This view may conflict with a traditional view of security. “It’s important to understand the old view of security, the focus was primarily on resourcing the security function only to the point that it would meet compliance and avoid negative press,” DeBow says.

As a result, strategies were often more tied to empowering the workforce alone for safety, with solutions primarily targeting the worker rather than the systems around the workforce. Thus, the “old view” of safety is very different from the current risk-based approach, which prioritizes leaders and workers participating and collaborating around the identification and management of risks.

Safety these days is as much about ensuring the health and safety of workers as it is about ensuring there is Level C support and understanding of the risks the worker is facing. “In other words, there’s a lot more recognition today that security is a result of our business practices,” says DeBow. “When we build safer work environments, we see adjacent benefits in other important areas such as quality, creativity and innovation. From a direct cost perspective, improved safety creates fewer accidents, less absenteeism and less turnover. “When we properly understand the risk to workers, we can rightly invest in what is needed to get the job done safely,” he says.

In this more modern view, security officers are not just those who have a title with “safety” – a safety leader is anyone who can influence safety on behalf of another, “and that’s all of us,” says DeBow . Every person in the organization has a role to play, from security managers to human resources or facilities management managers.

As security leaders, you need to build belief and capability around understanding risk and how to communicate. Leveraging these commonalities connects to a larger security strategy and amplifies the security message across different functions within an organization, DeBow says.


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