Safety Coaching

Wednesday, 02 de November de 2016 · Mexico, Venezuela and Panama

Recently I was invited to conduct a review of safety performance for a client in Mexico. The invitation came after the company had unfortunately experienced 3 fatal incidents at two of their mines.

 Over the span of a week I had interviewed workers at all levels inside the organization, crawled in the mine spaces underground and walked through others, reviewed documents regarding procedures, investigations and analyzed their processes. Although safety programs and tools were in place, there is one area that really opened up as an opportunity. People are willing and ready but as long as the message is safety first, but really it is about production, the results will always remain the same. At the end of the day it is all about how much ore was extracted out of the mine to measure profitability. Was the performance “safe” or “lucky”? If you don’t know, how will you repeat that result again?

 Like in business, Safety is defined by what we do, not by the result. Any time you reward a result, by default you reward the performance that accomplished it. Safety should be integrated into the DNA of organizational activity. The overused cliché, “Safety should become a value” is true, but even that is a self-limiting goal.

The most basic priority of all organizations is to generate enough revenue to keep the doors open and the lights on. Safety is important and it must be the way, not the priority or value. When we communicate that “Safety is first,” “Safety is our top priority,” or “We won’t do the job if it can’t be accomplished safely,” we create situations in which practically ITCH to prove the company wrong and that their strives are based in false beliefs.

Moreover, when someone says, “Safety is first with the company,” there is a chance that the sense of responsibility of the employee is diminished, or worse, removed.

Proactive, self-accountability for safety performance is the responsibility of each employee, not the employer.

So how do we get there? You need to strengthen the capabilities of LEADERSHIP. Coaching truly is the key to improve performance. When we look at coaching in a business setting and are highly successful in transforming a business, a door is open to achieve the same in Safety performance.

As such, based on many years of experience in mining and combined with my Master Coach certification, we have developed a Safety Coaching program that will change the way safety is done. We call it Safe Production. Safety is a strategic and operational imperative. Historically, organizations have separated safety from production and approached it strictly as a standalone issue.

Safe Production, or Safety Coaching is based on various principles we use in coaching:

  • Behavioral Coaching
  • Effective Team building
  • Engage and mobilize
  • Creating a high performance culture
  • Coaching through change
  • The inner game of the leader 

Just to name a few. Looks familiar? Coaching is the way. 

Safe Production is a value that you can only obtain, and comply with, by having the correct systems and processes. And by that I mean have a process of coaching in place where everyone speaks the same language and understands the goals and objectives.

Only when employees understand the proper integration of safety and production are they able to make the right choices to make sure it really is “Safe Production” at your company.

Safe Production is the revolutionary new system in safety; the point is to acknowledge the hazards and how important it is to manage them well, not just by mechanical controls, but also through adjusting personal behavior (choices).

The program of Safety Coaching is the perfect vehicle to drive those changes; and with it a clearly and constant approach to the final goal:        


 Marcel van der Wahl Regional Vice-President Venezuela, Mexico, Panama



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