Search Results for: Safety Dream

SCnSP – Your Safety Dream – How to Implement ‘I Have A Dream’

Aug 2013

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies. One of the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance is to implement those best practices we keep hearing about. Here I share 5 effective ways to do this.


Your Safety Dream

How to Implement  “I Have a Dream”

Picture: Jurgen's SHE VIP Footprint


I am often asked how does one put what I preach into practice, without using the ‘Moses approach’.
Here are 5 SIMPLY SMART ideas, based on my 10 P™ Steps[1] for audits. Simple, smart, effective – but very tough to apply.

  1. I have a magic wand for you, but alas, it is not ‘cheap’. You have to invest your most precious resource: TIME[2]. You have to make time for safety. You have to make time to ‘look to see’ and to ‘listen to hear’. If you are not willing to make time, then rather do not walk onto the plant, shop floor or coal face. Your people can sense “I am in a hurry to get back to my seat in the office” from a mile away – and that will shoot you in the foot!
  2. Make it a HABIT[3] to become a true V I P, not only for SAFETY, but in general – WALK YOUR TALK. Share your safety DREAM. Establish a daily or weekly routine – once a month just doesn’t cut it! Manage on your feet and not on your seat! The magic lies in the HABIT and it is entirely within YOUR control!
  3. If you want to influence your people, YOU have to take ACTION[4]. Take baby steps, but take ACTION on something that can be done, fixed, resolved immediately. Use your position of power over the resources, every time you WALK YOUR TALK, so that people realise you are SERIOUS. Remember my Action Philosophy:

    There is nothing which moves people more than ACTION, and nothing which is more powerful than prompt, PROACTIVE ACTION.

  4. Make sure you SEE and are SEEN doing SAFETY when you WALK YOUR TALK. Involve the people in the area you are visiting – the manager, supervisor / team leader, SHE Rep, down to the operator. Do the RED / GREEN card, especially the green card. Find the champions / pockets of excellence. Call the responsible person and give her / him a green card = recognition[5].
  5. Talk to people on your walkabout. Do not make assumptions and do not use the ‘Moses Approach’. ASK people what they are doing, how it is working for them and most importantly:

    ask How Can I Help

    However, there is a catch here. Once you ask, you create an expectation that you are actually listening and, moreover, that you will do something about the issue. Declare your intentions with integrity!


My challenge to you is to just do it and stick to the routine for the next four weeks. If the results don’t meet your expectations, then fine, drop it and go back to your old habits and manage on your seat.

By the way, to make time to walk your talk, cut back on the time you spend in meetings[6].

[1]   “I Have A Dream

[2]   “10 P™ Audit Kit

[3]   Make it a habit:   “Who Am I

[4]   Take action:   “Action Speaks Louder Than Words

[5]   Recognition:   “Pat on Back

[6]   “So Many Meetings, So Little Time”   and   “To Meet Or Not To Meet, That Is The Question


How To Implement ‘I Have A Dream’


“I have a plan” … Why Martin Luther King didn’t say that.


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SCnSP – Safety Is Not A Game

Jul 2016

Safety Is Not A Game

How are you pushing safety?

Picture: Give a thumbs up or pat on the back for a job well done


Work, especially in terms of safety, should not be seen as a game, with the key components of goals, rules, challenges, interaction and with mostly luck as a basis to create fun.

Unfortunately, I still see many, many companies treat safety that way. They run competitions and use safety results as if safety performance were a race with records to be broken. They hold year-end functions congratulating the winners, holding up the best of this and the best of that. The perceived implication, of course, is that all others are losers, although it is never put that way.

Companies need to look at the types of safety incentives they use and the unspoken message this sends to their people. To me, the most powerful way to motivatestimulate and inspire safe behaviour is by recognition and prompt feedback.

Establish a culture of ongoing recognition and incentives, not once a year or only when records are broken or only for the b-i-g achievements. The “green card” technique gives recognition, immediately, to the person observed doing the right and safe thing. Be VFL’s (Visible Felt Leaders) by making recognition visible and felt now, not later!

