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Safety Entrapment: Keep Calm and Safety On!

Do you ever feel trapped by safety?  I know this sounds funny coming from a guy in my position, but many tell me this without referring to themselves as “trapped.”  There are a lot of rules, regulations, best practices, and shall dos’ in the world of safety.  Every month a new concept for creating a safe workplace emerges from the bowels of the internet.  In every case the person selling you on the new concept means well however, they have an agenda.

It never surprises me to go to a conference and find salesmen for a new “end-all injuries” safety management system, safety training process, or safety gadget.  Because safety is such an emotional topic with executives, they can become the most enamored and easily sold.  The truth is that everything works together or it doesn’t work at all.

When the executive returns from the conference that he or she just attended, they cannot wait to call the safety manager to share a new-found concept.  Many times, this is when I get a call.  Since the manager and I are friends, or I am retained as a safety advisor, they want to know, “What do I do? “ My advice?  Keep Calm and Safety On!”

The only new ideas that are not subject to our skepticism or suspicion are our own. –       Cullen Hightower

Link to Printable Safety On Poster

Just because the executive has seen something new that makes perfect sense to them, does not mean it fits into the organizational safety management strategy.  Being the calm in the storm of ideas is a critical element to maintaining a positive safety culture.  Stay focused and become the leader.  Ask them:

  •  How does this fit in our current strategy?
  • Is this new idea going to be considered, “Just a flavor of the month?”
  • Do we have the current resources to execute this well (time, money, and personnel)?
  • How does this concept differ from what we are doing, have done in the past, and are planning to do in the future? and,
  • If we choose to implement this concept, how would we know it was successful?

In my work acting as a third-party safety advisor these are some of the questions I ask.  Realize that sometimes when the questions are coming from me the answers are less guarded, but I think they can work for you, too.  The key to attaining and sustaining a positive safety culture is a well-thought-out strategy.  Many of the new concepts may be more of a tactical nature and can upset the calm and create a feeling of safety entrapment.   In other words, they may not fit your strategy.

Take time to work with organizational leaders to develop an overall safety strategy.  Keep the strategy front and center in their minds so they will be less likely to try to introduce a new “flavor of the month” every time they see something new.  And, help them evaluate new ideas and concepts they find to assess if they fit into the strategy.  Have a safety strategy in mind so everyone can keep calm and safety on – and everyone can go home every day without injury.

Be Safe!

Carl Potter


Carl Potter: safety speaker, author, and advisor who is a Certified Safety Professional and Certified Management Consultant with more than 38 years of industry experience and 23 years of consulting to organizations to prevent injuries.  Today his clients count on his experience and knowledge to help make decisions concerning their safety culture.  He connects at all levels of the organization coaching executives, managers, supervisors, and motivating employees.  He is a popular speaker at annual safety meetings and conferences.  If you would like to learn how Carl might be able to help your organization email him at: to set up a conference call.  Safety books written by Carl are available for purchase at:

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