President's Blog 10/02/21

By NZISM Secretary


Kia ora koutou members and supporters of NZISM, As I am sitting in Dunedin on a hot sunny day, I am reminded how climate can make a difference to how we work. There was an interesting article that came out in 2018 about the role of the safety climate in implementation of safety management systems (such as OHSAS 18001) in construction industries.

It outlined that safety performance had a positive outcome where a safety management system (SMS) was in place. It then considered a number of safety (climate) indicators and the relationship to the SMS. I wasn’t overly surprised that their study had a link between safety accountabilities, and including contractors in meetings and training, however I was interested that they highlighted that safety incentives were also just as important.

My internal voice said quite loudly that that financial reward linked to accident measures doesn’t drive good outcomes, and clearly the authors agreed as they went on to exclude that incentive. While I may not necessarily agree with at least the wording of the ‘incentives’ they measured, for example “Site Personnel will be punished for practicing formulated safety management dimensions”, it did make me ponder about how we could better incentivise good health and safety performance and having strategic alignment with positive performance indicators.

A quick troll through my resources highlighted that I couldn’t find a lot on safety incentive programmes that were based on solid research, and while I could come up with some that sounded good, I prefer decisions based on research and data. Along that thought, and rather interestingly, the research above found that the climate indicator of ‘management commitment’ had no significant relationship to safety performance and hence SMS effectiveness. The researchers highlighted that it may be a result of the contracting chain in construction, however it was not what I was expecting.

As we start to plan for 2021 and look to improve the work climate in our organisations, considering or reviewing how we incentivise might be a topical area for discussion. And hopefully we might see some more on this subject in the future.

If you are interested in the article:

Ng Khean Kim, Noor Fareen Abdul Rahim, Mohammad Iranmanesh, Behzad Foroughi,
The role of the safety climate in the successful implementation of safety management systems, Safety Science, Volume 118, 2019, Pages 48-56, ISSN 0925-7535,

Ngā mihi

Robyn Bennett


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