individuals responsibilities and ensure they are understood and accepted
People have the necessary competence to fulfil their responsibilities or are being supported to gain
the right skills and knowledge
People take responsibility when the going is tough or things go wrong
People take time to think about positive and negative consequences of their actions and their
colleagues actions
Unsafe conditions are acted upon, demonstrating commitment to the safety and well being
of others
Promises delivered
When this is not going well we might expect to see some of the following:
Confusion about who will be held accountable for what
Lots of excuses when things go wrong
Deviations from standards proliferating, so that maintaining an overview of their potential impact is
difficult if not impossible
A decline in improvement ideas
A silo mentality Ill just take care of my own business
People keeping their heads down and losing themselves in the crowd
Closing the gap
The following questions will help provide further insight into what is going on:
What happens on this site when people fail to fulfil their responsibilities?
What are you held accountable for delivering?
Is competence an issue on this site?
What help and support do you get to improve your personal competence?
7. Accountability
When this is going well we would expect to see:
Clear and concise safety rules and guidelines
Leaders lead by example and encouragement they create the conditions whereby others
self motivate
Expectations are properly defined, understood and accepted, and responsibility is delegated to
competent people
Fair and consistent responses to unacceptable safety behaviour
When this is not going well we might expect to see some of the following:
People are not demonstrating drive and enthusiasm
A lack of pride in performance is evident
People feel controlled rather than empowered to perform
Leaders abdicate responsibility
Expectations are conveyed through job descriptions rather than from face to face discussions
People are left to struggle without support
People dont know when to ask for help (i.e. they do not know the boundaries of their authority)
Poor performance is not addressed or is addressed unfairly
Closing the gap
The following questions will help provide further insight into what is going on:
What are the safety objectives for your team?
What are the boundaries of your responsibilities and where are they defined?
What processes exist at your site to ensure that you are competent to achieve all of your
safety responsibilities?
What gets the best out of you? How can supervisors / leaders motivate you to do better, and to
what extent does that happen here?
7. Accountability
When this is going well we would expect to see:
People recognise their strengths and exploit them
People recognise their weaknesses and work to eradicate them
People are able to articulate why safety is important to them and how they fulfil their
personal obligations
High safety standards, and people demonstrating the determination to reach them
People stay self-motivated when circumstances make this difficult
People prepared to shoulder responsibility and acknowledge when they make mistakes
Safety commitments (including measurable targets) shared within teams
People seek feedback from colleagues, and are prepared to give feedback to others on
their performance
Feedback being used to guide self improvement
When this is not going well we might expect to see some of the following:
Things being hidden to avoid criticism
Lots of excuses when things go wrong
Lack of interest in the opinions of others
People knowing what is not working but not offering feedback
Feedback being poorly received
Fatalism people believe that bad stuff happens
Closing the gap
The following questions will help provide further insight into what is going on:
Why is safety on this site important to you?
Have you ever asked for feedback on how your behaviour impacts on your safety and that of others?
What feedback have you offered others recently?
Do you ever ask people who are not members of your team to look at your area and pass comment on
what they see?
8. Self Evaluation
When this is going well we would expect to see:
Support processes and materials to help people recognise the impact they have on others
Personal safety objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely
Communication of shared industry and organisational goals to all employees and contractors
Feedback on personal safety commitments included in the appraisal process
Learning being sought from outside the immediate team
When this is not going well we might expect to see some of the following:
People seen as a resource rather than individuals with individual strengths and weaknesses
People without a clear understanding of site safety objectives and their role in achieving them
No process in place for evaluating behaviours
Lack of trust in the consequences of giving feedback
Closing the gap
The following questions will help provide further insight into what is going on:
How often do you assess your own performance against safety commitments, and how do
you do this?
What do you do if you find a deficiency?
How do you find out about best practices elsewhere?
What is the process for letting others know about achievements you have made in improving your
safety performance?
Who drives change (yourself, your supervisor, the onshore team, external auditors, etc) and to what
extent are you able to improve things if you identify deficiencies?
8. Self Evaluation
When this is going well we would expect to see:
People fulfil their commitments to reinforcing and sharing good practice and intervening to change
bad practice
A sharp focus on safety when things change be they people, process or plant
Complacency is challenged to encourage heightened safety awareness
Open and respectful dialogue between supervisors and their teams
Feedback is sought to verify that the perceptions of others matches your intent
Both positive and negative feedback is acted upon
Opportunities to learn from others are continually sought
People recognising when others are distracted and acting out of character
Good work being encouraged, recognised and supported
Safe behaviour recognised and rewarded, and praise given where deserved
People being encouraged and supported to champion safety
When this is not going well we might expect to see some of the following:
Complacency / overconfidence
A culture of rule breaking or bypassing controls to get the job done
Lack of consultation between those imposing change and those affected by it
3rd party staff are treated as second class citizens
Error enforcing conditions (e.g. cost cutting measures in logistics which result in severe congestion
on installations; compromising maintenance; reducing welfare arrangements)
Poor behaviour, e.g. bullying, horseplay
People keep their heads down / little upward communication
Safety procedures seen as a chore rather than a normal way to go about business
Closing the gap
The following questions will help provide further insight into what is going on:
If changes are made which affect your job, how do you provide input to this to ensure the change is
properly managed?
