Safety Blog Sign-up

Sign Up Now

Safety Speakers

Hazard Reporting App

Monthly Safety Topic

Being Safe: Be Committed, Act Compliant, and Get Competent

If you want to be safe at work, home, and play you need to have certain characteristics that can be seen by others.  When someone claims that you are a safe person, they have observed something about you that resonates with being safe.  Someone who is safe can be observed as committed to injury-free work, compliant with safety practices, and working with competency (skills and knowledge).  People who achieve an accepted level of success in any of life’s endeavors usually demonstrate these characteristics.

High achievers spot rich opportunities swiftly, make big decisions quickly and move into action immediately. Follow these principles and you can make your dreams come true. ~ Robert H. Schuller

Commitment is more than just saying you will do something; it means you are bought into the process.  There is a funny analogy about who is more committed to providing you a bacon and egg breakfast, the chicken or the pig?  Obviously the pig has given the ultimate sacrifice to provide the bacon.  To be committed to something, you may have to risk standing against the norm when you point out that there is a safer way to accomplish a task.  Continued improvement to reduce risk in your activities requires a constant review of current safety practices and correct analysis of hazards.  Conversely, those who are less committed to safety may not be compliant with safety practices previously chosen by the group or be open to new ways to doing a task safer.

Typically, compliance can provide a barrier to injury during an accident or event.  I met a lady in one of my workshops who was lucky she did not die when her husband made a left turn at a traffic light and the passenger door opened.  She hung onto the door and was swung out with her feet flailing in the air and was skinned up from her knees down before he could stop.  Had she had her seatbelt on, the event of the door swinging open would have certainly scared her, but she would have not been injured.  By her own admission she didn’t have the seat belt on because it would wrinkle her dress.  As a result, she is committed to wearing the seat belt.  Safety practices are typically in place because of previous events that caused injures or fatalities.  If we are compliant to the current safety practices, we are viewed as being safe.  Further, it is important that we become competent and continually learn in order to maintain our competency.

Being competent takes time – time to learn, practice, and understand the ‘how’, ‘what’, and ‘why’ of following safety practices.  At first we may look at a safety practice and think, “That is the stupidest rule!”  Take the same person and tell them that they are assigned to teach the safety practice at the next meeting and you will likely find a person who knows how to perform the practice, what to do, and can clearly tell you why the practice is important.  Competency comes from being compliant and improving your job-related knowledge and skills.  I practice this approach in my flying.

Last fall I purchased a faster and more capable airplane.  It just so happens that when a plan is faster it typically will not takeoff and land as short as the slow airplane when carrying the same load or more.  Physics work!  So I have spent time reading my Pilot Operating Handbook (POH), and a book called “Flying the Centurion 210” (my airplane’s model).  I learned the shortest distance required for takeoffs and landings with certain conditions by studying, then went out and practiced so I could be competent.  In this case I had to comply with operational safety practices to become more competent.  Being a safe pilot to me is about commitment to being a safe aviator, compliance with safe operational procedures, and competent to perform the skills required in different conditions.

Being safe at work, home, or play means you are committed to safety and you will likely be compliant, and desire to be competent.  In the end, the result is a successful, challenging and interesting life that you can look back on in your old age and say, “My life has been full and exciting because I was safe.”

Be Safe!

Carl Potter


Carl Potter, is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) who presents his motivational safety message to audiences across the United States.  In addition, he is the author of more than a dozen safety books, is the founder of the Safety Institute, and is an Aircraft Commander and Safety Officer for the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.   Carl is considered an expert in training personnel in hazard recognition and control process.  To learn more about Carl Potter and how he might work with your organization to create a workplace where it is difficult to get hurt, visit:

You can email him directly with questions and comments at:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *