Search Results for: Pro-active

SoSSB 10P 10 Pro-active Action



Safety Tip #10 in the series


The purpose of this series is to give struggling-but-eager SHE professionals and practitioners, who are working for financially-constrained companies, pointers on how to get the safety awareness message across to both management and workers, on a shoestring budget.

“There is nothing which moves people more than ACTION,
and nothing which is more powerful than prompt, PRO-ACTIVE ACTION.”
Jurgen Tietz
Bias towards ACTION is what counts …
Bias for Action by Jurgen Tietz Safety Speaker

  “Acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes.”
   Synonyms: farseeing, forward-looking
   Antonyms: half-baked, shortsighted
   (Merriam-Webster Student Dictionary)

  Corrective action is taken following incidents and investigations.
  Often  wait-&-see-&-hope-for-the-best  instead of  take-charge-&-own-SAFETY.

One of the problems is that safety professionals are swamped with admin and paper work. Reports, statistics, emails and then, of course, one of the number one time wasters: meetings.


Analyse your activities.
  How many fall into the re-active category?
  Most people do 95% plus in response to things, audit findings, requests, etc.

Analyse the decisions taken in your safety meetings.
  Which are re-active vs. pro-active?
  How many of those are actually closed out and completed?

  Near Miss = Near Hit

“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
Will Rogers
This wiki has more on the basics of “Being Pro-Active”:
If you would like more detail on “Using Leading Performance Indicators”,
or would like a copy of my story on Being A Mainstay, request it here.
Want to comment on this SIMPLY SMART SAFETY™ Tip or share your insights with me?
You are more than welcome to do so here.
© Copyright:Jürgen Tietz


What it means and How to get there

I believe

“There is nothing which moves people more than ACTION,
and nothing which is more powerful than PRO-ACTIVE action!”

Read the rest of my latest SAFETY TIP …

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SCnSP – Without A Safety Clue

Mar 2018

Without a Safety Clue

(Urgent vs Important)

Habits and planning


A sailboat without a sail might float. For a long time, in fact.
But without a sail, it can’t go anywhere, can’t fulfill its function.
Floating is insufficient. [1]

This brilliant little statement clearly defines the difference between success and failure in any endeavour, but especially in SAFETY. Good safety is not merely compliance, which is the bare minimum (floating). Good safety requires making time for the IMPORTANT stuff (setting your sails), i.e. making time for ACTIONS which will make a difference, which will grow the team, which are PRO-ACTIVE. Successful teams have developed the HABIT of doing this really well. Efficient teams know how to deal with the urgent stuff, quickly and effectively, so as to make time for constantly moving safety to a new level – to a DISRUPTIVE SAFETY™ level. By the way, educating and empowering your H&S Reps is part of “setting the sails”.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

  • Ask a simple question: “Is this urgent or is it important?”
    Don’t fall into the trap of labelling everything as urgent and important!
  • The acid test is another simple question: “So what?” … So what if this doesn’t get done today, now, or not at all?
    If you don’t have a convincing answer to this question, it might be urgent, but definitely not important.
  • Finally, ask: “Is this a new problem or is it an old problem?”
    Old problems tend to appear to be urgent simply because they have never been dealt with in an easy way!
    Be ruthless with old problems – kill them once and for all.

Our handbook, The Safety Rep’s Survival Guide, deals with this important habit in a number of topics.

[1]   Godin, Seth. “Without a Sail”, May 2017.


Icon: Jurgen-Antzi with a mike

The Safety Rep’s Survival Guide  –  what it is and why you need it

Let me help your staff reflect upon, recommit to and be responsible for championing your safety culture.

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SCnSP – It’s just a project

Jun 2016

This is a really simple tip. Get this right, and you could turn your job on its head!


It’s Just A Project

Picture of a vegetable patch


Did you know you’re a project manager?

Seriously. You are. Every time you shop, decide what to wear, put air in your bicycle or car tyres, or catch a train or bus, you’re completing a task in what could be the project plan for your Lunch Project, or Date Project, or Career Project.

