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When I stood in the garden this morning, I marvelled at nature’s awesome ability to renew itself. Nature shows us the power of taking a rest in winter, of cutting out dead wood and shedding leaves and converting it all to compost. Nature puts all its energy into new growth, into refreshing the environment with a splendour of colour and fragrance, getting everyone excited and engaged in life once more.



— Let Nature Guide You —

There are important safety lessons to be learnt from nature’s spring spectacle: Take a rest. Consolidate what you already have in place. Go back to basics. Make sure the foundation is sound. This is an audit approach with a twist.

I am not an advocate for spring cleaning because I believe that one should clean up after each job and on a daily basis. Neither do I support the ‘spring fever’ approach – a BIG fanfare, with lots of paper & posters and little ACTION. These often are a ‘flavour of the month’ and short lived. What you do need is a program of stepping stones for the coming season.

Spring is in the air

Doing novel and unique things as part of your program of stepping stones will make a sustainable difference. Vigorously add freshness and colour and get everyone engaged. Hold work stoppages to show your employees that leaders are serious about safety. Celebrate your safety champions and share the pockets of excellence throughout the year, not only during spring time!

Cut out dead wood. Purposefully search for those systems and procedures which are no longer relevant, or which never served a purpose in the first place, or where there is too much complexity. Keep it SIMPLE.

Talk and listen to the people who you expect to follow your rules, procedures and standards. Give them “Einspruchsrecht”(a). Check if employees understand, accept and adhere to rules, procedures and standards. Make sure your book of rules does not merely serve as shelf decoration.


Nothing will get done unless you make it a full time job, make somebody (like one of your safety officials) responsible for getting rid of deadwood and for setting up a timetable to review all safety systems, procedures, rules and critical job instructions. Give those who are affected by all of these the right to partake in decisions which affect them. This goes way beyond the traditional job observation approach.

The appointed person should also identify gaps and shortcomings of existing operations which should be embraced by suitable safeguards. The overall purpose should be to SIMPLIFY, not to add to the complexity, rules or regulations.

(a)  Einspruchsrecht”  =  A person’s right to partake in decisions which affect him/her.


Safety on a Shoestring Budget – Addressing Problems

Safety as a Value

Safety for Safety’s Sake


Your feedback and comments are always welcome! Drop me a line!

Copyright: Jürgen Tietz

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