Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Making Safety Change Happen: One of America's Most Dynamic Safety Consultants and Trainers Begins a New Column Focusing on Helping EHS Professionals Achieve Positive Safety Changes in Their Organizations

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Making Safety Change Happen: One of America's Most Dynamic Safety Consultants and Trainers Begins a New Column Focusing on Helping EHS Professionals Achieve Positive Safety Changes in Their Organizations

Article excerpt

Have you ever heard a story like this? A worker made a special trip into his company because he realized he left a tool lying across a walkway in an area where vision is blocked. He was concerned this might result in an injury to another person.

The trip took 40 extra minutes of his time. On his day off.

This is not an urban safety legend, nor a story from far away and long ago when everything was different. This occurred within the past three months at a wood products company with which my colleague, Ron Bowles, has been closely working. And this is not an isolated incident in this organization, which has significantly improved its safety performance on all levels.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

I'll bet this is the kind of commitment to safety many of us fantasize about seeing (and then, in a skeptical cloud, pinch ourselves awake). But I've seen this kind of behavior in a wide array of organizations throughout the world, and I know it doesn't happen by chance. Strong leaders are at work here, often behind the scenes.

So how is it possible to attain this kind of interest and action, on both individual and organizational levels? That is the focus of my professional career and the emphasis of this ongoing column.

First off, remember who you are. We're all safety catalysts. A catalyst is a substance that, when in contact with others, creates or speeds up change.

We're all leaders, all change agents. Leadership is the art and science of making positive things happen by working through others.

Given a choice, I think most people would rather be independently wealthy, get up whenever they wanted and only do what they wanted. The role of the safety leader is to help others apply better judgment before they take action, engage in safer behaviors, work as part of an effective team and follow reasonable procedures. It means helping them change.

FIVE STEPS

I aspire to be as highly polished a safety catalyst as possible. If this appeals to you--and I hope it does--there are five steps you and I can take toward forging these attributes:

1. Develop yourself first. When he asked his martial arts master how to make the world a better place, Dan Inosanto was instructed, "Develop yourself first." The best leaders continuously work towards self-change. Songmaster Neil Young wrote, "Don't let it bring you down. Find someone who's turning and you will come around." Become that someone who is turning to help others come around.

2. Build the art of providing and soliciting feedback to spur maximum improvements. There are two kinds of feedback that we can give or receive--and it's not "positive" and "negative" feedback, but "useful" and "unhelpful. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.