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Safety Respond Ability (SRA) / Also, Safety Video: The ART of Safety

In my seminars, I talk to workers, supervisors, and management about their responsibility for creating a workplace where nobody gets hurt. Sure, we all have various responsibilities or duties, obligations, or liabilities. When it comes to safety, the company has a responsibility to provide a workplace free of hazards and employees have the obligation to follow the safe work practices prescribed by the company (CFR 1910.269 General Duty Clause). Responsibility is a noun – as a word, it doesn’t contain any action. The action comes when we respond to our responsibilities.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word respond as “to make a reply; answer; or to act in return or in answer.” Think about this for a moment: how well you carry out your responsibilities with regard to safety has everything to do with your ability to respond – or to take action in response to something either safe or unsafe. So how do you know what your ‘respond ability’ is?
Consider these five statements that I believe define a person’s safety respond ability or SRA. A person with a high SRA:

  • Personally conducts or ensures that others conduct job briefings before the work commences. By reviewing the known or potential hazards related to the work and how to deal appropriately with them, everyone’s ability to respond to situations that may arise on the job site will be much higher.
  • Is fully present when on the job site. When this person is working or observing work, he or she is engaged in what is going on and is ready to take necessary actions to ensure that the work is completed safely.
  • Ensures that everyone on the job is qualified to do the work. The person with a high SRA ensures that everyone involved in the job is properly trained and has demonstrated proficiency to do the assigned task.
  • Continually learns about hazards related to the work and shares information freely and effectively with others. When a person has a high SRA, he or she recognizes that simply attending a required OSHA class does not cover everything needed to do the job safely. Situations change, equipment ages, things happen – it takes an open mind to keep learning about how to respond effectively so everyone goes home every day without an injury.
  • Gets involved in the safety process every day. To have an ever-increasing ability to respond to unsafe conditions, a person – no matter what their job is – must get involved in the process of safety by analyzing worksites for hazards, reporting unsafe conditions, stopping the work if the proper procedures aren’t being followed, and recognizing others when they are doing the work safely.

What can you do today, right now, to raise your SRA – your ability to respond to safe and unsafe conditions? What would happen if you worked every day to raise your safety respond ability just a little bit – how much safer would your workplace be? And just imagine what your workplace would be like if everyone did the same thing? Then you’d be creating a workplace where nobody gets hurt.

Written by Carl Potter, CSP, CMC
Carl Potter, CSP, CMC works with organizations that want to create an environment where nobody gets hurt.  As an advocate for zero-injury workplaces, he is a nationally-renowned safety speaker, author, and advisor to industry. He also enjoys flying his own plane and infusing aviation knowledge into workplace safety. For information about his programs and products, see or contact him at Potter and Associates International, Inc. 800-259-6209 or

This video is available as a DVD by Clicking Here 

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