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There is No Magic Safety Bullet

Many times I see clients change the mode for creating a safe workplace because they just attended a safety conference where they experienced a cool “new” way to approach their goal.  It is always well meaning and never done with malice, however sometimes it tends to make the workforce ask, “”What the heck is going on now?”

It is by attempting to reach the top in a single leap that so much misery is caused in the world. ~ William Cobbett

Sometimes the company brings in a speaker who has a great message and tells their story; a safety management process that counts all the incidents, near misses, etc. and prepares cool graphics; or a new enlightened way of thinking about safety.  In our office we get the call from a prospective new client who asks, “If we work with you how many injuries can we expect to prevent?”  Or they ask, “How does your approach compare to…?” and they insert the name one of my friends who is in the safety business.  The truth of the matter is creating a safe workplace simply requires leaders who care enough to continue learning about safety and realizing they can’t just jump from one mode to another without causing confusion in the workforce and perhaps causing employees to altogether disengage in the safety process.

Some of my most successful clients have a mix of modes for creating a safe workplace and they always include employee engagement.  When everyone from the top down learns the basics of creating a safe workplace through hazard recognition and control, everyone takes responsibility for applying those principals, and everyone is willing to be held accountable for their own behaviors, the goal will be achieved.  There is no magic bullet.

A commitment to hazard recognition and control will result in a reduction in the number of injuries and an increase in the number of times zero injuries is achieved on job assignments.  This commitment must be from the top to the lowest rung of the corporate ladder.  Without the commitment to creating a workplace where it is more difficult to get hurt, none of the new modes of approaching safety will sustain the desired goal.

New modes of preventing injuries in the workplace are well and good, but they should be used with caution.  Remember that the person trained to complete a job if properly trained, motivated, and committed to not getting hurt is your best mode of safety.  Ask yourself:

  • How well are our executives, managers, supervisors, leads, and workforce trained to create a safe workplace using basic hazard recognition and control methods?
  • How are we motivating everyone from the top down to create a safe workplace?
  • How committed are we as an organization to create a workplace where it is difficult to get hurt?

Before you throw another safety program at your workplace, spend some time and consider these three questions.  If you want to teach everyone in your organization from the top down the basics of safety, consider my Hazard Recognition and Control Workshop.  Before you call, make sure it isn’t just another attempt at using a magic safety bullet to reach zero injuries.

Be Safe!



2 Responses to There is No Magic Safety Bullet

  • Roger schnering says:

    I have some safety observations from my previous employer of 28 years. senior Management drove safety down the employees throats as they always know best. in fact they disengaged the people that they needed to be safety, flavor of the day just confuses them . What worked for me as a safety manager is to help / empower employees starting at the bottom. Help the plant create a safety culture that has people looking out for each other. help them develop goals that they are responsible for. But to develop this safety culture management has to be engaged as well, there is no I in team and to have a true safety culture we need equal participation up and down the safety ladder.

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