You’re the Project Manager of your life. The project may be as simple as hanging a picture on a wall, or a little more involved, like creating a vegetable garden or painting your home. It could be a project that only takes an hour to complete, or years and years. It might be a project to make sure things keep running properly (maintenance project), or a project for something new or better (development project).

So you can see that “project” is just the name given to the process of getting something done.
A project has a purpose: something that must be achieved, created, completed.
Whether or not you’re aware of it, a project also has a plan: by when you want or need it done (deadline), the steps that must be taken (tasks to be completed), what the right order is for those steps, how much time you think will be needed for each step, what you will need (people, tools, materials, money), how much of each you will need and by when, and, of course, it must have a start time and/or date.

If your project has a non-negotiable completion time or date, or if you have a limited budget, you may need to rearrange some of the steps, or get someone to help you with some of the tasks, or find a smarter way to do something so that you can finish it on time and within the budget you have available. Depending on the project, you may want to work out in advance what you will do if things don’t go according to plan. Sometimes, you might find you need to change your plan when you’ve already started on the project because one or more of the steps (tasks) has taken longer than it should have and you need to find a way to get some of the other steps done more quickly, or because a resource you need is not available at the time you need it, or something is costing you more than you expected it to. That, in essence, is project management.

Without even thinking about it, you already run at least some aspects of your personal life as projects. Maybe, without realising it, you do the same with your job.

Your “life” projects may be exciting (getting that new car) or necessary (eating a meal) or both. Whether or not they achieve their purpose (objectives) depends on the importance you attach to them (priority) and your self-discipline. The same goes for your job.


See your job / role / function in your place of work as a series of pro-active projects which you choose (important). Such projects are exciting, about making change happen, about making improvements and exploring new options. They are about ‘now’ so give them deadlines. Make sure that the routine aspects of your job (emails, phone calls, meeting, reports, etc.) don’t suck up all your time so that you are too busy to complete the pro-active projects!


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SCnSP – What’s your real job?

May 2016

What’s Your Real Job?

(as a Safety Professional)

graphic with text I'm just asking


Frequently, when I contact safety professionals, I am told: “We are busy with audits” or “I still have to do the monthly report” or “I am in a safety meeting” or “We are preparing for the EXCO”.
So, my challenge to you, as a safety professional, is:
Describe your real job in a paragraph or two, as if you were a safety consultant and had to sell your services to interested parties.
Now ask yourself: Would you pay a safety consultant for only doing audits, collecting figures, sitting in meetings, producing reports and being a safety accountant?

I know. You have to satisfy the needs of senior management, because they control the resources – pay your salary and approve your budget. Yes, there are legal stipulations which you have to comply with, in terms of reporting and ensuring the safety of employees. Yes, there’s work to be done to get and maintain your accreditation. And yes, you have a job description, with key performance areas in auditing and reporting.

Nonetheless, ask yourself: Who are your real clients? Does all the reporting, auditing and graphs you spend so much time on improve the safety culture? How much of what you do positively affects the employees – the people who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’ – directly? How much of what you do are ‘self-generated’ activities or distractions which you do because it seems the right thing to do?

Consider. If you are cook, what’s important is the meal you serve. If you are surgeon, what matters is your performance in the operating theatre. If you are speaker, your talk on the stage is what it’s all about.
Most professionals have to spend up to 90% of their time in preparing, ensuring quality, staying up-to-date and many other things. However, none of this matters if the meal is poor, the operation is botched up, or the talk makes no impact because we spent too much time on distractions, instead of the real purpose of our job.

Don’t allow yourself to get confused about which part of your job is really important, really worth your time, the actual point of the exercise, of providing safety support – the part which makes a real difference!


Get clarity about what your real job is, then tackle it and deliver!

Look into the ‘integrity mirror’ and list your main tasks. Categorise them into Must Do (value-adding – someone is willing to pay for this), Nice To Have (not critical for safety) and Who Really Wants This (distraction / non-value adding).
If need be, go and rewrite your job description! You are the ‘safety cook’!