Keep a close eye on what is motivating you to give recognition – there’s a fine line between appreciation and manipulation and people are able to pick up really quickly on false praise.


Giving recognition isn’t complicated and yet it is so powerful as it helps to create a motivating climate, but it does take time and effort:

  • Establish ownership.
  • Find at least one person you can give recognition to on each of your walkabouts, by searching for things done right or well.
  • Tell that person what they did right and that it has been noticed.
  • Encourage that person to keep up the good work.
  • Do it in the presence of the co-workers and supervisor.


Your Safety Monument

How to Implement Your Safety Dream

Lessons From Cats

The Power of Gold


Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

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A New Safety Number


I have a new number: 6800

That is the number of people who were packed into the soccer field at Northam Platinum Mine for the safety day. Danny Gonzalves, the GM, called for a work stoppage so all employees could hear the “SAFETY FIRST at Northam” message. 

I have never felt so vulnerable. Not only was the venue and setup everything that, as a speaker, I do not like – out in the open in the heat of the sun, no projector and screen, a poor sound system and only a hand-held mike – but the audience was restless, having just listened to two union reps stoking the fire with political rhetoric and blaming. You see, Alfred Nkosivumile Hanisi had died in a fall-of-ground incident two weeks before.

However, it went very well. Each employee received one of my customised and Northam-branded key rings, with the message “Look out for each other“. The people remembered me and chanted my signature call YEBO BABA and CAPICHE. We sang my safety song “I have a dreamof ZERO HARM

It was an unforgettable experience … real gooseflesh stuff! I went home enriched and uplifted by the event, confident that my talk has made a lasting impact. 


 Be safe – the SIMPLY SMART way,


1 person likes this post.

Safety Tips & Articles Feedback



“Yebo baba”: Your emails always keep me going and make me want to do more in my field of safety. Thank you, thank you and thank you.

Norman Thela, Transnet


“I am no longer full time employed in the safety field. Having said that, I honestly enjoy your safety e-mails and you have never failed to amaze me with your brilliant ideas. So, this is simply a few lines to say; Well done!  Keep it up!  I enjoy it!

Des Meyer, Road To SHEQ


I greatly appreciate the exciting safety tips and I do share them with my line managers and staff as well at all times.

Rhulani Mathebula, Maintenance Manager


The implementation of your safety tips has resulted in a significant reduction in safety incidents. Thank you for your valuable contribution.

Cecil Cordiglia, Safety Officer


Thank you for the Safety Tips … they are timeless, one can use them over and over again.

Henk van der Kuip, SHERQ Manager


I am truly inspired by your passion for safety, keep up the exceptional work in leading us as safety professionals in our endeavour to attain Zero Harm at work and at home.

Peter Granville May, Senior Advisor Fire Risk and Emergency Management


I have always found your articles very informative / interesting !  Please continue to send them to me !

Keith Westermeyer

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Re: Do Not Disturb the Crime (Accident) Scene

… It is always a pleasure to hear from you. It is amazing how you link everyday issues with safety, simply perfect. I am learning so much from you.

Kekeletso Selepe

Re: Your Safety Dream

What I was reading … is simple, interesting and implementable.

Tiyani Hlabangwane, Exec Manager: Safety

Re: The Rot Starts at the Top

Baie insigewend. Ek stuur dit met plesier aan … BRING IT ON!

Attie Pieterse

This is wow information regarding safety at work … Continue to preach it my friend.

Patrick Bhiya, “Zero Harm” Ambassador

I forwarded your latest newsletter to my Director, appointed MR for Health & Safety, Mr. Clive Reucassel, and he has printed some of the info on your download and is extremely impressed.

