Mission First

The Link Between Safety and Mission: 5 Key Practices

As we developed the content for this initiative, our research showed that most leaders get the concept that employees are crucial to mission excellence, but the execution is not as easy. So we turned our focus to those who were getting the execution right. We learned there are 5 KEY PRACTICES for executional excellence in the area of Employee Safety:

Key Practice #1 = Leadership Commitment
Key Practice #2 = Change
Key Practice #3 = Prevention
Key Practice #4 = Respond
Key Practice #5 = Heal

Key Practice #1 = Leadership Commitment

View the Leadership Commitment webinar.

Please watch this short video from our President and CEO, Kevin Trapani, to hear about why Leadership's commitment is the foundation for success.

Mission First: Employee Safety

Key Practice #2 = Change

View the Change Behavior webinar.

Mission First is all about change.

Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA Workplace Safety Program

We all know that change is hard. Many employers think this is because people are resistant to change or just lazy. When a change initiative fails, it's actually more likely due to confusion or a lack of knowledge of what to do, rather than refusal to do so.

In the book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, by Chip and Dan Heath, the authors describe human motivation as an elephant being driven by a rider. The Elephant represents the emotional side – passion, drive and empathy – and can be distracted by temptations and shrinks at big challenges. The Rider is the analytical side – planning and long-term thinking – and can be weakened by over-thinking and decision-making paralysis. As you can imagine, a rider could have a tough time controlling an elephant, and you can see why change can seem impossible.

The keys to making change happen are laid out in the Switch framework below.

Direct the Rider.

Find the Bright Spots

You already have safe employees and operations. Determine what's working. Look to your employees who have insight on techniques or habits they use to stay safe. Find your locations that are incident-free. And look to peers who have been successful.

Script the Critical Moves

After you determine what's working, replicate it across your organization. Lay out the specific steps to creating a culture of safety, using the tools provided on this website.

Point to the Destination

Paint a picture of success for your employees to strive towards – not just 'X amount of days since our last workplace injury' but within the context of fulfilling your mission.

Motivate the Elephant.

Find the Feeling

Cost data and injury statistics aren't enough to motivate change; you have to find the emotional button that will help your organization change – empathy for their peers and members, fear of the worst case scenario, or passion to make things different.

Shrink the Change

Big changes can be intimidating, so break the change down into baby steps and essentially, 'lower the bar.' Remember that you're already on the way. You have safe employees and operations, you just need to help to grow that change. Concentrate on one facet of workplace safety at a time. For example, monthly safety topics can make your Project Mission Safe seem less overwhelming.

Grow Your People

Elephants need to feel empowered. By changing the conversation, you are reminding everyone that they are valued members of your organization. You can further impact your goal by empowering your employees to grow their skills. Make sure they have the necessary resources to learn how to help build a safer environment. Turn workplace safety into Mission Safety.

Shape the Path.

Tweak the Environment

Often people behave based on their environments, so if you change the environment, you can change their behavior. For example, build toddler steps up to the changing tables in your childcare rooms to reduce child lifting injuries.

Build Habits

Once behavior becomes a habit, change is much easier. Look for action triggers that can help shape habits. Staff can remind each other during play time not to participate but rather supervise. Another good rule of thumb is, if you wouldn't let the children do it, you shouldn't do it either.

Rally the Herd

It's a well-known fact that people follow the crowd when it comes to behavior. What isn't as well-known is that you need to find your first followers, the people that will make it easier for the rest of the group to follow. You must establish a group to lead the change, from executive management to program managers to staff. As more and more employees embrace the movement, the easier it is for others to participate.

Key Practice #3 = Prevention

View the Prevent webinar.

Education is the key to prevention.


Virtuous Cycle

The most important outcome of this initiative will be to prevent incidents before they occur. Learning from our mistakes makes us stronger. In fact, that's the model for Redwoods. We not only have the most focused collection of claims data for Ys, JCCs and non-profit camps in the US, we share the safety-improving stories hidden inside that data. We call it the “Virtuous Cycle.”

