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How To Develop a Successful Safety Strategy For Your Organisation

What does “Corporate Safety Strategy” or “Safety Strategy” mean?

Using the internet, I struggled to find a simple definition for ‘Corporate Strategy’ never mind “Corporate Safety Strategy”.

Try it out.  Enter ‘Best Corporate Strategy’ and see what comes back.

What I did find was the following 2 helpful definitions.

The Harvard Business School (HBS)

Defines Corporate Strategy as being ‘concerned with how companies create value across different businesses‘ by ‘managing resources, risk and return across a firm’.

FT Lexicon

Defines Corporate Strategy as ‘a company’s aims and the way it hopes to achieve them‘…

During my search and review process, I discovered that Corporate Strategy was specific with more focus on strategies for growth, diversification, financial, restructuring etc. 

As a result, I concluded that (for me at least) there was a lack of clarity regarding what exactly Corporate Strategy involved. 

Perhaps we have deviated from core principles, created smoke and mirrors around some fancy words to make it a mumbo-jumbo science. 

Whatever the reason, there was certainly no shortage of experts around what appeared to be a giant subject matter.

Looking for that needle in a haystack 

With my Health, Safety and Environment background (HSE), what did take surprise me was the lack of mention or any reference to Safety in Corporate Strategy.

I was expecting to find lots of references to “Corporate Safety Strategy” with the big companies.

However, I struggled to find any definitive documents, glossy or otherwise, outlining a company’s Corporate Safety Strategy. 

I should have known better

To be honest, looking back over my 30 years in the industry, I haven’t specifically encountered a document titled “Corporate Safety Strategy”.  

There are fragments that support a safety strategy but not a coherent “all in one place” go to a document. It was a case of the sum of the parts make up the whole.

What is a Corporate Safety Strategy?

A “Corporate Safety Strategy” is the Organisation’s road map for achieving objectives or goals for Safety and supporting the delivery of this strategy will be Key Performance Indicators (KPI) based upon a collection of Leading and Lagging indicators.

How to develop your successful corporate safety strategy?

Here, I’ll make reference to the elements Plan, Do, Analyse and Refocus (PDAR) as follows:


To build a successful plan it’s important to know the Gaps.

Gap Analysis can be carried out in many ways and companies may elect bespoke checklists, audits or SWOT type analysis.

At the end of the day, the objective is to develop a road map that is SMART relative to objectives and targets.


With that well thought out Plan it’s time to implement. The “do” part, which is often a missing ingredient.

To execute the tasks set out the plan, it’s important to ensure that resources are available and allocated.

The “do” part must be sustainable and should not be short bursts of efforts to fit in with other commitments.

All too often, setting out intentions are positive but it’s the unforeseen demands that impact on resources resulting in progress slowing down and even stopped.


Sense checking is critical to ensure that we are on the right path.

The analyse aspect requires a review of the objectives and targets relative to Key Performance Indicators (KPI).

It is therefore important to establish KPI early so as to monitor and collect data that is meaningful.

The greater the density of data points, the stronger the signal or message with regard to performance measurement.

However, the quality of data should not be replaced with quantity.


Data analysis on KPI will allow fine tuning on plans, objectives and targets.

It’s common that plans have to be revised due to internal or external changes, which can significantly impact performance.

Early detection will allow change management and refocus.

In conclusion:

A Corporate Safety Strategy is an important statement.

The strategy will not only detail the vision but also the mission, mechanism and pathway for achieving objectives and targets.

Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPI), monitoring and analysis underpins strategic improvement and progress.

Reviewing KPI based upon a combination of Leading and Lagging indicators, will allow the organisation to re-energise their strategic objectives in safety or other specific goals.

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