Originally posted on Caterpillar Safety Service’s Safety Culture WORLD blog http://safetycultureworld.blogspot.com/and reposted here with Caterpillar’s permission.

Recently, I heard a quotation that caused me to stop and reflect.  It went something like “Life must be lived forward; unfortunately it can only be understood backward.”  As we move forward in our lives, it seems that the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path seldom provide more guidance than just enough to take the next step.  We must learn from our history or be doomed to repeat the same mistakes. 

I have had a few opportunities to change jobs.  As I recollect, the actual number is right at 20.  At each fork in the road, it has been worthwhile to stop and review my experiences with both the distant and recent past.  What have I done well?  What needs to improve?  Which fork in the road should I explore that seems to be the better fit for who I am and where I have come from?  With such consideration, there seems to be just a little more light shining on the path forward.

As I talk safety with companies and individuals I find there is a genuine interest in moving beyond the classic approaches. The focus on regulations and observations is still a need, yet these reactive tools don’t provide a zero incident safety culture. 

As you look to live forward why not give consideration to how you can build a more involved – creative past with new safety tool sets like perception surveys, Continuous Improvement Kaizen teams, specific safety accountabilities and the like.