Ask the employees (not your managers):

  • How difficult are we making it for you to spend money on safety improvements?
  • How well are we listening, and reacting, to safety concerns or suggestions?
  • How easy is it for you to contact senior managers?
  • Do we give you permission to take action to make it safe?
  • How safety empowered are you and how do we know this?
  • What are we doing to improve and reinvent safety?
  • How good are our safety professionals?
  • What are we doing to support our SHE reps?
  • How much time are we spending on safety and how is that time spent?
  • How much of our safety efforts are re-active as opposed to pro-active?


I’ve written about this issue a number of times, addressing it from different angles:

Mirror on the wall

Stretched thin

The illusion / paradox of control

I don’t have time

Safety first – really?

The best audits

What is your worth?

Under the knife


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SCnSP – Why Are People Making ‘Stupid Mistakes’?

Feb 2016


(Why we do what we do)

graphic depicting the word mistake crossed out

I suppose it is tempting,
if the only tool you have is a hammer,
to treat everything as if it were a nail.

— Abraham Maslow, Toward a Psychology of Being


One of the most frequent comments I get when talking to people about safety is: “Why are people making stupid mistakes?”. In many people’s minds this then extends to the (illogical) conclusion that people who make mistakes are stupid.

Apart from being a generalisation and over-simplification of a complex behavioural issue, one which often leads to stereotyping, it also shines a light on the power of the made up mind.

When we assume that the mistake was stupid, we are ourselves making the first mistake. Until we have established why people did what they did, is it really a mistake or the result of a genuine effort to do the right thing which did not work out as intended?

There are many reasons why things are done differently at the ‘sharp end’ and these are often overlooked when we try and find the cause of a ‘deviation’:

  • We are thinking humans with reason, memories and moods
  • We make adjustments to stay on course, but things can still go wrong
  • A mis- (wrong) take is a behaviour and not a personality trait
  • There is no one size fits all – some are more prone to making mistakes than others
  • We all take risks, the level varying over time and with mood
  • We don’t always read people and situations correctly
  • We are good at finding mistakes, especially in hindsight, and at blaming others
  • Our schooling is based on marking papers by finding mistakes
  • There are many kinds of intelligence and people who are seen to make stupid mistakes in one domain are often highly intelligent in another respect – IQ, EQ, NS … whatever “quotients” or “smarts” you want to use  [1].

That being said, it cannot be denied that there are some actions which are avoidable:

  • Lack of awareness and making assumptions
  • Lack of care for others and property
  • Bad analysis and being willfully ignorant
  • Taking ‘lazy’ shortcuts without thinking about what we are doing
  • Allowing ourselves to be distracted
  • Allowing worry and fear to cloud our judgement
  • Not making time to stop and think about the consequences of our actions
  • Too much haste and too much noise to see clearly


  1. Be careful before blaming ‘the PEOPLE factor’ – don’t assume the person / people made a mistake. Without people making adjustments and controlling processes, virtually nothing in this world would function on its own
  2. Don’t look for and label things which do not conform to your standards as a ‘mistake’ or ‘near miss’.
  3. Shift your mindset from ‘preventing things from going wrong’ (re-active) to ‘ensuring things go right’ (pro-active). This is in line with ‘catch people doing the right thing’ and giving recognition  [2].
  4. Encourage and reward employees to share what they have to do or adjust to ensure ‘things go right’ (production, quality, costs, etc.), especially when the rules don’t work and no one is looking or checking up.

[1]    Types of intelligence (smarts) – Nature / Musical / Number / Reasoning / Existential / People / Self / Body / Word / Picture

[2]    Safety I & Safety II by Erik Hollnagel


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GM – Out of the Blue

♦♦♦   ROAD SAFETY   ♦♦♦

Out of the Blue

accidents are caused

I have been preaching: “Accidents don’t just happen – they are caused by someone choosing to do the wrong thing or choosing not to do the right thing“. This could be via design, maintenance, use, disposal, or an outright, deliberate choice to break the rules or to take a short cut.

