Case Study

A program enabling an organisation to achieve ambitious safety goals

Top-down, Bottom-up Approach to Safety

Industry: Large Automotive Organisation



This organisation identified the need for a program to assess and develop managers, team leaders and employees’ behavioural safety capability. This was one initiative as part of a wider business strategy to achieve a 50% reduction in injury rates. Other actions included improving policies and procedures, new equipment and engineering controls, and well-being programs for staff (both physical and mental), to name a few.

The safety program was introduced into one of the business areas where injury rates were significantly higher.



The organisation felt many of the accidents that were occurring were due to the decision, and then the actions that employees were making, which were not always the most appropriate for the situation. Most of the workforce in this business unit operated on their own providing support to the public. They also knew that the safety conversations Supervisors were having with these employees could be improved upon in terms of frequency, but also quality.

The organisation wanted to implement a safety program to address the above challenges. They also wanted to ensure the program’s success could be measured, that there was flexibility in delivery (Supervisors and employees had strict work shifts and only came together as a team on a few, scheduled occasions), and also that there was a transfer in skills within the organisation, to ensure changes could be sustained over time.



Once the organisation understood what could be achieved by implementing the program, and the key stakeholders involved in sponsoring and participating (to varying levels) in the program were engaged, People Solutions spent time understanding the key safety challenges for the organisation. We used our Individual Safety Attributes Test (ISAT), cultural survey results, interview and focus groups as a method of diagnosing and customising the safety program.

From this, People Solutions, in collaboration with the organisation, developed a top down, bottom up Safety Behaviours Program, comprising of:

  • A Safety Leadership Program (Top Down) for Team Managers, Supervisors, Safety Representatives, Health & Safety Employees. This was designed to improve safety leadership capabilities and provide leaders with practical tools for achieving measurable improvements in safety. There were 3 half day sessions, with a 2-week gap between the first two, the final session was a review of their projects and presentations to Senior Leaders.

To ensure a sustained change in behaviour, People Solutions took the following approach to the Safety Leadership Program.

  • Group Coaching Process – Adopting a coaching facilitation style. The end goal was to transfer the skills and knowledge, to then use on the job. Theories and frameworks were discussed and developed in a practical, hands-on manner. Participants received feedback from the facilitator and their peers as well as the opportunity to reflect on the development of their safety coaching skills.
  • Safety Rapid Results Projects – In small groups, participants created a safety based project, implemented it with support over a 2 – 3-month period, then reported and reviewed it during the last session.
  • Ongoing Accountability – In between, and after the workshops, our facilitator, and internally nominated Project Sponsors checked-in via phone/email to assess the progress of the project.
  • Round Table Presentations – Safety Leadership Program Participants presented project outcomes to management during the final session and explored next steps to continue project success.
  • A Safety Behaviours Program (Bottom Up) for all Frontline employees. This was designed to build awareness of appropriate and desired safety behaviours. A short session that was facilitated frequently to ensure all employees had access. The focus was on the ISAT results as a team and at an individual level, with action planning based on their own results.

People Solutions trained internal personnel to be the Project Sponsors, and Leads for the Safety Rapid Results Projects and coached them throughout the program. As well as this, People Solutions coached internal personnel to facilitate the Safety Behaviours Program (Bottom Up).



The Leaders who participated in the program experienced change in personal behaviour associated with safety. Six months after the program, 50% of frontline employees assessed, recorded that they had more than five safety conversations with safety leaders and representatives, and that 75% of all safety conversations were rated by patrols as effective. In addition, all frontline employees could identify one new action or behavior learnt as a result of the workshop.

The number of safety incidents after the program dropped by 40% for the same time-period for the previous year. Following the program there was a 175% increase in safety committee self-nominations and one of the Safety Rapid Results team won the organisation team of the year award.


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