As the new year approaches lets create a new resolution to educate our supervisors and managers on the importance of coaching and its connection to creating a zero accident culture.  

Supervisors and managers often avoid giving feedback, especially about safety performance, because they see it as unnecessary, time-intensive, or negative. Assuming that employees are working as safely as they can under the circumstances, they do not encourage improvement in employees’ safety behaviors.

However, this lack of coaching misses a huge opportunity. Experts agree that one of the best ways to retain talented employees is to give your best employees recognition.

This includes coaching all your employees to perform better in all aspects of their jobs, including coaching them about safety. Also, contrary to traditional management styles which emphasized discipline, positive reinforcement needs to be a major part of this safety coaching process.

Most employees say they do not get enough performance-related feedback. Coaching raises safety performance, productivity, and morale.

Zero Accident Culture (ZAC) is the belief that all accidents are unacceptable and preventable. Appropriate coaching is critical to achieving the desired culture and mindset of Zero Accidents. ZAC is a systematic way to promote safety in the workplace by clearly defining a set of safe behaviors and work practices that reduce employees’ risks for injuries and then reinforcing them consistently, so that these behaviors occur more frequently than at-risk behaviors.

The goals of a ZAC program:

  • reducing at-risk behaviors to a near-zero level,
  • creating a process that clearly defines a set of safe behaviors and work practices that reduce employees’ risks for injuries,
  • providing a way to consistently identify and reinforce safe work practices,
  • recognizing favorable behaviors,
  • correcting unfavorable behaviors when needed via coaching,
  • problem-solving to improve work practices, and
  • improved communications between management and employees by allowing employee participation in the safety coaching process and mutually identifying and sharing improvements to be made.

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