Our own data-fueled learnings combined with those we gleaned during our research and development of Mission First : Employee Safety provide a number of great tools for you to apply within your organization. To deploy these tools in your organization, just follow the links below.

Of course the most valuable investment you can make in your time and resources to this initiative will be to prevent incidents before they occur. This requires an organization-wide commitment to safety from your staff.

This section provides some useful tools to establish ongoing workplace safety awareness in your organization, beginning with establishing a commitment from the leadership at the top.

Management Resources Employee Resources
Management Statement of Commitment Use this document to gain commitment from the highest levels of the organization to create a workplace safety program. Employee Statement of Responsibilities Have all staff acknowledge their responsibilities and commit to maintain a safe work environment.
Guide to Establishing a Safety Committee A safety committee not only makes safety efforts more visible, it also engages people from across the organization. Employee Orientation Checklist The time to start good safety practices is when a new employee joins your organization. This checklist helps training staff make sure safety is a top priority.
Monthly Safety Topics These monthly safety topics can be used in many ways - email, meetings, trainings, etc. We've also provided suggestions on how to align the dates of these messages with programming and seasonality. New Employee Orientation / Refresher Use this content in your orientation presentations or wherever you need to reinforce preventative safety topics with your staff.

Online Training

The Redwoods Institute provides online training for staff at no cost for Redwoods workers' compensation customers, plus tracking so you can monitor who has taken and passed each course. Topics around workplace safety include:

  • Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Defensive Driving
  • Hazard Communication
  • Slips, Trips & Falls
  • Safe Lifting
  • Sexual Harassment Prevention

Log on to the Redwoods Institute:
Redwoods Institute

Key Practice #4 = Respond

View the Respond webinar.

Don't let a workplace injury catch you off guard.

When an incident happens, it's important to act quickly and purposefully. Everyone in your organization needs to know what to do. Timing is critical. Currently, 30% of worker's compensation claims are not reported until 2-4 days later. Another 20% don't report the claim until 5-7 days after the incident. Establishing the right protocols helps you protect your staff and your organization from additional harm and unnecessary costs. We need to help identify the cause of the injury and prevent further injuries and help the employee get the care they need. The sooner the claim is filed, the sooner we can begin the healing process.

In order for you to react properly when an incident does occur, we have created these resources.

Investigation & Review

Injury investigating and Reporting Overview
This checklist can help you determine the responsibilities of the employees, supervisors, and HR directors in investigating and reporting an incident. By determining these roles clearly, you can focus your time on caring for the injured employee(s).

Injury Review & Actions
This guide can help you complete a full review of the incident to both understand the full situation of what happened and help prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

Incident Reporting

Introduction to the Workplace Incident Reporting Form
Learn why completing this form is critical, not just for OSHA compliance.

How to Complete the Workplace Incident Reporting Form
Before you get started, review the instructions for filling out the Workplace Incident Reporting Form to make sure it gets completed accurately.

Workplace Incident Reporting Form
This useful form helps you officially gather the right information you need when an event occurs. It also ensures compliance with OSHA regulations.

Key Practice #5 = Heal

View the Heal webinar.

Showing you care is your mission.

We learned in our development of Mission First that healing is an awesome concept…if done right. Injuries are transformative for the injured, their family and their colleagues. But someone has to make the phone calls, someone has to make sure the process is about healing and not just about process. This is about bringing your best employees back to work, because you care about them and you care about your mission.

We share here the concepts and tools of Gold Standard healing paths for injured employees. Additionally, we call on you and your leadership to show you care. Our research and experience in management shows that organizations who can demonstrate the simple act of caring to injured employees have better outcomes.

The employee sees leadership's mission in action, and as a bonus returns to helping you further your mission faster.

Return to Work Guide

This extensive guide helps you get your employees back on their feet after an injury.

Sample Get Well Notes

Use these examples of how to show you care when an employee is out of work due to an injury.