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Enterprise Safety Engagement

This article is an excerpt of a new chapter in Enterprise Engagement: The Roadmap, Fifth Edition, due out in January 2019. This chapter focuses on how Enterprise Engagement and ISO 10018 and Annex SL principles can be applied to addressing why safety remains a serious challenge on many worksites. 
By Bruce Bolger
Featured Content Sponsor:   EEA logo
  1. A New Focus on People
  2. The Audiences for Safety
  3. Culture, Values, Clear Objectives
  4. Leadership Recruitment, Coaching and Assessment
  5. The Safety Engagement Plan
  6. Communications and Feedback
  7. Job Design and Empowerment
  8. Training
  9. Innovation
  10. Community
  11. Rewards and Recognition
  12. Measurement and Analytics

Despite Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, ISO safety standards, and significant investments in workplace safety, nearly 5,000 workers die each year in the U.S., with a fatal injury rate of over 3 per 100,000 that has remained relatively consistent over the years, and with close to 4 million work-related injuries and illnesses reported, according to various sources. Many believe that under-reporting is widespread.1 
Experts agree that while worker deaths and accidents can never be eliminated, there remain opportunities for improvement by addressing the long-overlooked human factor. Just as the framers of ISO 9001 and other standards had overlooked the human element until the latest revisions, OSHA regulations could do a better job of addressing all the ways organizations can engage employees and other stakeholders in safety and well-being by connecting the dots between all stakeholders and engagement factors involved.
According to the website of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employers that invest in workplace safety and health can expect to reduce fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. This will result in cost savings in a variety of areas, such as lowering workers' compensation costs and medical expenses, avoiding OSHA penalties, and reducing costs to train replacement employees and conduct accident investigations. In addition, employers often find that changes made to improve workplace safety and health can result in significant improvements to their organization's productivity and financial performance.”2  
Despite the compelling economics, management often overlooks the return on investment of minimizing accidents, not only in concrete costs but in overall stakeholder engagement. By addressing safety as part of an enterprise approach to engagement, safety can be baked into the culture and all the ways organizations actualize it with all stakeholders to achieve sustainable results.
This new chapter and course in Enterprise Engagement: The Roadmap 5th edition utilizes the ISO Annex SL and ISO 10018 Quality Management standards to map out how organizations can make enterprise safety engagement a part of their culture, engagement processes, and human capital scorecard. By following this roadmap, organizations can not only achieve better results but also potentially support qualification for ISO 10018 Quality People Management or ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety certification. 
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The newly released ISO 45001 safety standards have been updated with the new Annex SL management standards that incorporate the need to address all stakeholders, leadership, and culture when addressing occupational safety and health. In other words, the standards call for a systematic approach that, like ISO 10018 Quality People Management standards, call for a strategic and systematic approach to engagement that includes connecting all the dots between “interested” stakeholders; leaders, culture and objectives, and the tools and levers of engagement required to achieve sustainable results.3  
This chapter demonstrates how the Annex SL and ISO 10018 Quality People Management principles embodied in the field of Enterprise Engagement can be applied to create a culture of sustainable workplace safety and well-being through an integrated approach to:
Culture, Values, Clear Objectives
Leadership Coaching and assessment
Job Design
Rewards and Recognition
Measurement and Analytics

The fundamental principles of Enterprise Engagement, embodied in ISO Annex SL and ISO 10018 Quality People Management principles, start with having a strategic plan that connects all the stakeholders, systems and tactics used to engage and equip them for sustainable success. 


A key distinguishing factor of Enterprise Engagement and ISO Annex SL and ISO 10018 standards is the integration and alignment of all stakeholders: customers, distribution partners, employees and communities. That starts with identifying the principle ways that organizations can optimize safety and well-being for each of these communities, rather than putting safety and well-being into silos. Culture and values should transcend organizational constituencies in order to unite all stakeholders around common expectations. 


Workplace safety applies to any type of enterprise, not only manufacturing, logistics, chemical, oil well drilling etc., but also offices and even home offices. People can get injured anywhere by falling or getting cut by a sharp objective, or by suddenly fainting or falling ill with appendicitis, kidney stones or worse, with a heart attack or stroke. An explicit focus on the safety and well-being of all stakeholders—customers, distribution partners, employees, vendors and communities—generally is part of the explicit mission, vision and values of all human-oriented organizations. An organization focused on safety and stakeholder well-being makes that clear in its mission statement, values and scorecards.
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Embedding culture, mission and values into an organization involves every leadership position, starting at the very top and spreading out to the front lines in every direction. Every leader with actions inconsistent with the culture, values and mission, including safety and well-being of stakeholders, breaks a critical part of the connection across the organization, creating toxic micro-cultures. The best results come from recruiting leaders whose natural values are consistent with those of the organization and who will embrace coaching and assessment that helps them continually enhance their leadership abilities. When safety and well-being are baked into organizational culture, mission and values, leaders can help translate those values into behaviors and outcomes by highlighting and recognizing them. The fundamental goal is to make looking out for the welfare of others a fundamental part of the culture. Anecdotally, almost all accidents occur because someone was not complying with safety regulations, such as wearing a helmet or protective glasses or overlooking proven procedures for accident prevention. 


