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
- Expertise – Sensible 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 OSHA.gov 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.
©2016 The Safely Working Project & P.D. Shafer III
“Safe 6” and “Safely Working” are registered trademarks of Trailmarker Ltd.
The Safely Working Project is focused wholly on employees and their health and well-being in the workplace. The Project promotes useful guidance that does not depend on a safety professional or staff to facilitate in the workplace.
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.”