More on safety culture: announcement to stock exchange

In the previous post it was noted that the FMG CEO was reported as saying that the culture was strong.  The reporting is correct.  Here is the statement to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) by the FMG Company Secretary.

FMG is a publicly listed company.  It is not a small private operation.  It is a business with a market capitalization of around $18B.  The statement to the ASX by the Company Secretary must be correct.  It is required to be correct.  The Company Secretary quotes the CEO.  Hence there is no mistake.  The culture definitely is strong according to FMG.

Yet safety itself was absent recently with profound consequences.  Not once, or twice, but three times in quick succession.  So culture and actual safety were not related.

The messages seems to be, if you are working on culture, think again.

 

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About John Culvenor

Hi, Thank you for taking a look at this blog. I work in engineering, ergonomics, creativity, design, training, etc. Often this is about helping solve legal puzzles through accident analysis. Sometimes it is about thinking up better designs for equipment, workplaces, and systems. This blog is about good design and bad design, accident analysis and how it can be done better, and how we can make a better, safer world by design!
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5 Responses to More on safety culture: announcement to stock exchange

  1. rodney currey says:

    a strong culture but weak safety? why not weak culture but strong safety? or havent they got to that yet? Really is mindlessness- any wonder people get hurt!

  2. Yes. I’d sooner be in a place with a weak culture but with actually good safety.

  3. mikebehm says:

    Unfortunately John, now is the time to buy FMG. Look at BP…if you bought it hours after any of their multiple explosions, you’d have made good return on your investment, even long term. Sad but true. Buy low, sell high…don’t tell anyone I told you… ; ) Anyone who knows me knows this pains me to write, but it is true…..

  4. mikebehm says:

    John – Here’s a link for the article I referenced above, showing that negative news is damaging to stock price in the very short term, but largely irrelevant in the long run, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-232X.1994.tb00341.x/abstract

    From a proactive WHS viewpoint, there is data to show that good WHS performance companies outperform poorer WHS performing companies. Here is the media report summary, http://gs.co.nz/documents/About/MediaRoom/GSJBW-WHS-Report-Media-Release.pdf
    I have the complete report as a .pdf, I just cannot locate a link to it. If anyone wants it or the complete article above by Davidson et al., just email me at behmm@ecu.edu

    It’s also interesting what folks say externally about WHS under the guise of CSR. We did a study on this about 5 years ago and likened the WHS voluntary disclosure in CSR reports to “greenwashing”, labeling this “worker washing”. See page 10-15 at,
    http://www.asse.org/academicsjournal/archive/vol7no1/Vol7No1.pdf

  5. It seems obvious to me that the culture was not strong. Maybe at the executive level, but that is all. This is the problem with culture – what the top thinks does not match the reality where the work is done, and different task groups/occupations have their own culture. I don’t have a problem looking at culture – I think it is one factor with multiple outlooks in a large work system. If the culture is one that recognizes and controls obvious hazards in an occupational work setting, then I can see the link to safety. The wrong approach is to make a unified “measure” or state that culture is a dichotomous (strong/not strong) variable. The CEO’s statement was a protective response, akin to saying “but we were duly diligent”. In Canada, the hunt is on “to identify the best and most usable set of management and organizational measures predictive of work injuries and illnesses”. http://www.iwh.on.ca/briefings/developing-leading-indicators-of-work-injury-and-illness. Your thoughts on “leading indicators”?

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