Theo Fourie, SHEQ Manager

Re: Discipline and Passion in Safety

I just wish to extend my utmost appreciation for all of the information that you are sharing with me. Your recent article on discipline is very much an issue that I face here with regards to safety compliance. We have a major problem with self-discipline, and discipline in general. … Keep sending them, and I will keep sharing the message.

Darryl Baillie, SHE Facilitator

I found your approach quite interesting and believe this is the approach of the future.

Kreason Naicker

Re: The Hidden Power of Good Housekeeping

Keep up your safety tips and hints. I enjoy acting on them and have previous ones on file.

Gertie de Meyer

Re: 10 Myths About Safety

… It is great to receive diverse approaches especially from experienced and knowledgeable professionals …

Kreason Naicker

Your thoughts and views about safety are so encouraging and will surely improve the safety performance of my people that I’m working with.

Addy Simelane

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Re: Is This A Circus?

… useful tips … indeed appreciated.

Letlatsa Tseka, Snr Safety Advisor

Re: Going to Waste

You keep on surprising me with your amazing selection and broad spectrum of topics & safety subjects …

Hans T, “passionate about nature”

Re: Safety Calendar

Keep up the excellent work you are doing.

Theo C Haupt, Director: Building Construction Science

Thank you for the excellent monthly newsletter. For starters I used the Safety number. It really worked for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you and looking forward to more good safety newsletters in 2012.

Tia Mbazima, Integrated Risk

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Re: Progress

Amen to this tip.

The story [Change Just in Time] is very good … Info is very relevant to what we are experiencing at the moment. Some of the suggestions you make I have introduced or reinstated again.

Dalene Smith, TSHE Manager

Re: Problems

You have inspired me. You gave me a new dimension to Health & Safety.

Cecil Cordiglia, Safety Officer

“Our Breadwinners arrive at work with all their limbs.
My aim is to ensure they go home with all their limbs, every day.”

Re: Preparation

Thank you for the valuable tip.

Being proactive and implementing the tips you have provided, I have been able to conduct Health & Safety on the current site without as much as a first aid case being recorded.

The main principle I have adopted from one of your meetings was: Health & Safety must come from the heart to the head. This is the principle that can never fail.

Your information if applied, can prevent incidents as your topics place you one step ahead in the proactive approach being adopted.

Cecil Cordiglia, Safety Officer

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Re: Pay Back the Money

As always I admire your out of the box thinking and inspiring safety articles. These keep one thinking and put things into perspective.

Xolile Myoyo, SHE Manager

Re: SAFETY FEVER! – Let Nature Guide You

You could not have said it better. I really enjoy your editions and it is value added to our projects.

Frans Durand, Safety Manager

… very true message.

Pieter Ferreira, BU SHE Manager Operations

… always good to read your articles!

Boyan Tomic, Divisional Manager

I have been receiving your newletter now for a few years and have never responded. This does not man that I do not appreciate your thoughts and communications. Your Spring Fever triggered me into wanting to say ‘Keep up the good work’

Delene Sheasby, OHS Practitioner, Assessor and Facilitator


Very inspiring.

Happy Nkgadima


Silondiwe Nene

Excellent observation and reaction.

Alain d Woolf

I like your tips and approach to safety.

Bruce Moyo

I wish to thank … you for including my name in your distribution list.

It is indeed hugely appreciated. It boggles my mind of how quick you managed to adapt the recent GUPTA roadshow to leadership? I am in no doubt (having attended your speeches in the past) that you are a genius when it comes to motivating people. Keep up the good work and keep them coming.

Letlatsa Tseka

Re: Safety Message

It is always a pleasure to receive inspiring messages from you and as the best safety GURU. I take so much from you and relay the messages to my team and it helps. Looking forward to the next safety tip from you.

Kekeletso Selepe

Re: Under The Knife

Thank you for the inspiring messages. Very motivating indeed and with a practical example.

Makwena Mashaba

Re: World Safety Day 2012 Reminder

I really find your safety tips very helpful in the working environment where we need to constantly focus on safety in the workplace.

