Lets talk about attitude and safety

The workplace is changing – maybe faster than you would like it to and it’s not slowing down any time soon.

No longer is our approach to safety limited to how to handle chemicals or how to lift properly or what protective clothing to wear.    We are needing to consider distraction, complacency, fatigue, stress and security as part of a holistic approach to safety.

A large number of published studies demonstrate that as many as 95% of all workplace incidents are triggered by unsafe behaviours which originate from an individual worker’s choice to act unsafely. Those choices are the result of underlying attitudes around safety. Change the attitude and you change the final choice.  But it doesn’t end here.  There is also the need to consider the others in the group who saw the unsafe practice and chose to look away….wilful blindness at play.   This group – often the accidental audience – are modelling a commitment and personal accountability towards the concept of safety .. or not!

Without addressing the attitude or mindset towards safety, you will never successfully establish a Culture of Safety.   Imagine that everything that you’re doing now is based on the assumption that workers want to learn.  Is that a potentially fatal assumption? That’s like sending a kid to hockey camp for two weeks to sharpen his skills when he really has no desire to play competitive hockey – his father just wants him to.

You have a few choices: address attitude and culture with respect to safety – or – “hope and pray” a little harder that you can get to Zero without addressing the Attitudes that are causing the incidents.

Staying safe on the job is dead-simple – adjust your attitude about your invincibility and be committed to thinking beyond yourself. Value yourself in relation to the people who count on you both at work and at home.

Be accountable and responsible for your actions. Base your actions around values and principles like family, trust, respect and integrity rather than blindly following a list of rules. Ask yourself and your fellow workers to take pride in what you do and at the end of the day; make sure the other team members take pride in their work too.

People who take pride in their work are engaged in the work. People who are engaged and focused on what they’re doing tend to be safer.

Are you instilling a Safety Culture or simply a safety compliance program? What’s the difference? Safety compliance makes your people wear their requisite PPE during their shift but then the workers go home and cut their lawn wearing sandals. That’s not Safety Attitude or Safety Culture. That’s just plain tolerating the rules only because we are forced to.