The third book on your punch list is Safety Beyond the Numbers. Having a safety culture is not enough for your construction company. Develop safety ownership with your team members to create true compliance. 


Ken Chapman is an industrial psychologist with 40 years of experience working with foundries, generating plants, paper mills, and other heavy industrial entities. His focus is on leadership development and building strong safety cultures. Tony Orlowski is an engineer and has spent the past 25 years serving in leadership roles as a general manager and executive in heavy industry.


Safety is more about the individual versus company policies and procedures. Safety is about being responsible for one’s own actions not just the rules put in place by the company to follow. Rules are important but so is individual behavior. It’s vital to know from a leadership position that excellent compliance does not mean there will always be excellent safety outcomes. Safety must be an organizational goal and a moral standard for every person in the company.


Leaders are always “on stage” in the workplace, being watched by others. This is an advantage. Leaders can lead by example, managing their own behaviors and words. As a leader, be the example for others in the company to follow. Remember to periodically check yourself in the mirror to ensure you’re on point. A self-evaluation is a best practice for leaders in any organization. Some questions to ask include:

  • Do I strictly follow all company safety rules, or do I act as though I’m above them?
  • Do I accept correction with a sincere, “Thank you!” making it safe to keep me safe?
  • Do I frequently engage others in discussions about safety?
  • Do I signal the value of safety meetings by attending most of them, or do I leave that to others so I can attend to more “important” issues?


Safety Beyond the Numbers provides a clear path toward implementing ownership principles for leaders who see safety as more than a mandated priority. It is for leaders who view the well-being of their people as critical to the business, a prerequisite of doing business and a moral obligation. Each chapter of the book ends with key ideas to summarize the content presented. 


As an organization’s leader, you have great influence. Your actions impact the lives of many people. And when your actions are about safety, that could mean the difference between life and death. It’s not easy to be a leader for your team. There are hard conversations to be had and consistency in telling the correct story is paramount. Remember, being a leader on safety is not about you, it’s about the individuals on the team that make up the company.  

For More Information:

The ownership principles described in Safety Beyond the Numbers are also available in a one-day, introductory seminar and as in-house training for organizations of all kinds. For more, visit

Modern Contractor Solutions, March 2023
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