Did you know that the smallest wave of an ocean can bring you down?

Think about how this feels. Stand at the edge of the ocean just far enough to let the waves wash over the top of your feet and then stare at the waves as they drift back into the ocean. I don't know about you but I often get dizzy and fall on my face. It is a bit strange, because you can feel the sand under your feet slowly disappear as the tide washes it away. I get disoriented and lose my stability. If I move to another spot, the same thing happens. The smallest wave can bring me down.

When we fail to build our safety programs and culture on sound fundamentals, the smallest wave in the work environment can wash away safety performance and leave your organization disoriented and unstable.

Believe in zero

If you want to anchor your programs in a manner that will weather the tide, you have to believe all injuries are preventable.

This is not a statement that challenges the laws of probability and the intent is not to establish a statistical miracle. Believing “Zero” is possible is all about the desire to win. You have to believe you can win or, otherwise, you will lose more often. Think about the consequences. If you do not wholeheartedly commit yourself to the idea that ZERO injuries is possible, you are standing in shifting sand letting the tide wash your safety programs away.

No slip-sliding

A lack of discipline and compromise is like the sand that disappears beneath your feet. Every time you let safety issues slide or every time you compromise your safety principles, your safety foundation erodes underneath you. You become unstable as you search for answers to your safety concerns. As you try to stand again without accepting the idea that all injuries are preventable, the laws of nature repeat. If you do not embrace the ZERO injury philosophy as your foundation, you will achieve a level of mediocrity and your safety programs will not remain standing.

Hold your position

Keep in mind, believing all injuries are preventable does not change the tide nor does it eliminate 100 percent of the risk in your work environment. But believing in ZERO injuries does give you the strength to hold your position and weather the rising tide without compromise. We are not immune to our surroundings but we have the security of our commitment to do the right things that eliminate injuries. From the moment you adopt a ZERO injury perspective, you begin to approach injury prevention with a new sense of purpose and you will discover that striving towards ZERO is a continuous process that can be achieved.

SIDEBAR: Thoughts to consider

  • Do you really believe all injuries are preventable? Why?
  • How often do you talk about this vision for ZERO incidents on a regular basis?
  • What are you doing to help your organization embrace the reality of ZERO incidents?