Anlie Smith

Re: It’s My Mistake

This is invaluable!

Theo C Haupt, Director: Building Construction Science

[This] actually means a lot to me as I’m thinking of buying myself a Motorbike to go to work with. Safety is definitely something I will have to think a lot about, and getting the correct PPE!

Cameron Gray, Assistant Engineer

… Fascinated by your article and circulated to all my line Management.

Gertie de Meyer

We all tend to look for someone to blame when things go wrong. This is human nature – it is in our genes. When Adam was confronted by God he blamed Eve and Eve blamed the snake – so blame fixing is as old as mankind. The hardest thing is to look at the three fingers pointing bank to you when you point one towards someone else.

Thanks once again for your very encouraging newsletters.

Theo Fourie, SHEQ Manager

Re: How To Eat An Elephant

I wish I had this approach when I started to implement systems (14001, 18001). Because of over optimistic deadlines and pressure from management, the short cuts taken to achieve the deadlines are still biting us!

Juno, D & R Manager

Re: What Is On Your Calendar?

I always link you to Safety.

Ricky du Preez

Having seen your work at Coalsafe and having interacted with you when I hosted the Tweefontein Roadshow, I feel privileged to be included on your mailing list.

Pravin Chetty, General Manager

Thanks for taking care of us.

Thomson Cupertea

Thank you for your regular safety topics and information.

Rudy Raath, Mine Manager

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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


Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

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SCnSP – Keep It Smartly Simple

Nov 2015

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies and the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance.

Keep It Smartly Simple in 3 steps.

Smartly Simple Solutions

(Just Do Something Safe™ and Action)

For six years I studied mathematics, physics, chemistry, machine design and some more fancy subjects like hydraulics and thermodynamics. So, when you give me a problem to solve, my mind kicks into engineering mode and I start designing a complex solution. To implement these engineering gizmos requires resources, one of them being time, which I normally don’t have. The result: a delay of weeks, sometimes even months to get something simple done.

picture depicting gears and cogs

Here are two examples.

Problem 1

New kittens which were crawling underneath a wooden bench in the kitchen and messing there.

My solution:
Buy some planks, screws, glue and varnish to close the gap. A 4-hour undertaking.

My wife’s solution:
Just wrap a few bricks in plastic and shove them into the gap. A 10-minute job.

Problem 2

A row of roses which needed frequent watering.

My solution:
Buy some irrigation pipes, sprayers and valves, plus build a terrace to cater for the sloping ground. A weekend job.

My gardener’s solution:
Tie a redundant plastic pipe to the trellises with cable ties, punch a few holes in the right places and hook the pipe up with a quick connector to the existing hose pipe. A 1-hour job.

My gardener is a true reflection of what it means to be a PDI. He would have been an excellent, practical technician, if he had just had the opportunity / financial support years back.


Ask those people who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’ how to solve a problem that affects their work area. They will come up with Simply Smart (and Smartly Simple) solutions!

Go for a Just Do Something Safe™ culture.

  Ask  —  Listen  —  Do  

graphic depicting Asking Listening Acting

Get your teams / plants to solve their own safety problems. Remove the red tape and jumping through hoops of standards and procedures. Your job should be to make sure people can help themselves, doing what is within their means and can be completed within days, without taking short cuts and chances.

Action Involves Doing Something[1], but it excludes putting off the solution until later, because that kills the enthusiasm and tempo for improvement. This is one of the main reasons why most suggestion schemes don’t work very well.

[1]   Cindy Pivacic #CindyHIV


Ukuhlanya: Safety Paradox & Disruptive Safety

Your Safety Dream

Listen With Your Eyes

Some Good Advice


Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

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SCnSP – Illusion/Paradox of Control


In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies and the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance. It’s time we re-examine the “power to influence” (control) as opposed to the “capacity to have an effect on” (influence) with respect to Safety Behaviour.

The Illusion / Paradox of Control

(Are we in control of Safety Behaviour?)

