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Resilient Safety

Resilience is knowing that you are the only one that has the power and the responsibility to pick yourself up. – Mary Holloway

Safety is everyone’s responsibility.  This is a statement that has been around industry for decades and one that everyone agrees with.  This is propagated because of the emotion tied to injury, maiming, and fatalities.  Emotion causes everyone in an organization to pay closer attention to issues around safety and can lead to an improved safety record, but only for a while.

Many companies will hire a “motivational safety speaker” (which I have been called from time to time) to increase awareness in the workplace.  We call these meetings Safety Stand Downs because they focus on safety issues and are sometimes scheduled after someone has been injured, maimed, or killed on the job.  Although there is nothing wrong with such a meeting, it is an emotional reaction to hold such a meeting.  In today’s market we need leaders and followers who practice resilient safety.

Being resilient means that organizational leadership has a plan and works towards a continued vision for the workplace that leads to a specific goal.  This is true not only for safety but quality and production as well.  In my book, Conquest for Safety, I encourage the leader to develop his or her Elite Safety Team.  Elite teams in the military, sports, and in business are not affected by emotion.  Each person in this team will know, to paraphrase the quote at the beginning of this article, that he or she is the only one that has the power and the responsibility to pick themselves up.  And others in the organization will begin to follow that same thought process… making it a resilient approach to safety.

If you are an executive, middle-manager, supervisor, or frontline leader you can develop resilient safety to reach the goal of zero-injuries.  With the proper values for safety, you will make decisions based on practical risk mitigation strategies that create a workplace where it is difficult to get hurt.  If you rely on emotion and morale, you will see tops and valleys in your safety trends. To reduce the tops and valleys you need a network of people who are responsible and willing to be held accountable for their actions.

Stop acting on pure emotion and practice leadership.  Great leaders create a trusting environment where followers know what is expected of them and what they can expect to happen.  This is the mark of a successful and sustainable safety culture where it is difficult to get hurt, a resilient safety culture.


Your leadership is required to attain this type of workplace.  To learn more consider studying my book, Conquest for Safety.  Partner that with Dr. Deb Potter’s book, ZERO!, and you have a winning combination.  If you are interested in spending some time with me to help you develop resilient safety, email me at:

Consider attending one of our scheduled open enrollments of the Hazard Recognition and Control Workshop to see if it is a fit for your organization.  Location information is available at:

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