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Apr 2016

Do you use your safety mirror as a tool, or as a reflection of what you would like to see?



What is stopping me?

graphic depicting caller on the phone


Using a mirror in safety is nothing new. We’ve all seen the mirrors in toilets with the caption “Who is responsible for safety?”.

I’ve been using the metaphor of a mirror as a tool for many years. I hold up a mirror to the audience, asking them: “What do you see?“, followed by: “Is it good or is it bad and who is responsible?” [1]

I also use my ‘What Is Stopping Me‘ (WISM) Mirror to challenge people to look into the mirror and ask themselves that question! And what’s the answer? Usually, people will say “time”, or, “money”, or, often, both will be cited. But these are resource issues. The reality is that it is really a question of importance and priorities: you will always choose to spend time and money on things that are important to you.

There is of course another use for mirrors.
“Most people can’t resist a mirror. It makes the wait for an elevator more palatable, and we can’t help checking – how do I look? In many ways, though, this is futile, because we can never know how we look through other people’s eyes. Even the best quality mirror tells you very little. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to focus on this sort of grooming if you want to understand what customers or friends (or employees or leaders) are going to see. Far better to watch what they do.” [2]

This holds especially true for you as a safety professional. Are you looking into the safety mirror to see how your safety is doing? You should be rather spending time on your feet, talking to people. ‘Look to see’. The perception of employees and the leaders, is what you should be seeing.


Take a good look, to see, how you are using your safety mirror? Do you use your mirror as a tool, or as a reflection of what you would like to see?

[1]    “How to put a face on safety

[2]    “The Foggy Mirror


Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

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