Name one thing, be specific, about your organization’s safety program that positively impacts all aspects of your program AND can be independently identified and described by any one of your employees.
Why the challenge? Because, chances are you can’t provide a simple response to the question or it may take a while. Sure you may be able to describe what’s good about your program in general. Or, you may be able to name one thing, but your employees have no awareness of it. What this illustrates is that safety programs are usually pretty involved and complex. They are made up of many elements: policies, specific programs, plans, procedures, and practices. Many elements stand alone and have little relation to another.
I did quick Internet search for responses to “complexity breeds.” Here’s what was returned:
Complexity breeds complexity
Complexity breeds quality challenges
Complexity breeds mistakes
Complexity breeds risk
Complexity breeds inefficiency
Complexity breeds ignorance
Interestingly enough it appeared the majority of the results were related to IT and data management systems. However, I find that the challenges of IT and the means successful organizations use to address those issues are applicable to most business challenges. (See Tivix.com/blog) I’m confident you would acknowledge that your program has been challenged by one or more of the above results.
But, those solutions can be complex in and of themselves. We need something else to tame complexity. Of course we are not suggesting that a safety program be defined in a matter of pages. There are many important parts of a program that cannot be abridged or digested. But that doesn’t mean there cannot be a common thread drawn through every piece of the program.
Think of it as the thread that is used to tailor a garment to fit a specific customer. A safety program, to be effective must be developed from a pattern designed to fit your particular workplace. Once the pattern is designed it is cut out and assembled, but strong thread is needed to hold it together, not just on the rack (or shelf), but when it’s worn (or implemented). If that thread is not strong, the pieces will begin to separate and gaps will result. Those gaps will decrease the effectiveness of the program. A poorly made raincoat will do a poor job protecting from rain.
So what is this one thing that serves as the common thread that can hold your program together giving it strength and resilience?
In the coming weeks we will revisit Safe 6® and how it can be used to sew your program together in an effort to tame complexity and what it can do to safety.
©2015 The Safely Working Project & P.D. Shafer III
“Safe 6” is a registered trademark of Trailmarker Ltd.
“Safely Working” is a trademark of Trailmarker Ltd.
While we believe what The Safely Working Project is promoting is useful to all employers and safety professionals, our efforts are directed at those small businesses that can’t afford or don’t have a safety professional to facilitate workplace safety.
The Safely Working Project envisions a path to workplace safety that is driven by employees and supervisors. This is fundamentally different from the traditional Safety Program where an EHS Professional manages workplace safety. So, instead of top down safety, Safely Working™ endeavors to succeed from the ground up. “We’re turning safety upside down.”