While Enterprise Engagement and ISO standards should be baked into the organizational process, it is common sense to update plans annually and/or quarterly based on the latest data, feedback, accidents, or organizational circumstances related to safety performance, facilities, equipment, regulatory actions, insurance and workers compensation costs, etc. Essentially, as with any Enterprise Engagement effort, the occupational safety and health program should be articulated in a clear business plan with the culture, values and objectives clearly specified, as well as the specific tactical plan, roles and responsibilities, all the elements necessary to engage and equip people to achieve specific goals, budget and return on investment. 
Annual or other campaigns can have themes to focus on current goals or initiatives related to fulfilling the underlying goal of safety, well-being and creating a culture in which everyone actively looks out for the welfare of colleagues and other stakeholders. 
The plan should include specifically identifying the actions and behaviors that support the goals. Goals should involve actual outcomes, such as a reduction in or elimination of accidents or injuries, as well as actions that can prevent them, including: reporting even the most minor accidents; participation in training; reporting dangers such as loose railings or shelves, clogged dolly tracks, damaged vehicles, unprotected machinery, out of date fire extinguishers, depleted first aid kits; and making safety-related recommendations related to procedures or other ideas. 
An organizational campaign may focus on up to three related behaviors in a given year, while never taking attention away from the fundamental need to proactively look out for the safety and welfare of all stakeholders.
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Today, communications can occur in multiple forms and flows in multiple directions. What is most important is having a consistent message and useful information delivered systematically and frequently in the media best suited to your audience, which can include a combination of:
Reminders by leaders at departmental or organizational meetings. 
Success stories and tips in your organization’s enterprise engagement portal or intranet and newsletter.
The organization’s social media or news feed. 
Short videos featuring your own employees, customers, or other stakeholders. 
Posters with pithy, informative messages in appropriate locations.
Promotional products given away at organizational events.
Content can include how-to, success stories and personal profiles of members of the community who have demonstrated key values. The communications platform should also enable open feedback so that all stakeholders feel encouraged to make suggestions or report issues without any fear of retribution. 


The more complex and demanding a job, and the more risks involved in terms of location, equipment, weather, etc., the more human error comes in to play. Human error occurs not only when organizations pay lip service to quality and safety, but when employees take their eye off the goal because the design of jobs fosters repetitiveness or other mind-numbing procedures, or long hours lead to lack of attention and oversights due to fatigue. The solution often involves unique or varied use of procedures or job sharing. Creating a sense of empowerment by enabling teams to devise their own solutions can also enhance task value and attention to detail. 
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More than adequate training exists on the procedures and processes for workplace safety and well-being; what is lacking is a focus on the human element; i.e., the culture, attitudes, aptitudes, etc. each of us apply to not only minimize the number of accidents but respond most efficaciously when one occurs. In training, the human element is addressed fundamentally through the why and how—what it means to each member of the community to proactively look out for the welfare of others, not only by anticipating risks but by actively participating in the training necessary to respond to the unexpected. Ideally, training should include periodic drills that enable people to demonstrate they know how to respond to different types of situations, even down to knowing the location of first aid, how to summon help, etc. 


Safety and well-being should lie at the heart of every effort used by organizations to engage their communities to suggest new ideas or solutions. All suggestions or innovation processes should always address key organizational values and objectives, including safety and well-being, and use the business rules of that process to actively encourage participation. Suggestions to improve safety should always be actively encouraged.


Creating a sense of common values within your organization is critical to an enterprise approach to engagement, and a focus on safety and well-being is one of the best ways to demonstrate an organization’s commitment to safety. Building safety and well-being into your organization’s community-building events and processes, such as volunteer activities or the engagement portal technology used to align the organization, ensures that people understand how their actions can affect safety and well-being. The safety and wellness message can be reinforced in blood drives or other related activities, or in quarterly safety checkups in which every department takes an hour to make sure everyone is up to date on the location of key safety resources and procedures in case of an accident or sudden illness, during which people are recognized for their contribution to safety and well-being.
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It is especially important in the realm of safety to distinguish rewards and recognition from compensation. Because there is almost no training on the use of incentives, rewards and recognition in business education, and little general knowledge of the extensive research on rewards and recognition best practices now available4, many organizations confuse rewards and recognition with compensation. This confusion occurs when rewards and recognition become cash equivalents; i.e., points that can be translated into cash to make personal purchases, or when presented in a program in which such rewards become expected (where  employees assume they will “earn” the points each year by following routine procedures). 
Confusing rewards with compensation is especially dangerous in the promotion of safety, because safety should be part of everyone’s job and not a “commissionable” process. When people feel that safety becomes part of their compensation, a greater risk exists for under-reporting of accidents or over-reporting of potential dangers. In addition, Occupational Safety & Health Administration rules specifically prohibit rewarding people for reducing the number of accidents because of the potential for under-reporting; at least this much of the human process OSHA regulators have identified.
To make sure your safety engagement strategy does not have unintended consequences in terms of promoting counterproductive behaviors or running afoul of OSHA regulations, the rewards and recognition process should:
Focus on promoting positive behaviors such as reporting potential dangers, suggesting safer practices, taking special actions taken to avert an accident, or displaying exceptional performance in addressing one, etc.
Select meaningful, customized, and personalized reward experiences distinct from cash equivalents that will be long remembered, create a buzz in the organization, and that surprise and delight rather than be considered a “perk” or benefit. By its very nature, the reward should not provide any incentive for an individual to game the system.
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Organizations that value the health and safety of their human capital can benefit by adding safety and well-being to their scorecards, since extensive research indicated in the studies below demonstrates the multiple benefits of a focus on safety and engagement, not only in terms of reduced accidents and downtime but also in higher overall engagement and performance. Demonstrating a cultural commitment to safety and well-being for all your organization’s stakeholders contributes to the sense of support essential to fostering engagement. 
When measuring the return on investment of a safety and well-being processes, the obvious measures include the direct and indirect costs of accidents, which are relatively easy to estimate in a culture that promotes transparent in reporting. To determine the effectiveness of your organization’s investment in safety and well-being, it also helps to track behaviors and engagement with the process so that you can correlate outcomes with actions and behaviors.

