By Gary Hanson, President of American Safety & Health Management Consultants, Inc.

We all have heard the old adage “If a job cannot be done safely it should not be done.” I personally agree with it and most of the companies out there I believe, also agree with it. Unfortunately, in the day to day pressure to get product out, customers serviced or projects completed, safety can be overlooked. It is usually not done on purpose, but in the rush of the moment, the immediate need may outweigh safety considerations.

It is easy to become caught up in the present. Employees unfortunately get in a hurry or may decide to take a short cut to speed up. Neither are good. Hurry depicts action out of control without thought and a short cut is an accident waiting to happen. Both put an employee’s safety at risk.

Many times, the actions of supervisors both physically and spoken, lead employees to believe that taking changes or working unsafely is expected or required as a part of the job. The need for speed can be a powerful motivator and supervisors that are under pressure to perform, many times use the wrong methods to get employees to complete tasks on time.

Employees take their lead from the supervisor. They watch the actions of their supervisor and respond accordingly. If safety is not a top priority for a supervisor, it will not be a top priority for an employee. If it is easier to be unsafe then it is to be safe and there are no expected consequences, many employees will be unsafe. If they do it once and get away with it they will do it again until it becomes a part of their daily behavior.

Safety has to be learned and therefore, it has to be taught. This is a key responsibility of each supervisor. Safe work performance can’t be taken for granted, safety must be reinforced constantly. There can be no acceptable reason for employees to be allowed or expected to be unsafe. Every action of a supervisor should reinforce this message. Even when there is pressure, safety needs to be a primary concern.

It needs to be made clear that safe work practices are not only expected but mandatory. Safety is a one day at a time, one direction at a time activity. By the actions taken by a supervisor employee safety can either be positively motivated or negatively motivated. Accidents do not happen by accident they are caused. These causes are influenced to a great degree by the way supervisors interact with their employees and degree of safety expectations.

Safety is an ongoing never ending life time activity, it takes constant thought. Safety needs to be proactive not reactive. It can’t be taken for granted. The Hospitals and Graveyards are full of people who took their safety for granted.

No task, project or problem is worth putting an employee’s safety at risk. Employees need to be reminded to keep their safety as their top priority at all times. It only takes a second for an accident to happen and once it does it can change an employee’s life forever. It is critical for supervisors and employees to understand that there will be other tasks, projects and problems. That is the nature of American business. Do not sacrifice safety today. LIVE TO WORK ANOTHER DAY. The life that is saved may be your own.

If you have any safety related or need help with your Safety Program, please give me a call at 1-800-356-1274.

Share This