The Six E's of Safety - Which is Key?

NSC Chairman's Challenge to Safety Professionals.

January 13, 2020

As the chief risk officer at Captive Resources, I have the honor of leading a team of safety professionals who guide the risk management efforts of 40 groups’ insurance programs representing more than 4,000 companies with a combined premium of nearly $3 billion. Our business revolves around risk, collisions and incidents. So the more we can do to help our client companies prevent incidents in the first place, the better off we all are.

In 1992, I signed up Captive Resources for NSC membership. Over the past decade, we’ve encouraged nearly 4,000 of our clients to join as well. We realize the value of National Safety Council membership because safety, risk and business are all intertwined.

As a safety practitioner, I was educated in the hierarchy of controls for safety success. Engineer out as many risks as possible, Educate employees on the risks inherent in their jobs and what you and they can do about them, and Enforce policies to ensure compliance with best practices for safety. Pretty simple on its face but rife with complexity and nuance within. I’ve expanded upon the “Three E's” over the years to include EnergizingEngaging and Empowering, bringing the total to six. I believe these help capture what is needed to develop and sustain a positive and effective safety culture. The successful companies I have worked with over the years embrace, enhance and exemplify these elements.

In order to keep safety front of mind, you’ve got to Energize the message. Take safety out of the rules and regulations and create something that gets people excited to Be Safe. Be creative and have some fun with your safety efforts, as it will create stickiness in the end user's mind. Engage your teammates, especially your audience, in the development of your safety culture – from employee selection to on-boarding, education, training and retention activities. Empower your people to be encouraged and expected to stop work and speak up when they encounter an unsafe condition or operation.

When I took the stage in San Diego to address the 2019 NSC Congress and Expo attendees, I issued a challenge: Find just one thing of value to take back and use to help improve safety efforts. Similarly, I issue the same challenge to our members and others on this journey who are committed to educating and enriching the safety experience. I hope you can use what you read in order to aid your safety mission and help you reinforce the Six E’s of Safety.

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