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Engagement: Learning, Understanding, and Applying to Create a Workplace Where it is Difficult to Get Hurt

You will never gain anyone’s approval by begging for it. When you stand confident in your own worth, respect follows.                                                        ~ Mandy Hale

If there is one thing I have learned over the years about creating safety cultures where zero injuries is possible, when you engage everyone in the process it is impossible to fail. But more than this, everyone must be willing to learn, understand, and apply their new knowledge. Leadership from the top down must foster an environment where everyone feels accountable and responsible for taking action therefore making application.

It is not unusual to still see individuals who have a negative attitude towards safety, but it’s getting better. Typically this is not the individuals issue but one of leadership. The leader who sets up this behavior may have been a former boss who was overbearing and controlling. Although former leadership is responsible for developing this behavior, the new leadership may be the recipient of the negative behavior and have to deal with it. So, what can be done?

Leadership must engage in creating a workplace environment where a positive attitude towards safety is a clear expectation of the job.  To really make positive cultural change that is immediately effective and sustaining it takes individual commitment.

For an individual they must first be willing to set their own course of action. Next time you attend a safety training class, move to the closest seat at the front. Want to be a leader? Then take one or more with you to the front. Once that lone wolf in the crowd finds themselves at the back of the room alone they will move up and join the crowd. Next, take notes and participate in the discussion. When the trainer asks if there are any questions try to have one ready. Soon others will pick up on what’s happening and questions will abound. All it takes is one individual to step-up to begin creating a safe environment of learning.

Creating a workplace where it is difficult to get hurt requires both mitigation of physical and mental hazards. These types of hazards can create higher-risks for injury, but one of them can have a cascading effect on the other. When each individual becomes engaged in safety, physical hazards will be mitigated because of the desire to reduce risk. For example; Walking and texting will be stopped by the individual and they will speak to others concerning this risky behavior. An individual who is engaged will see a trip hazard on the floor and stop to remove it while others observe their behavior. Later, when the observer sees a trip hazard it is likely they will repeat the action.

If you are a leader create an environment where individuals want to engage in the safety process. On the other hand, if you are an individual contributor (employee) then make it your mission to get engaged. When this happens the safety culture becomes one of learning, understanding, and applying. The result is a workplace where Nobody Gets Hurt.

Be Safe!

Carl Potter, CSP

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