in SW Environment

Real or Perceived…… Does it Really Matter?

In a recent post perception was identified as an obstacle to safety in the workplace.  In particular, the mention of OSHA usually elicits a less than positive comment.  Besides general perception, employers may be concerned about expense, time, control, expertise and incentive.  These concerns are rationalizations more than real obstacles.  The Safely Working Project changes the perception by changing the focus from “Safety” to Safely Working.  It is really a simple re-orientation that can encourage an employer to embrace and make a commitment to Safely Working.

  • Control – Everyone has a role and responsibility
  • ExpertiseSensible Care is the key
  • Money – Safely Working doesn’t cost anything
  • Time – Increased productivity more than compensates
  • Incentive – Safely Working 100% of the Time, not compliance
  • Perception – Positive workplace, real, not perceived

It can be summarized this way:  “The success of a company can only be achieved through Safely Working…… because just working will not assure success.”

But, we still haven’t identified what is probably the biggest obstacle to safety a small business employer has.   Why do people (in this case, employers) rationalize?  It’s usually when the solution or answer is not easily implemented.   Put yourself in the employer, owner, CEO or boss’ chair.  You’re just getting started getting the business rolling.  Is safety part of the business plan?  You give it some thought and come up with this basic list of questions:

  • Why do it?
  • Where to start?
  • Who does it?
  • How to get it done?
  • What are the issues?
  • When is it enough?

Well, you’re doing it because you know it is one of the elements needed for a successful operation.  That takes care of the “Why.”   And the “Who,” “How,” “What,” and “When” can’t easily answered until you’ve answered “Where to start.”  That’s easy to answer, right?  Just go to and click the green “START HERE” button.  What? You can’t find it?!?

The fact is, there is no such button, just a comprehensive website built around thousands of pages of regulations.  That’s the problem.  Workplace safety may not be complicated, but it is expansive.  There’s so much to do and safety depends on all of it being done all the time.  A little overwhelming.  Not unlike herding cats?  It’s a lot easier to rationalize why it’s not needed than to figure out where to start.  So, the biggest obstacle to workplace safety is figuring out where to start.

In our next post we’ll tell you where to find the green “START HERE” button.


©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.