What is the induction process for new staff?
What are the criteria for promoting people to supervisory positions?
How do your supervisors ensure that you have been adequately trained for your job?
What happens here when rules are broken?
To what extent are your ideas sought out and acted upon by your supervisors?
To what extent are your achievements recognised by your supervisors?
9. Develop, Encourage and Sustain Safe Behaviours
When this is going well we would expect to see:
Compliance with safety principles established as a core company value
Organised and documented coaching and training activities
A variety of training / development activities being used
Knowledge transfer within and between teams is seen as part of the job
Accreditation or recognition for acquiring skills
People with the right knowledge and skills for the job
Regular analysis of key safety data, and communication of the findings and trends
Provision of training and coaching, and disciplinary action where necessary, to address
unacceptable behaviour
When this is not going well we might expect to see some of the following:
Mistakes repeated on same site
Lessons not learned from other people and sites
Over-dependence on key individuals
Harm to people and damage to equipment due to lack of knowledge
People being promoted before they are ready
People in training positions neglected through lack of supervisors interest
People / teams have to make mistakes to learn rather than learning from the experience of others
The achievements of individuals are not recognised
A good record is seen as a burden of expectation rather than a demonstration of excellence
Non injurious incidents are hidden
People are inhibited from reporting incidents because of the burden of administrative work
that follows
Blame culture when things go wrong
More green hats in teams than can be effectively managed
Closing the gap
The following questions will help provide further insight into what is going on:
What are the processes on this site that encourage learning?
Who do you turn to for coaching on safety?
What training did you get for the job you are doing?
How was your training assessed?
What would you do if you felt you did not have sufficient time to carry out your work effectively?
What support do you get to improve your competence?
9. Develop, Encourage and Sustain Safe Behaviours
4. Appendices
Appendix 1
Preparation for Coaching Visits
Pre-Meeting with clients
The coachs job starts before going to the offshore worksite with a pre-visit meeting with the client and
contractor line managers. If these individuals are not driving the behavioural (and physical) changes
needed to improve safety performance, the impact of coaching their subordinates will be limited.
The coach needs to be aware of the safety plans in place and line managers need to satisfy themselves
that the work of the coach will be supportive of these plans. This requires that the line managers set their
expectations of the coach and that the proposed coaching programme meets their needs. This will
require discussion and agreement.
It is important to establish feedback requirements for the site visit. The coach needs to be completely
open with those being coached and this includes the feedback parameters agreed with line managers.
People have a right to know, before a coaching session begins, what use will be made of any information
or impressions gained. To enhance openness and thus effectiveness, it is preferable that feedback be
limited to general impressions of the effectiveness of the various elements of the Safety Management
Onshore line managers (senior leaders) should accompany the coach on the first visit to the installation.
This demonstrates support for the coachs work and provides the opportunity to be coached themselves
in the methods and skills they will be expecting their subordinates to demonstrate. After the coach
departs it will be leaders who drive implementation to achieve success.
The only authority a visiting coach has is that invested in him/her by senior leaders both onshore and
offshore. This authority will generally be limited to gaining access to people during the course of
coaching visits. Occasionally a coaching session will uncover a deficiency that requires immediate
remedial action. Other than in exceptional circumstances, such action needs to be taken by site staff;
not the coach.
Pre-Trip Checklist
1. Verify the coach fulfils all the mandatory safety training requirements for a site visit.
2. Confirm that onshore based line managers will be participating in (at least the initial) visit.
Sustainability of effective intervention skills is dependent upon their active drive and participation.
3. Confirm transport arrangements to site and the length of the visit. To coach a broad range of shift
working supervisors, a minimum of two days and nights will required. This will increase to three
if a crew change takes place during the visit.
4. The onshore manager(s) shall brief their senior site based counterparts in advance and
have them:
a. Set up a coaching schedule. Staff will be coached in pairs. For safety intervention coaching,
allocate two hours per coaching session. More time will be required to coach a broader range
of topics. Shift working staff to be coached during their work time;
b. Allocate a room to the coach for discussions prior to practising interventions.
5. Agree feedback requirements:
a. Intervening with and coaching a significant number of staff across the leadership spectrum
provides data that can be used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the sites Safety
Management System. This is a compelling reason for leaders to regularly and routinely intervene
and coach themselves i.e. to audit!!
b. Coaches are not auditors and will lose effectiveness if they are perceived to be. From a
coachs perspective, feedback should be limited to generalities rather than specifics,
particularly with respect to commenting upon individuals.
The Visit
1. After arriving on board get the offshore induction briefing.
2. Brief the leadership team on purpose of visit (i.e. follow-up to classroom training to further
develop key safety skills and give the confidence to use them) and how it is intended to
conduct it.
a. Each session to last for up to two hours and to include a coaching session brief and
intervention coaching out on the worksite (see notes below)
b. Intervention coaching will be done in teams of three (including coach).