Illusion and Paradox of Control text as a graphic

I have written about this before – the issue of control and influence. It is such an important aspect of our work in safety that, when I read Seth Godin’s post[1] on the subject, it stimulated me to put a safety spin on what he wrote.

We have this “idea that we are in control“, that through policies and procedures we can ensure zero harm. It drives our Safety Management efforts. It fuels our “compelling belief” that this year we will reach our safety targets. It opens the door to consultants who try to convince us that if we just use their system, we’ll get exactly the silver bullet we have been looking for.

It’s like we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. I mean, the reality is that “we’re never in control, not of anything“. Instead, we should strive to view all our efforts as a means to try to influence safe behaviours. As in the “service business“, this is “a tough sell” for the safety professional.

Seth ends his post with these punchlines:

  • When the illusion of control collides with the reality of influence, it highlights the fable the entire illusion is based on.
  • and
  • You’re responsible for what you do, but you don’t have authority and control over the outcome. We can hide from that, or we can embrace it.

I would like to end my post with these thoughts:

  • Control contains a peculiar paradox. The more you impose control, the less control you have, because it removes accountability from someone who should own the responsibility in the first place. [2]
  • and
  • When you no longer push the buttons or use the tools, you should become a servant to those who do! [3]


Think about what you do.

How much of what you and your team of safety professionals do is:

  • Tell, command, prescribe, lay down the rules / policy / procedures, set the standards, …
  • Audit / police against the above.
  • Collect, report on information to justify what already has happened.
  • Reactive to incidents, accidents, near hits (misses), short cuts, …
  • Sitting in your office behind a desk.

Or are you

  • Embracing the reality of influencing with trust and integrity.
  • Listening, supporting, helping, caring, recognising, respecting, empowering those you serve.
  • Encouraging them to take responsibility for their own safety at work and at home.

[1]  “The Illusion of Control“, by Seth Godin

[2]  from “Beyond Management“, by Etsko Schuitema

[3]  from “Life EduAction“, by Jürgen Tietz


“Year-End Take Safety Home Message”

“Influence of Frontline Personnel”

“Your Safety Dream”


“Safety as a Value”

“Fire! Fire! Fire!”



Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

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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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GM – Madiba Magic

♦♦♦    MADIBA MAGIC    ♦♦♦
Dec 2013
Honouring Madiba

Together with a deep sense of sorrow and loss, I feel immense gratitude for Madiba. I am grateful for having experienced a ‘living legend’ who was able and willing to take the ‘Long Walk to Freedom’. This icon of peace left a legacy which influenced this country, indeed the whole world. What a blessing for us all. Let’s celebrate his life, rather than mourn his death.

How did he do this? He shared with us his DREAM of peace through nation building and reconciliation. He stood on the steps of the union building and said: “Never, never and never again … ” He convinced this country, and the ANC hardliners, WHY they should follow his lead. Madiba walked his talk. He was a man of ACTION. He was serious about his dream. He used his ‘Madiba Magic’ on young and old, because he truly cared for ALL people. He remains the ultimate leadership role model. He travelled to Orania on 15 August 1995 to wish ‘tannie Betsie Verwoerd’ a happy birthday. This was reconciliation in ACTION, for the whole world to see.

With the 1995 Rugby World Cup, Madiba had the insight and wisdom to masterfully use the unifying power of sport. This is what I wrote regarding that event, in my book, Life EduAction:

June 24 in 1995 was a turning point. That day the hopes of the South African nation rested on the shoulders of those 15 players of the national rugby team. The capacity crowd burst forth into chanting: “Nelson, Nelson, Nelson … ” when President Mandela, or Madiba as he is fondly known, entered the stadium, wearing the captain’s No. 6 jersey. Madiba magic at its best. This world class statesman knew exactly what he would achieve by this simple, yet so powerful gesture. He had the astuteness to recognise the opportunity to inspire the team, unify the nation and take reconciliation a giant leap forward. This day was a ‘man on the moon’ type of achievement for all South Africans. Bishop Tutu reflected later that “Winning the rugby world cup was a single event that changed the history of this country.” The rainbow nation was finally born.

