There are very few strictly “health or safety problems.” But there are many leadership and organizational culture problems that show up in accidents, sickness, absenteeism, conflict, stress, and other symptoms of ineffectiveness. Like incompetent doctors, ineffective managers often make people sicker. Research shows that workers are three times more likely to experience accidents in a depressing workplace. Workers involved in accidents or with higher levels of sickness have lower levels of job and organizational involvement and input. And a high stress workplace correlates with higher levels of sickness and injuries. The quality of supervision and leadership is a key factor in determining workplace stress levels.

Recently Jennifer Miconi-Howse, Communications Officer for the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (I am providing the opening keynote at their annual conference on Leading Workplace Change on March 8, 2010) interviewed me on the keys to building a healthier and safer workplace. We discussed:

• The Connection Between Leadership and Health and Safety – balancing management and leadership and the central role of emotions, caring, and employee engagement to reduce “we/they gaps.”

• Barrick Gold’s Stellar Example of Dramatic Culture Change – how they achieved a 75% reduction in safety incidents worldwide over three years. If you’d like to know more about their story and read articles written by their SVP, Don Ritz go to an earlier blog posting at

• Developing a Health and Safety Culture – how core values anchor organizational efforts while rules of engagement, norms, or expectations frame team efforts. Having courageous conversations and dealing with Moose on the Table ® are key elements.

You can listen to the 10 minute interview at