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Leadership the key when it comes to safety

We need to serve as role models when it comes to safety on- and off-the-job.

Leadership the key when it comes to safety

In his letter to employees, Nabil K. Al-Dabal, Aramco’s vice president of Human Resources appreciates the efforts of employees and chief position holders alike to make the work environment at Aramco a safe place for all. At the same time, he reminds us with the basic safety responsibilities and that we should strive to reflect excellence and serve as role models and contribute to safety both on- and off-the-job.


I think that this is the most important step towards maintaining safety in a big company such as Aramco.


By spreading this vision throughout the company, Al-Dabal is “walking the talk” and leading by example. Consequently, employees will understand that at Aramco, safety is to be treated as a priority value and is to be taken seriously to influence our attitudes and generate the right opinions and behaviors at work, in public, and at home.


If we truly believe and consider safety as a value, we should believe that one death, or one accident, or even a minor injury is too many.


In his article Treating Safety as a Value, Dominic Cooper says that taking a relaxed view point toward this value of safety will lead to enormous complications. He said that in the United Kingdom, striving for a 99.9% success rate would mean the following consequences:


  • 10 trains would crash on the rail network
  • 15 babies would be dropped on the floor at birth
  • 125 surgical operations would go wrongly
  • 27 people would be wrongly prescribed dangerous drugs
  • 72,000 checks would be deducted from the wrong bank account 
  • 96,000 items of mail would be lost by the Royal Mail.

(Try to apply that to a big company like Saudi Aramco!)


He added that these statistics supported the goal of striving for zero incidents rather than accepting 99.9%. 


Cooper mentions that if it is possible to achieve zero injuries for some period, one can argue that it is possible to achieve this level of performance all the time, as it has been repeated by other safety experts that, “A company gets the level of safety performance it deserves.”


It is a good thing for employees to know that Safety is a value, but most importantly, it takes complete dedication of efforts from the entire people in the company, on daily basis, beginning from senior managers down to any single worker in the field, to reach that level.   


To improve the safety culture, it is important that people in an organization learn to communicate in an open manner. Everyone should be encouraged to stand up and make himself heard if he thinks that something is right. Workplace safety must not be static. 


Thinking of new and creative ideas to improve the safety culture in a workplace is key, and companies must stay up to date with all new safety issues and never ignore good ideas from employees.


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