Safety is not Rocket Science Part 1

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There is kind of a weird thing going on right now in the world of safety professionals…not in the world of safety itself but the world of the people that are safety practitioners. And it’s frustrating. It’s something that I’ve observed for many years that has bothered me about some of my fellow safety professionals. I always try to let my students in classes know that safety is not rocket science. That safety is for everybody. And what gets some safety people into trouble is that they try to make it seem like safety is super difficult, it’s rocket science, and you need the safety person at every step of the way to get the job done safely. So, this creates a problem with safety cultures right? That a safety professional gets super frustrated at their company because the people don’t care about safety. When…for years that same safety professional, has most likely been telling their people in training that safety is difficult, that they need safety at every step of the way, that the actual safety professional needs to be there every step of the way instead of being that resource and education point & letting their people know how they can get the job done safely while having a safety professional at their disposal is the wrong word….but someone at their convenience that can reach out anytime and have safety professional provide their opinion, resources, expertise, and be there for them. But, safety really is our people’s responsibility. It’s the people in the field. They must make the safety program live at the field level. No matter what type of job it is…it’s a manufacturing plant, it’s a construction job site….it is those individual workers who are doing the difficult tasks. They are the people that need to make safety live every day while doing their job. And if they need you or they have been trained that they think they need you there as a safety professional every step of the way…..short cuts are going to happen, excuses are going to roll out, and you are going to have a safety culture problem. So, my challenge to fellow safety professionals is to adopt that attitude. Safety’s not rocket science. Safety is for everyone. And, safety truly is everybody’s responsibility right? I need you to actually believe that and live that and train your people that way. That…they will do things safely even if you are not around. Because, that’s the whole point. That…you want them to have integrity in the safety program that no matter if you’re there or a manager is there or anyone is there watching them…or not watching them, that they are doing what they have been trained to do. Because, it is the right thing to do. So what do you think? How can you step back a little bit and…I’m not asking you to say that safety is not difficult or that there are not difficult things that a safety professional needs to weigh in on…but overall the day to day safety…we should be able to train our people and have that confidence that they are going to make the right decisions. Because, you provided the resources, you provided the knowledge & the training, and you’re there in case they need you. They can text you, call you, call for you because you’re within ear shot. So how can you make sure that when you deliver your next training class or next tailgate meeting…or plant wide safety meeting…that you are giving people the resources and information that they need so that when you go back to your office, or if you’re at a  safety conference, or you’re doing something else…that they still are going to make safety live on the job?

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