Safety, for Safety’s Sake

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Most companies have certain safety rules around driving, lifting, walking, personal safety behaviour, etc. Rules like:

  • reverse park your vehicle
  • switch on head lights when driving
  • bend knees and keep back straight when lifting something
  • hold onto hand rail when walking up or down stairs
  • use gloves, goggles and other PPE

While at work, people tend to follow these rules, especially when in leadership positions. They know they have to set an example. That’s true. Employees watch what leaders do and follow their lead.

Does safety matter when you are not being monitored?

The question is, though, what do you, the leader, do when you are at home? How do you park at the local shopping mall? Do you keep the car lights switched on when driving in town? Do you hold onto handrails when taking the stairs to the doctor’s rooms? Do you keep your back straight and wear gloves when working in your garage at home? If not, why not? Has the “safety reason” changed now that you’re not at your place of work? Most likely not, right? What has most probably changed is that you no longer feel watched. You no longer feel you have to comply with so-called “workplace” safety rules. You now behave “naturally”.

That is one of the fundamental safety issues – what I call the Speedcop Syndrome = when we do something out of fear of being caught and not because it is the safe thing to do.

As long as that is the driving force, then safety is not really a value inside people’s hearts. When people “reverse park” at home, that’s how you know that you have safety embedded in the culture of your company. But, trust me, it starts with you, the leader. Don’t expect the troops to behave correctly, consistently safe, if you have not yet made that leap yourself.

 Be safe – the SIMPLY SMART way,

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