Many company leaders and managers wonder, Are we talking about safety too much? The answer: No one but you knows. Realize that everyone may be a little overwhelmed with all kinds of communications and distractions. Thats why talking about safety effectively is more important than ever.TALKING SAFETYThe fact is that its important to talk about safety. Injuries are a concern for everyone: They are emotional triggers, and they hurt everyone in the organization and at home. Nobody wants to see another person hurt, and nobody wants to get hurt.Consider this question: How can you talk about safety in such a way that your employees dont get sick of hearing about it and therefore stop listening?
THE EMOTIONS OF SAFETY Too often people view and deal with safety in an emotional way. Management gets frustrated when injuries occur and eventually they come out swinging the safety hammer. Pressure mounts and the managers step-up their discipline (or corrective action). Recently, a safety director for a large company described a situation where an employee was fatally injured and two others experienced serious injuries. For years the safety director had tried to get managements attention about needed improvements, but without success. Now everyone in the company seems to be a safety expert; every executive has the answerand everyone has a different solution.When this kind of situation emerges, everything becomes a mess. Finger pointing abounds, and the employees choose sides: Either the problem is technical or its the people.
Employees often begin to be fearful of retribution and decide not to report incidents or injuries. Should this scenario ever occur in your company, you need to diffuse the situation by focusing on the safety process.THE SAFETY PROCESS In order to maintain safety at a level that prevents injuries, you first have to work on dealing with the emotional issues so the focus is on good decision-making. Realize that safety is both art and science and needs to be treated as such. The art is about dealing with peopleestablishing accountabilities, holding people responsible, and building trust. The science of safety is about dealing with behavioral and technical processes. Hazard control is an example of a process that includes both behavioral and technical aspects.