Challenge the Safety Status Quo

Welcome to my first blog for Keep Safe Consulting

Challenge the status quo in your safety program. Now I don’t mean being disagreeable just to be disagreeable; I mean take a good hard look at the program and ask if it’s really working. I mean question, for effectiveness,  what you do on a regular basis toward and about your safety program. Are the activities and results where you really want them?

I mean take a dive into assessing whether your actions and requirements really are having an impact on safety that you want. WARNING this will take some guts and may raise some eye brows when you take the dive. I’m talking about proactive and measurable activities and behaviours that recognize and encourage positive influence on the safe performance of work.

I’m taking this approach because, for the first 10 years of my time as a safety professional, I bought the act. I blindly implemented what I was told was the right process or tool to put in place. Now I admit, there was some improvement, but only some improvement. There was only some improvement because I focused on injury rates and measured mainly those results.

I talked about reduction of injuries & incidents or celebrated when the number of injuries & incidents dropped. Like most of my colleagues, I measured safety success by the absence of injuries & incidents. Talk about crazy. That’s like playing a game “to not lose” instead of playing a game “to win”.

This approach clearly isn’t working. There is still an alarming number of people killed on the job every day/year?.

Over the last 10 years, I’ve gone back to my roots of leading men in the army. As a young infantry sergeant, I was taught to recognize the behaviour I wanted to see repeated and corrected behaviour that wasn’t acceptable. The result: a team of excellent soldiers that had each other’s backs.

Muster up the courage to ask “Is what I’m doing really – I mean really – giving the results I want,” or ask “am I doing the right things as a leader to influence my people?” Context – If your safety conversations are about the absence of injuries, you’re playing to not lose. Change your conversations so that you’re playing to win.

Ensure your expectations are clear and understood with follow up checks.

Tune in next week for some ideas and tools to challenge the safety status quo and change your safety conversations.