The need to include safety in strategic planning has never been clearer. Traditional approaches to safety have stalled performance. Stand-alone initiatives create a silo of program activities that are separate from the organization mainstream and do little to improve performance. When safety is done right, however, it can produce dramatic returns. To get the most out of safety means making it a strategic issue—one that is planned for and discussed at the highest levels of the organization.

This is no secret to most leaders. They understand that safety has a lot to offer their organization. The problem is traditional approaches to safety and long-standing business practices have inadvertently put up barriers to making safety part of corporate strategy. Most organizations aren't treating safety as strategy because they're not effectively engaging the boardroom and C-suite in the safety discussion. Board members don't always see how safety fits into the other aspects of their business, and safety leaders are often ill-equipped to provide the necessary information and direction to help executives recognize the paths they can take to integrate safety into long-term strategy and business planning.

This paper draws on the lessons of world-class organizations to show how to get safety strategy into the boardroom in a way that cascades down to action at every level.

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