“You may never know about the incidents that you prevent.” This statement is a lament of many safety professionals, and it applies equally to managers and supervisors who are working hard to prevent injuries. There isn’t always a way to know when the programs we implement, the inspections we make on the job, or simply the emphasis we place on fall protection, keeps someone safe.
Become a safety fanatic all day, every day.
No one is looking for credit, but it is difficult to appreciate our accomplishments in keeping people safe when we focus most of our attention on the incidents that we haven’t prevented (i.e., incident rates). There are many unsung heroes out there; however anyone who works with people knows how at-risk behaviors such as laziness and taking short cuts can result in a painful and sometimes disabling injury.
So, what can we do to prevent injuries? Instilling a value for safety in a construction workforce is daunting. While the popular definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, certainly applies, perhaps we need to do more of the same thing in order to achieve better results. For instance, doing a job walk once a week might seem sufficient, but what about stepping that up to three times a week? Will the workers respond to that attention that you give them? Instead of having a safety meeting on Monday morning, what about a safety meeting every day before work?
Some might say that this will result in a greater degree of insanity, but if we really want to improve, we need greater intensity, and more safety fanatics at every level.