Safety Reflections by the late George Robotham – READ MORE OF THEM HERE

Over a 14 month period in 1994 -5 BHP Minerals carried out an extensive international safety benchmarking exercise with “best in safety class” companies throughout the world which cost many millions.

25 locations throughout the world participated in the study. An approximate 100 page report on findings has been published.

The following were recurring themes in the world’s best safety performers.

1. Executive management provides the impetus for safety performance. This means that senior management is not only committed to and supports safety, but that it insists on safety performance in a manner that is clearly understood and echoed at all levels.

2. Management focus is a key to quality safety performance.

*1 & 2 above were seen as key factors

  1. Existence of a company-wide framework or systematic, standardised approach to safety. The approach has performance standards that receive regular internal and external audits.
  2. Objectives are set and organisations work towards set targets for implementation of the objectives.

  3. Safety personnel report in at the highest level in the organisations. They have mainly an advisory function. Management and supervision drives the safety program not the safety personnel.

6 Effective safety training targeted to identified needs at all levels. Induction training and detailed safety training for supervisors and managers was high on the priority list. Regular safety meetings were seen as important.

7 Active personal involvement of senior management personnel in the safety program.

8 Safety is considered in performance evaluations of all staff.

9 Regular, detailed audits of the safety management system.

10 Formal approaches to hazard identification and risk analysis, employees were fully involved in this.

11 Formal emergency response procedures that were practiced and audited.

12 The best in class addressed contractor safety before contractors were allowed on site, they pre-qualified them based on safety and made safety performance a contract condition. Contractors were expected to perform at the same safety level as permanent employees.

13 High on the list of the ways the best in class built safety awareness were management participation and leadership, dissemination of information, safety meetings and rewards or recognition of performance.

14 Safety is a condition of employment and dismissals occur for non-performance.

15 Well-managed rehabilitation programs are in place.

16 The best in class use medical examinations and testing to ensure fitness for duty.

17 There were E.A.P’s in place.

18 There were off the job safety programs.

19 There was an emphasis on vehicle / plant maintenance and driver / operator training programs.

20 There were extensive PPE training, maintenance and audit programs.

21 Lock-out procedures were used instead of tag-out.

22 Best in class managers and supervisors respond positively to safety issues that are raised.

23 Best in class supervisors are responsible for safety auditing, investigating personal damage occurrences (accidents), planned job observations and training.

24 All levels in the organisation make decisions that reflect the philosophy “Safety first-Production will follow”.


It is suggested Safety Management Systems be built around the above benchmarking findings.

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