How can we forget how Nelson Mandela steered us to safer waters after the massacre of 45 people at Boipatong in the Vaal Triangle in June 1992? Or the tipping point on the afternoon of the 10th of April, 1993, when Chris Hani was assassinated outside his home in Boksburg? Madiba lead us from the very real prospect of civil war, to lasting peace!

Lala Ngoxolo Mkhulu wethu othandekayo


If you want to pay homage to this awesome human being, then take lessons from his legacy and apply them to your area of influence:

  • Have a safety DREAM; share this with all your people and have the courage to dream BIG.
  • Make sure your people understand WHY safety is important and that they take safety home as well.
  • Find opportunities to see and be seen – you are serious about safety.
  • Become a living safety legend. When people see you they must think and see safety.


Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

Contact Jürgen


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SCnSP – The Best Audits

Oct 2013

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies. One of the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance is to examine the purpose for Safety Audits and how this necessary practice can be used as an improvement tool.


The Best Audits


If your company operates on the principle that safety audits are carried out by Safety Professionals for the purpose of policing non-compliance to “The Rules and Standards”, then read on.

The safety fraternity has adopted this practice from the accounting profession for good reason – inspecting, examining, checking and verifying of safety systems, procedures and equipment are all necessary. Sadly, the correction aspect is seldom seen as an improvement tool, and the safety audit, rather than being a means to an end, is merely the end itself.

So how do you facilitate a mindset shift from “This safety audit is a necessary evil of policing, inflicted by some external source (the Safety Professionals)” to “This safety audit is a powerful self-improvement tool ” ?

  1. Invest the time necessary to make sure everyone understands the fundamental purpose (in its entirety) for continuous safety audits, viz.

  2. Make safety auditing an on-going line responsibility (same as you do with output, costs, quality, etc.).
  3. The systems, rules and regulations, standards and procedures should not only be “in place” and working, but also be accepted and understood by all, so as to foster an ownership mentality.
  4. Auditing of plant and equipment, safety mechanisms, fire fighting, first aid, emergency equipment, interlocks, trips and alarms, instruments and other safety critical devices with a “look to see” mindset will highlight aspects that could be improved on.
  5. Make sure that the inspection, examination, verification and reporting aspect of a safety audit is not used as an excuse for “not having time” to workshop and implement improvements.


'Stop unsafe practice' and 'Safety Champion Recognition' tool - isiZulu version

  • Issue each auditor with a set of 2 red and 4 green cards. Red to stop an unsafe practice / operation and green to recognise people who are doing the right or safe thing. This will force the auditors to look for the GOOD things and find safety champions to recognise.
  • Schedule time to coach line people to do self-audits. (This investment in time will save you plenty of time in the long run.) Then, at the annual Safety Day, recognise and reward those who self-audit well, instead of just those with the best metrics.
  • Auditor Hat - A practical application of the audit logos
    Audit Hat Logos e.g. PPE Examiner, Work Permit Specialist, Machinery Expert and more

  • Get the auditors to wear hats / badges, depicting the focus area which they will be looking at. This gives high visibility and at the same time ensures that each auditor is concentrating on one specific aspect of safety.
  • Although I am against paperwork, consider drawing up an audit preparation check list: What to do and have ready for an effective audit. Provide training for the ‘hosts’, as well as your team leaders and safety reps, on how to enable an audit.
  • Give feedback on the audit findings to the ‘players’ who “push the buttons and use the tools”, not only to the ‘coaches’ (managers). The players have just as much a role to play in the safety ‘game’!


The Best Audits – Auditing vs Policing


What’s in a Hat?

Back-end a Dead-end?


COOL TOOL™ TOOLBOX TALKS – Topic: Checklists, Inspections and Audits”


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