Management commitment ensures road safety initiatives have the resources needed to achieve results. And, when senior managers demonstrate and communicate their commitment to road safety, positive safety climate changes occur.
Why is management commitment important?
- Employees need to see clear evidence that the company - as represented by management - is genuinely committed to employee safety. Managers who model safe behaviours motivate employees to adopt the same values and behaviours. Conversely, employees probably won't buy in to a program that’s not visibly supported by upper management.
- Management support is necessary to access resources such as funding for training to improve driver skills and to purchase fit-for-purpose vehicles. Management also must allow employees to be an active part of the program by participating on the safety committee, helping draft policies and procedures and leading tailgate meetings.
- Management is ultimately responsible for:
- establishing a management style that facilitates a strong safety culture
- organizing and approving safety structures - the safety committee, safety coordinators, supervisors
- providing pathways for safety communications
- "owning" and implementing policies, procedures and practices
What does management commitment look like?
Certainly managers have a vital role in communicating safety messages - employees expect to hear managers promoting safety. However, it's not enough for managers to "talk the talk". Managers must be seen as road safety advocates. Here are a few examples of what management commitment should look like in action.
- Participate in setting, achieving and acknowledging road safety targets
- Talk frequently about road safety with employees
- Practice and demonstrate safe driving behaviour and attitudes
- Approve sound investments of time and resources to achieve safety objectives
- Participate in safety meetings, safety training events and the safety committee
- Instruct supervisors to start pre-shift meetings with a safety moment
- Track employee participation in safety training, and acknowledge results
- Remind employees to make safety a key consideration in all work decisions, and genuinely support them to do that
- Have coaching discussions and apply a disciplinary process when an employee violates safe driving rules
- Make sure that day-to-day driving assignments are aligned with safety values
- Instruct supervisors that they are not to assign work in ways that will compromise safety in the interest of productivity or profit
- Look for and capitalize on opportunities to involve employees in the road safety dialogue
- Identify and encourage road safety champions
How do you get management commitment?
- Include safety in the company's mission statement or core values. Concisely stating that employee health and safety is one of the organization’s cornerstone values provides clear signals to employees, contractors, clients and customers.
- Make road safety part of how the company evaluates manager performance. There's a saying that "what gets measured, gets managed". If the organization expects managers to be committed to the road safety plan, they need ways to measure that commitment. Here are a few ideas.
- Establish requirements for each manager to lead a number of safety discussions, tailgate meetings or other initiatives that include road safety over the course of the year; set divisional or regional targets the manager is responsible to achieve.
- Set performance targets to increase vehicle inspections, spot-checks and ride-alongs, and to reduce motor vehicle incidents, lost time and associated costs.
- Assign each manager responsibility for a key part of the plan. When a program is working well, it's at least partially because its owner is committed to achieving results. On the other hand, unmet objectives and sagging performance likely suggest a manager who is not fully committed to the goals.
- Support managers and supervisors to monitor performance, make improvements and accomplish goals. Recognize and reward results.
If your organization hasn't experienced a serious motor vehicle crash, management might not yet appreciate the potentially devastating implications of such incidents. Below are two tools that will help you demonstrate the importance and value of road safety, and help gain the commitment of managers.
The Numbers section contains statistics about work-related motor vehicle incidents in BC. Graphs and interactive tables show the number, duration and costs of crash-related claims that employers in their sector and sub-sector are experiencing - and what an effective road safety plan can help them avoid.
Use the MVI Cost Calculator to help build a solid business case showing the advantages of committing resources and taking actions to prevent crashes. The interactive tool enables users to capture real crash costs. It's also a quick way to estimate the costs of potential crash scenarios.