3. The visit may identify staff who are particularly effective at interventions and who can help their
colleagues gain the skills and confidence to intervene themselves. We want good safety
behaviours to be self sustaining rather than rely upon (regular) outside support. Seek their
commitment to provide this coaching to others.
Coaching Session Brief
This brief is based on coaching intervention skills. Other topics on the coachs agenda could be aimed
at optimising planning meetings and risk assessments. A common theme is that the leader needs
knowledge of what others understand in order to make reasoned decisions. This can only be achieved
by asking relevant questions and listening to responses. .
a. Before practising the leadership skills being coached, it is necessary to discuss their objective.
For a two hour session, spend approximately 45 minutes in a meeting room discussing the
objective. We aim for a workplace without harm, but cant achieve a workplace without risk! The
issue becomes how we maintain risk under control. How do we do it?
i. Its personal we need a sense of purpose - why is safety important to me? For most people
it is about wanting to go home safe themselves and wanting their colleagues to do likewise.
But wanting something to happen is not enough. We need to do the things that will assure
the safety of ourselves and our colleagues. It is about having the inner determination to
achieve our safety objectives even when this is personally difficult.
ii. Setting expectations we all need to know what is expected of us. Leaders need to articulate
this to their colleagues/team.
iii. Being able to intervene effectively to understand the risks and benefits people bring to the
workplace. Without such knowledge we wont have the foresight to make proper,
reasoned decisions.
iv. Communicating - it is highlighting the fact that if we are not keeping ourselves aware of what
is going on around us, through effective communication; we are not giving ourselves the
opportunity to make a difference
b. Practice interventions and debrief them to better understand how to maximise effectiveness.
The great majority of our interventions are to better understand people and their knowledge of,
and attitude to, risk.
Setting Clear Safety Expectations
In the briefing session discuss the reason for setting clear expectations and what is required i.e.
As a leader you need to have a discussion with individuals and let them know what you expect of them.
Your safety expectations will become their safety responsibilities.
Set them up for success you want them to succeed; your success depends upon theirs
Verify understanding, use give and take where appropriate to gain ownership.
Verify competence to deliver
Verify commitment to deliver
For those not delivering find out why - support those giving of their best
Discipline is applied to those who are not prepared to fulfil their commitments. Such people are a
danger to themselves and others.
Effective Interventions
In the briefing session discuss the intervention process and what a successful intervention can achieve
Identify risks/opportunities through observation or open questions i.e. what can go wrong?
Assess potential consequences/benefits i.e. how bad can it be?
Control the risk through elimination, mitigation or procedures (people are the key!) i.e. what is being
done to maintain control?
Review again if people believe control is threatened.
The objective is to assure oneself that activities being carried out are under control and/or that planned
activities will be conducted in a controlled manner. By intervening with people at work and asking the
three simple questions in italics above, the questioner can:
Gauge the attitude of the responder. This is crucial. No supervisor can be on hand for all jobs being
carried out under his/her authority and knowing the attitude of individuals allows supervisors to focus
their efforts where most needed;
Close any gaps in knowledge and/or skills through coaching or providing additional support;
Eliminate any confusion about objectives or the way they will be achieved;
Capitalise on new ideas coming from the team;
Identify and eliminate any complacency to maintain focus on hazard control;
Set his expectations for how the work will be accomplished and how change will be managed;
Adapt his leadership style to meet the needs of the team and individual
Appendix 2
The Coaching Contract
The coaching contract defines the coaching activity and how it will be completed. It is essentially an up
front agreement that establishes what is expected of each other and defines the ground rules around
confidentiality. It does not need to be a formal document, but the coach should send a note of his/her
understanding of what has been agreed, to the leader commissioning the work, to confirm expectations
have been understood. The benefits of establishing coaching parameters are:
No crossed wires!
Availability of the people to be coached
Coach understands the boundaries of the activity, and has the space to work within them
Coach is pre-warned of anything that might impact his effectiveness on site
Feedback on the coaching activity adds value to the organisation
Appendix 3
Follow- up
The coaching contract should not preclude the coach sharing with senior leaders, on site and at base,
observations that reflect on the effectiveness of site safety management. This gives the opportunity for
leaders to focus their support on areas which have the greatest impact. Feedback should always
acknowledge what is going well. People are generally more open to change if their strengths are
Front line staff can feel that systems of safety work against them. More senior leaders are better placed
to ensure that systems and structures support their safety objectives. A key objective of safety leaders
is to turn people on to safety, not turn them off
Coaches can help others improve their skills and provide them with insights to increase their
effectiveness. Only leaders can drive change and follow-up is essentially a leadership responsibility.
Change is generally progressive, however, and coaches can help leaders reach a level of effectiveness
at which change becomes sustainable. This will likely involve follow-up visits to support safety leaders
through additional coaching and the dissemination of best practice.