Other measures include:
Percentage of people accessing Enterprise Engagement portal or Intranet content on safety and well-being, and the amount of time spent on the content.
Level of engagement and scores on online safety and well-being tests or participation in organizational events related to safety.
Responses on engagement surveys related to safety.
Number and types of safety actions highlighted in the recognition platform. 
Level of interest in sharing tips and success stories on engagement on the organization’s Engagement portal or Intranet. 
Number of suggestions related to safety enhancements. 


Featured Content Sponsor: 
Global Safety Institute
A Mission to Measure and Improve Safety Performance Worldwide

Bill Sims Jr.
Tel. 803.600.8325  

Master the Principles of Enterprise Engagement to Achieve Organizational Goals and Enhance Your Career
  • Profit from a new systematic approach to engagement to enhance your organization’s brand equity; increase sales, productivity, quality, innovation, and safety, and reduce risks.
  • Achieve ISO 10018 Quality People Management Certification to demonstrate your organization’s strategic commitment to people to your customers, employees, distribution partners, vendors, communities, investors, and regulators.
Live Education: Enterprise Engagement in Action Conference at Engagement World, April 3, 2019, in San Francisco, in conjunction with the Selling Power Sales 3.0 Conference. Learn about the economics, framework, and implementation process for an ISO certifiable approach to achieving organizational objectives by strategically fostering the proactive involvement of all stakeholders. Learn more and register now.   

In Print: Enterprise Engagement: The Roadmap 4th Edition, How to Achieve Organizational Results Through People and Quality for ISO 10018 Certification. 
The first and most comprehensive book on Enterprise Engagement and the new ISO 9001 and ISO 10018 quality people management standards. 
Online: The Enterprise Engagement Academy at, providing the only formal training on Enterprise Engagement and the new ISO 9001 and ISO 10018 quality people management standards. Provides preparation for professionals to support organizations seeking ISO 10018 employer or solution provider certification, as well as elective courses on Trade Show Engagement, Rewards and Recognition, Government, and other topics. 
Plus: 10-minute short course: click here for a 10-minute introduction to Enterprise Engagement and ISO standards on
Services: The International Center for Enterprise Engagement at, offering: ISO 10018 certification for employers, solution providers, and Enterprise Engagement technology platforms; Human Resources and Human Capital audits for organizations seeking to benchmark their practices and related Advisory services for the hospitality field.
The Engagement Agency at, offering: complete support services for employers, solution providers, and technology firms seeking to profit from formal engagement practices for themselves or their clients, including Brand and Capability audits for solution providers to make sure their products and services are up to date.
C-Suite Advisory Service—Education of boards, investors, and C-suite executives on the economics, framework, and implementation processes of Enterprise Engagement. 
Speakers Bureau—Select the right speaker on any aspect of engagement for your next event.
Mergers and Acquisitions. The Engagement Agency’s Mergers and Acquisition group is aware of multiple companies seeking to purchase firms in the engagement field. Contact Michael Mazer in confidence if your company is potentially for sale at 303-320-3777. 
Enterprise Engagement Benchmark Tools: The Enterprise Engagement Alliance offers three tools to help organizations profit from Engagement. Click here to access the tools.
• ROI of Engagement Calculator. Use this tool to determine the potential return-on-investment of an engagement strategy. 
• EE Benchmark Indicator. Confidentially benchmark your organization’s Enterprise Engagement practices against organizations and best practices. 
• Compare Your Company’s Level of Engagement. Quickly compare your organization’s level of engagement to those of others based on the same criteria as the EEA’s Engaged Company Stock Index.
• Gauge Your Personal Level of Engagement. This survey, donated by Horsepower, enables individuals to gauge their own personal levels of engagement.
For more information, contact Bruce Bolger at, 914-591-7600, ext. 230.
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