One of the most common, yet hidden risks many business fail to recognise is where the activities or task execution and safety protocols are not aligned.

Incidents that can be attributed to Plan Compliance and Safety Compliance are often represented as an employee error, without the recognition that poor workplace organisation has created employee dilemmas.  Its these dilemmas that lead to the employee making decisions that either negatively effect the planned work or require the employee to fail to adhere to the safe systems of work that exist.

The presence of trade-offs and its elimination is the focal point of safety practice and theory.  Production versus Safety trade-off is an inability to deliver the production plans or tasks and ensure compliance to safety requirements, simultaneously due to poor production or safety organisation and accumulated production underruns.  The more pressure (Volume or Time) placed on and employee to complete targets the greater the likelihood dilemmas will turn onto negative or risky decisions.


The trouble with the trade-offs is departments tend to work in isolation and have their own funtional objectives.  Rules, procedures and measures are put in place to help the department drive the right behaviours and deliver on its functional objectives.  However due to a lack of integration, unwittingly the dilemmas are created.

Here is an example of a real case where the employee has had to make trade-off decisions.  In our example the employees bonus is linked to competing functional objectives, whilst trying to generate the required behaviours, the incentive doesn’t have to be financial, mearly goal orienteted.  “tell me how you will measure me and I will tell you how I am going to behave” – Eliyahu M. Goldratt

En-Sync 8020 Trade Offs - Poor Planning

Here is another example were we often find there been some variation from the plan, norm or standard.  Its common knowledge that many businesses now focus on the causes of variation to improve performance and outputs by making the workplace more reliable.

Variations cause a moment where an employee may become susceptible to the same dilemmas as caused by the pressures of the planned work discussed previously.  However in this example the operator feels compelled to make a decision due to having some knowledge of the consequences of following a procedure.  Looming in the background is the poor organisation which becomes the root cause of the dilemma.   en-sync-8020-trade-offs-poor-organisation-v1Our approach to Plan Compliance and Safety Compliance allows the root causes of these dilemmas to be exposed.  Our approach to improving Plan Compliance and Safety Compliance takes the forms of Audits, Interviews, Inspections and Observations.  The key elements include but not limited to.

  • Availability of operational management units, which are utilised
  • The presence of the optimal plan operator to decisions
  • Identification and assessment of operational risks for each action
  • The presence of key security risk indicators
  • Availability of 6 levels of risk control and monitoring of key indicators
  • Availability management monitoring of operational risks
  • The presence of a continual learning system
  • Indicators of the operational control unit and the operator work

We also recommend the complete integration of all productive and safety information.  These include standards, plans, systems and procedures.   We recommend that technology be used to ensure the right information is available at all times for those closest to the execution of work.  When and if variation occurs or standards are not achieved the accountable person can be notified immediately to ensue an appropriate response is taken.