Jul 25, 2012 / by Alisa Hafen / No Comments

If you think about safety, it seems that we all have a safety filter.

This filter exists in the minds of the people as they work.  It is this filter which stops us from doing things which could certainly hurt us. However, the barriers to taking shortcuts are often nullified by the imperative to finish the task or the pressure to behave in a certain way.

This pressure can be exerted by our peers as well as our immediate supervisors. It easily overrides our sense of self preservation.

-How safely will you work?

-Do you have a choice?

-Are you in charge of your own behaviour? If not, who is?

-Do you make a deliberate choice to take an unsafe shortcut in your work?

-What goes through your mind when you know that you are working unsafely?

-Are you anxious to complete that dangerous part of the task so that you can go onto something which is less risky?

-Or do you think that the risk you are taking is an acceptable part of your job?

It is felt that the secret is in creating an environment which encourages you to be proud of your safe working habits.

In addition, we should recognize your safe working habits as part of good performance management techniques. This positive reinforcement will ensure that your safe working habits will be repeated.

To do this, we must be present in your workplace on a regular basis so that we can recognize your good example. If we fail to recognize your safe behaviour, we should have no expectation that it will continue. We can fail to recognize your safe behaviour by, never visiting your workplace, or, by only catching you doing the job incorrectly.  Recognizing safe behaviour, can take the form of a nod, a thank you, a comment regarding the good example, a note, or any other way.

There are three factors which must be considered with positive recognition.
First, if recognition is given too often, its worth will be devalued.
Second, if it is given too rarely, it will have little impact.
Third, if the recognition is given whilst the person is doing the job it will have the greatest effect.

The leader’s job is to ensure that factors one and two are avoided. The task of the leader is to work out how he or she is going to be present in the work place on a regular basis.  They are going to have to plan their daily visits to the work area and be ready to identify anyone who deserves recognition as well as planning how they are going to deliver positive reinforcement.

We will start by saying “Thank you for working safely today!!”

“Injuries have never been part of the ‘Cost’ of doing business… Injuries are the Cost of doing business the wrong way.” -Unknown