Safety Culture – Twelve Steps to a Change Management Checklist

By James Roughton and Nathan Crutchfield

Conducting site reviews (audits), areas surveys, findings from job hazard analysis (JHA), and observations may uncover perceptions, areas or tasks that must be quickly addressed. To be effective, change management must be used if the necessary revisions and actions are to be effectively implemented. These should be viewed within the framework an Occupational Health and Safety Management Process (OHSM), i.e., the ANSI Z10.) Too often, we have seen a change process end with the submission of a safety consultant’s report, the issuing of a revised manual, a training meeting with employees, set on a shelf to collect dust, etc.

As change is mandated and communicated, the task is perceived to be completed with “training of the employees” and on to other problems without regard to the level of retention on the trainees part. Whoa! It’s much more the that. In the real world of interdepartmental conflicts, egos, varying skill levels and all the other faults that humans bring into the workplace, the question is, ” What can be done to improve the potential for the successful launch of a change initiative?”

Changes in the Workplace As change agents, we must remember that anytime something new is introduced into the workplace; new, modified or relocated equipment or process, different materials, a new building, etc., an array of new hazards and their associated risks come into play. Some hazards will be obvious, just by looking at the situation, while others will be hidden in the interrelationships of the newly introduced elements only to be discovered when a loss producing event occurs. If you are considering any change in the workplace, you will need to conduct a thorough analysis of the proposed change to identify specific hazards. This analysis is essential before implementation of any change if you are to have a high potential to head off problems with the implementation.

What is Change Management? Change management is a methodical process that should enable the establishment of the new change, assure the alignment of all employees and resources required, and ensure that the change is properly implemented. All change, regardless of size and scope should be managed. Change management is usually not considered part of the day-to-day activities but is an essential part of any process. Many day-to-day activities involve some degree of change, such an employee re-assignment, maintenance schedules for downtime, as well as various policies, procedures, and protocols that must be modified.

Basic Change Management Checklist

The following is a basic change management checklist that provides insights to a management team during a process change endeavor. This can be modified to meet specific scope and depth of the nature of the change you intend to manage.

  1. Has the problem that identifies the need for change been clearly identified?
  2. Has the current condition requiring change been identified and analyzed?
  3. Is the desired final condition (vision of what is expected) clearly determined and stated
  4. Do any new values, attitudes, and beliefs needed to accommodate the change need to be determined. Habits, old methods, ingrained attitudes may need to be addressed (“We don’t need, do; it won’t work here, etc. attitudes).
  5. Designated person(s) have been assigned the responsibility to ensure the change is properly managed to improve the potential for success
  6. The process to achieve the desired change, including consulting with all the people affected by the change has been defined, reviewed, approved and communicated
  7. All affected managers and supervisors have been identified, understand the need for change and are on board with the change
  8. All affected personnel have been identified, understand the need for change and are on board with the change
  9. Potential “collisions” with other departmental or organizational changes and endeavors have been identified and adjusted.
  10. The schedule for implementation has been developed, approved and communicated.
  11. Positive reinforcement methods have been developed and communicated for new behaviors by supervision and management
  12. Follow-up actions have been planned and scheduled to verify that the change has been successful.

Effective change management can reduce the potential of error by managers, supervisors and employees. Consider the use of a structured approach to planning and implementing change to reduce error potential to achieve a successful and long term continuous improvement of your OHSMS process.

References US Department of Energy Human Performance Improvement Handbook, Volume 1, DOE-HDBK-1028-2009 Roughton, James, Nathan Crutchfield; Job Hazard Analysis. A Guide to Compliance and Beyond, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2008 Roughton, James; Developing an Effective Safety Culture: A Leadership Approach, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2002

James Roughton, CSP, Six Sigma Black Belt is very passionate about developing social networking strategies for Small Businesses. I am on a journey of discovery and want to spread the word about how to develop and maintain effective social networking strategies to maximize exposure on the internet.

I am a Certified Safety Professional, Six Sigma Black Belt, an Inbound Marketing Certified Professional, Inbound Marketing Educator, freelance author, blogger, Social Media Marketing Strategist, Technical Trainer, Safety Professional, on-line entrepreneur, and social networking guru. I love to help beginners and small businesses develop WordPress Websites that can navigate and explore the Social Network Jungle one step at a Time. You can visit my blogs at:

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