New Year’s Safety Resolution

We are swiftly approaching the New Year which usually comes with “resolutions”.  You know, the promises of things we have good intentions to do, but fail shortly after the words leave our mouths.  My personal choice has always been to do something positive that I didn’t do before.  I never liked giving something up, like smoking.

My resolutions include things like purchasing business items from struggling companies.  I started with just one.  This year I’ll be looking for five struggling companies to buy from, as I travel around.  I don’t set a purchase limit, or specify they must be a MBWE.  If a company has something I can use in my business, and it looks like they could use a sale, then I buy it.

I’m recommending a New Year’s Safety Resolution to all of you.  That is “ZERO ACCIDENTS AND INJURIES IN 2011″.  That’s a tough resolution to go after, but think of the alternatives.  Is it ok to say we can have three or four accidents this year?  I think not.  To make this resolution a reality takes a lot of hard work.  You can’t just wish and have it come true.

To have zero accidents and injuries it takes everyone working together.  It takes upper management projecting that work must be performed safely no matter how long it takes, or how much personal protective equipment is needed to ensure workers are able to avoid potential hazards.  It takes middle management executing safety procedures instead of telling workers they can get more done if they forget about the safety rules.  I did a class on Bloodborne Pathogens once, and following the training I overheard a supervisor saying “now I’ll never get them to do their work”.  I guess his preference was to have the employees contract HIV or other diseases!  That individual no longer supervises other people.  I put in a good word with the Vice President about his poor “Safety Attitude”, which is one of the two things that keep people safe.

Safety procedures are created from previous injuries or potential hazards.  They are not impediments to productivity.  Safety glasses, for instance, are a much better alternative to replacing injured employees because they went blind from flying particles or hazardous substances.

There is simply NO MAGIC when it comes to safety.  There is only HARD WORK.  There is looking for workplace hazards and FIXING them.  There is having regular inspections and having BOTH recognition and discipline for performing work safely or unsafely.  There is providing the personal protective equipment employees need, and INSISTING they wear it.  I had a construction client who had a problem with half of the sub contractors showing up to the job site without safety equipment (PPE).  When I was asked to help correct the problem, we set up ONE entrance to the site, and anyone showing up without PPE was sent home.  It only takes once for word to get around.  Sub contractors want to get paid, and if they know the safety rules are enforced, they will show up with hard hats and the other required items.

Once again, there is NO MAGIC!  There is only HARD WORK!  I know you can achieve the goal of zero accidents and injuries in 2011 if you work at it.  Deadlines are no excuse for injuries.  If you allow an employee to be injured, someone else will be needed to fill in.  That person will need training as well as safety equipment.  Nothing gets done without your employees, so treat them as your most valued resource.  Simply put, keep them safe no matter what it takes.  It’s better and cheaper for you in the long run.  If you have too many accidents, OSHA will be knocking on your door to HELP make your workplace safe.  They may even issue fines and citations to make sure the whole organization has a good safety attitude.

I wish you all a happy and safe new year.  Thanks for dropping by from time to time.  I hope you enjoy my thoughts about workplace safety, and remember, safety is NOT what we talk about, it’s what your employees actually DO!

Dave

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