Thought Leadership


We're so safe we're losing our momentum

April 5, 2012
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

Question: “At many of our manufacturing sites we are reaching a point in our safety journey that they are struggling to understand. The issue is keeping people interested because they are forgetting the reasons we do everything we do in our safety systems.  The longer we go without an injury or very few minor injuries, the more push back we get on keeping the momentum going on our safety processes and introducing new processes.”

Response: By "Momentum" you essentially mean desirable frequency and quality of behaviors related to your safety processes right?  I'm assuming these are behaviors like getting permits, turning in near misses and hazards, and conducting JSAs as well as personal safety behaviors such as wearing proper PPE and following safety procedures.

Behaviors increase and are refined based on reinforcement.  However, the "lack of injuries" is not a reinforcer and does not increase or even maintain behaviors in your safety process.  So you're right that you tend to get complacency when you hit the plateau where there are few injuries.

When you have an injury, the injury itself create a context where safety behaviors tend to increase to avoid personal injuries and sad consequences such as seeing a friend hurt or hearing a supervisor gripe (negative reinforcement).  

Fortunately, reinforcement works!  Instead of relying on injury outcome data to reinforce behaviors in safety processes, you'll need to reinforce your safety behaviors more directly.  

1) Don’t assume your workforce knows what they need to do.  Define the specific behaviors you want to see.  Go past “following safety procedures” to include near miss reporting, harazard identification, peer-to-peer observations, proper permitting, giving a safety talk, etc.

2) Make sure your leading-indicator measurement system is strong.  Measure performance within your safety processes in the behaviors you defined above.

3) Then provide feedback abundantly via visibility boards, team meetings, and leadership "thank you's".  You may even consider non-contingent celebrations. 

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

11/4/14 2:00 pm EST

Eye Injuries: You rarely see them coming. Practical Solutions for reducing injuries to the eye.

The 3M Eye Injury Reduction webinar will provide an examination of how to help solve eye injuries in the workplace. This issue continues to challenge virtually every industry, and the solution is often times multifaceted. 3M will share some new tools and approaches to help you in solving this issue.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN JAN 2015 COVER

2015 January

Check out ISHN's first issue of 2015, which features articles about hearing protection as well as the State of the EHS Nation 2015 Survey.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - January 2015

FDO JAN 2015 COVER

 

For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. 

CHECK OUT THE JANUARY 2015 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.