Consistency in maintaining corporate goals and objectives are essential for continued success in any endeavor. However, it is only when the outlined strategic and objective level goals align with other aspects of corporate policy, such as your corporate safety policy, can any objectives be properly engaged and implemented to achieve said success.

Should the corporate objectives not encompass your safety policy then both the goals and safety policy will become diametrically opposed. This results in a less than stellar performance at best, or a complete non-attainment of any goals, along with an associated reversal at worst. Therefore, it is essential and necessary that all goals and policies properly align to ensure a company’s overall success.

Safety Policy First!

The trend is to treat the incumbent safety policy as an afterthought during the strategic planning to set company goals and objectives. Often, safety policies are formed around the corporate goals but are not themselves encompassed within the specified goals. This disparity is creating the foundation for the goals and policies to become opposed.

It is important to consider that, as opposed to many other internal policies, the corporate safety policy has the potential to drastically alter the company’s marketability landscape to a negative degree. Thus, if the policies and goals are not properly aligned and considered as a core element, the likelihood of this occurring increases. Therefore, any setting of objectives or goals should use the safety policy as an essential part or core consideration and not as an ancillary policy subjected to corporate goals.

When Corporate Goals and Safety Policies Don’t Align

An example of where corporate goals did not align with safety policy can easily be found in the 2005 BP Texas City Refinery Explosion. Numerous reports and investigations by various bodies clearly indicated that corporate goals took precedence over safety policies and procedures resulting in a catastrophic outcome. The disparities between the goals and the safety policies and management were made clear on all levels of management from the upper echelons down to onsite plant controllers. Even after corrective measures were set in place, post accident, the same location experienced further problems as the fundamental alignment between corporate goals and objectives ran contrary to safety policy. Of course, this example is not limited to BP as numerous other companies have experienced the same concerns.

This only serves to reinforce the necessity of ensuring the corporate and company objectives and goals are in-line with—and are properly concerned with—a solid safety policy. In addition to making sure this alignment is established at the outset, additional periodic reviews of how the safety policy and corporate goals and objectives align are necessary to prevent a misalignment from occurring without the knowledge of either safety management teams or of management in general. Only by having goals and policies that correspond can the long term success of any company be assured.

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