But, what if you are the victim of such action, an innocent passer-by, in the wrong place at the wrong time? Here is a story of a young couple on holiday in the USA:

“Tonight we had a really, really close shave. I was driving and we’d just pulled up to a petrol station, when, I kid you not, literally a few seconds later, an out of control car came hurtling out of nowhere from the intersection, smashing us into the petrol station pump. The driver, it later turns out, was very high, drunk and out of his mind. Some very nice gentlemen from the Louisiana State Troopers got hold of and arrested him a bit later.

We got out of the car ok. Jess, being on the passenger side, is a lot more bruised than I am, but luckily no battery sparks or the like and luckily the pump’s fail-safe kicked in and the flow of petrol, except that from our car’s tank, was automatically cut off immediately.

It was very close though … the terror of having yourself and your wife slammed into a petrol pump by an oncoming car. Also, I can now fairly confidently say, never rent the cheapest cars that are short a safety feature, airbag or reinforced side door here or there; and please award a Nobel Prize for the person who invented side airbags.”

Photo showing the vehicle smashed into the fuel pump at the gas station

Accidents happen every day. The reason this particular accident touched me deeply is because the young people involved are my son and his wife.

As with so many road accidents, natural disasters / events or crime incidents, they can (and do) happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone, for no reason at all. There is little that the ‘victim’ can do about it. Well, let me rephrase that: there is little the ‘victim’ can do about preventing the random event.

You can, however, take pro-active measures to minimise the impact of an incident and the ‘luck factor’ [1]. Unfortunately, unless you’re with the Navy Seals or have access to sophisticated behaviour modification training, there is little effective training to deal with being a victim of such an event. Thinking and being aware are your best defences. Of course, there is no fail proof solution, but here are a few things we all, as individuals, can do:


  • Think about ‘What If’ scenarios, the consequences and what you can do to minimise the risk should any of those scenarios materialise.
  • Look at your ‘Near Hits’. Ask what happened, why it happened (dig down by repeating this question a number of times) and, most importantly, what you can do to prevent it from happening again – or at least to reduce the damage or injuries.
  • Be alert to your surroundings and actions. Use the traffic light rules:
    • Be aware of your green = safe situations, like being at home and relaxing in a safe environment.
    • When leaving home and getting onto the roads your awareness level should change to amber = pay attention, slow down and look for possible danger.
    • When drawing money at an ATM or approaching a hijacking hot-spot or in a crowded area, you should be at a red level of awareness = eyes in the back of your head.
  • Don’t be merely a ‘passenger’ – speak up when you see someone taking a chance or breaking the rules, like going down the killer road of F-S-D = FATIGUE-SPEED-DEVIATION (including drink / drugs).  
    “The mirror we hold up to the person next to us is one of the most important pictures he / she will ever see.”
    — Seth Godin
  • When buying or renting or merely borrowing someone else’s stuff, consider the safety features of that piece of equipment – guarding, trips and fuses, alarms, isolation features, air bags, etc.

In a future safety tip, I will deal with due diligence, HIRA and the topic of building safety into the design of plant and equipment.


[1]  Luck and safety don’t belong in the same equation. You cannot drive your safety efforts by relying on luck.


Taking your eye off the ball / road / task

It’s My Mistake

Road Safety – Take Safety Home

Walking the Circle of Safety


Comments & feedback are always welcome!

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D1STEM – Prevention rather than cure


I like to “Keep it simple” and this is often part of my advice. For this month’s activity, I strongly recommend you do keep it simple or else you may find yourself caught in analysis paralysis.

Rather Than Cure

Think. Accidents are avoidable.

Analyse your safety efforts – how much of it is policing, rather than pro-active prevention and improvement?

A good safety approach constitutes a balance between systems and procedures, safety equipment and people’s actions and behaviour. Compliance and corrective action are less effective than prevention and pro-active action.

Improve the design and operation of safety efforts to reduce the remaining risk, before an incident forces you to do it.


