I recently attended a luncheon featuring an attorney who discussed current Workers’ Compensation issues in our state. The speaker was an expert and fielded lots of very specific questions. I am always amazed how much time safety professionals spend dealing with these issues. As I have been more involved through the years with the active ingredients in the “safety stew” I have been fortunate to avoid workers’ compensation woes. What strikes me is that the time consumed by workers’ comp takes away time from the active ingredients that drive Safely Working.
If you are new to The Safely Working Project you may be asking what the heck is “Safety Stew?” It is a concept we introduced here a couple months ago. It occurred to me that it was time to reheat the Stew and consider whether we can turn it into Stroganoff. Basically, “Safety Stew” is made up of active ingredients, inactive ingredients and fillers. The active ingredients are what really makes the stew good. If we use just the active ingredients we can make a more refined plate of stroganoff, or for our purposes Safely Working Stroganoff. The principal active ingredients are:
- Employer commitment – Empower supervisors and employees
- Danger check – Recognize the dangers from activities and conditions
- Practices and procedures – Safe 6, one rule to rule them all
- Employee training – Skills for Safely Working
- Supervision – Working with employees to protect their lifestyles
- Promotion – Keep the stroganoff deliciously warm!
These are all common ingredients any workplace can produce themselves. The fact is when Stroganoff is the main entry on the menu the need for adding fillers (like workers’ comp management) should be kept to a minimum and not dominate the dish.
For now, let’s consider employer and management commitment. Remember, The Safely Working Project is geared toward employers that have no safety professional for whatever reason. The Project’s mission is to provide guidance that can be simply applied and implemented by supervisors and employees. We want to put employers in a position where there are no obstacles and no excuse for not promoting a Safely Working Environment. (See this post) An employer who is committed to making Stroganoff and empowering employees and supervisors to be Safely Working will likely have fewer mishaps and thus less likely to have to deal with the fillers like workers’ comp to any great extent.
Something to keep in mind is that over time it’s employees that become supervisors. Many CEO’s started at the bottom. Empowered employees will continue promoting a Safely Working Environment. As more and more employees are given responsibility for Safely Working, the Safely Working Environment will be evident and pervasive. That’s why we believe “Safely Working From The Ground Up!” is more effective than trickle down safety.
In Part 2 we’ll discuss the obstacles to Safely Working.
©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.