How to create a Zero-Tolerance Approach For Safety

3 min read

Safety is very important, and in today’s work environment, it is imperative to create a zero tolerance policy. Whether employees are driving while texting, or working in an energy plant where one mistake could have global impact, a zero tolerance policy ensures the company that the workers will always keep in mind the safety of not only themselves, but also others, and most importantly, the image of the company.

Safety in the Oil and Gas Industry

One of the greatest examples of safety is shown in the oil & gas industry. The “giants” of the industry set high standards and strict policies that ensure that not only their field workers are concerned about safety, but also those that work in an office environment. Chevron, for example, has policies for office workers which include many “out of office” safety guidelines such as no jaywalking, no texting while on the road, and no taking calls while driving. If you work at Chevron, you are required to stop the car on the side of the road prior to taking a phone call. In the past, the company has openly removed employees without tolerance for breaking these simple rules.

What Does This Teach Us?

Chevron’s example teaches a lot of lessons to other companies. First, if you plan to have a zero tolerance policy, it is important to equally distribute it between the whole company. People assume that because they are office workers, the company should not be concerned about their safety as much as those working in the field. Granted, the field workers have a much dangerous job of controlling oil rigs, ensuring the safety of pipelines, and protecting the people from harm while these rigs function.

Even after acknowledging these facts, they appreciate the fact that the whole company takes safety seriously. Although their life is more at risk than those at the office, the fact that the company cares about all of the employees to distribute zero tolerance policies evenly brings the company together and creates a loyal bond between employees. Putting every employee under strict zero tolerance guidelines ensures that every person takes the policy seriously, and also explains to those in doubt that every colleague is under the same ruleset as them.

Another important lesson to learn from Chevron’s example is the fact that the company cares about how their employees are acting outside of the office. When other people see Chevron employees waiting for the signal before crossing the street, or pulling to the side of the road prior to taking phone calls, the image of the company is strengthened.

Keeping Your Word

When approaching zero tolerance policies, it is important to take your time in creating them and ensuring that they are absolute. If an employee breaks the policy, they should be removed instead of finding a work around that allows them to stay. This should always be kept in mind when creating the policies because not keeping your word will ruin the reputation of the company. It will additionally lead to employees assuming that they will be given a second chance if they take the risk. Being strict with the policy and enforcing it at all times will ensure that employees look after each other when dealing with safety, and realize how important the subject matter truly is.

Final Remarks

To conclude, there is a procedure to follow in creating your company’s zero tolerance policy:

Assess the importance of safety in all work fields that the company participates in, and analyze how the zero tolerance policy can be expanded to include the safety of those that work in safer places.

free-safety-guidesFigure out the hard limits of the policy, and cut back a notch to ensure that you will not make the mistake of being forced to fire someone because your policy was simply too strict.

Train your managers to lead and communicate the new policies effectively. They should also be prepared for the worst if employees break the rules, and should be placed under policies of their own to ensure that they take the right action against those who do not follow instructions.

Train your employees. Give the work force lessons on how the policies work, and ensure that they truly understand why the company is adding the zero tolerance policy.

Additional Resources