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Case Study
Apr 1, 2022

Improving Safety Through Changed Behaviors

Written by: Will Smith & Brendan Leary



A mining company was able to almost half safety incidents thanks to McChrystal Group’s newly introduced reporting programs, communications processes, and leader behaviors.


Why this industry/problem set is relevant in the world today:

While employee safety is of course a priority for all businesses, in certain high-risk and stringently regulated industries, safety is the number one concern. Adding processes and reporting structures, however, is not enough to create a safety-first culture; the correct behaviors need to be in place so that everyone not only understands but upholds their responsibilities.



McChrystal Group partnered with an industry-leading mining company to improve safety-related near miss and hazard reporting habits. The mine had historically been safe but suffered a fatality in late 2015. The incident led the management to comprehensively review the safety culture and identify a lack of channels for miners to report hazards and take responsibility for the safety of their environment.

  • Fear of reprisal:
    miners feared reprimands or punishments from notifying management of unsafe conditions more than they feared the actual hazard or desire to help their fellow miners.
  • Poor experiences from previous attempts at creating a near-miss reporting program:
    Monetary incentives had skewed behavior towards quantity of reports, not quality.
  • Inconsistent and unclear communication from leaders on safety priorities.



  • McChrystal Group created a comprehensive and simple safety reporting program: “Recognize, Report, Resolve” (3R) and trained all miners and leaders on how to properly use the new reporting program.
  • Through a series of group workshops and individual coaching, McChrystal Group aligned leaders at all levels on the importance of safety. Across divisions and levels, all leaders needed to communicate the same message.
  • After analyzing their existing communication methods, McChrystal Group introduced new forums where safety concerns could be discussed. By providing feedback quickly, miners saw that their work generated results and management recognized their improvements.
  • The new communication forums not only allowed for concerns to be raised but successes to be celebrated. When a hazard was reported and resolved, leaders could capitalize on the resolved hazard to spur similar behavior in the future.
  • Through the implementation of an extensive leader development program, leaders learned how to create an operating environment that allowed their team to voice concerns up the chain of command. Mistakes were shared and collective learning took place amongst peers, subordinates, and superiors. By fostering a learning environment, leaders were better able to drive accountability.



  • Safety reporting increased by 449% over previous year
  • Drop in incident rate by 45% over previous year
  • Communication on safety issues encouraged communication on other issues, increasing collaboration and teamwork across the mine site

McChrystal Group Case Study: Improving Safety Through Changed Behaviors

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