As always, I welcome your comments and feedback!

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D1STEM – Listen with your eyes


If you do just one thing a month to change the safety mind-set, in one year you will have done 12 things to raise safety awareness. Are you ready for this month’s challenge?

                               (and with your ears, of course)

Children often say to their parents: “You are not listening” and they speak the truth, because often we are not listening – our minds are busy with other, seemingly more important, matters.

picture depicting schoolboard with writing Watch + Listen = Learn

Listening, really listening to see, means listening with your ears and your eyes. Listening means giving your undivided attention to what the other person says. Listening means asking questions to better understand, while at the same time making eye contact and showing the other person that we are serious about hearing what they have to say.

Walk Your Talk SHE VIP Footprint

Listening to see is more than sitting in a boardroom and taking note of a report or feedback (although it is necessary there too). It is being on your feet, on the shop floor, asking “show me so I can see what you are talking about”. Listening to see is being a VIP – Visible, Involved and Pro-active, managing on your feet rather than on your seat. That’s the way to discover what really matters so as to be able to “get the cookies out of the door”. You can look at figures and statistics as much as you like, but there is nothing which inspires your team more than you showing genuine interest in their problems, projects, products or whatever they are doing, right there where the rubber hits the road.

I carry a note book and pen in my shirt pocket, because when I take out my booklet and pen and start making notes, the people around me can see I am taking their talk seriously. It also tells them that I am going to take action. (Be warned – just taking notes and not taking whatever action is expected / necessary will do more harm than good!)


  • Make *listen to see* a habit by setting aside a fixed time every week to be a VIP. Ask questions. Ask “show me”. Show genuine interest and care – respond, recognise, reaffirm action and share your dream, the values and the path forward.
  • Make your workplace a Human Workplace by frequently asking every one of your workmates “What’s up? What’s new? How can I help?”


Everyone is replaceable and other business liesby Liz Ryan, CEO and Founder, Human Workplace

“A hole-in-one, but who can he tell?” from Life EduAction by Jurgen Tietz

“Change and Results (Change just in time)” from Life EduAction by Jurgen Tietz

Pen to Paper

Your Safety Dream

Stop Hiding

Through the Eyes of the People


As always, I welcome your comments and feedback!

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D1STEM – Pitching a Safety Tent


If you do just one thing a month to change the safety mind-set, in one year you will have done 12 things to raise safety awareness. Every month you will receive one such SAFETY TIP.


With all the electronic devices available and so many makes to choose from, coupled with a multitude of apps and software handling calendars and planners, the “old faithful” paper wall or desk calendar has been relegated to the museum – and not only by the younger generation.

However, the principle of prioritising the limited resource of TIME, looking at the future and PLANNING YOUR FOCUS remains as valid as ever.

So, this month, pitch your SAFETY TENT calendar!

A4 Tent Desk Calendar from Jurgen Tietz of eKhuluma

Download my tent calendar (similar to that in the photo) and print on an A4 sheet of paper or cardboard.

Why not use my tent calendar to create your own SAFETY TENT Calendar, with your SAFETY SLOGAN and IMAGES for this year, to distribute to your leaders and SHE Reps.

If you’ve been pro-active and have an approved Safety Plan for the year, why not include your SAFETY MILESTONES, replacing the school term and/or public holiday sections of the calendar with your dates for work stoppages, awareness sessions, major audits, shutdowns, etc.

Be sure to review the material in the “Related Reading” and take me up on my offers, below, too.


To download the free “DIY” Safety Tent Calendar for 2016 click here.


Safety Vision and Strategy

Safety Planning”    ps. Get my “Safety Plan” wall calendar while you’re there!


Contact me for some free checklists and ideas on planning safety events.

If you do not have a DTP resource who can help you with editing and publishing your own Safety Tent Calendar for the year, I can recommend Ally Moir of Creative Cats Graphic & Print Bureau. You can contact her at the e-mail address provided on the calendar.


As always, I welcome your comments and feedback!

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