ISHN Guest BlogOriginally posted on Caterpillar Safety Service’s Safety Culture WORLD blog and reposted here with Caterpillar’s permission.

I often use TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) to add humor and make an impact in my safety teaching. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • ROI – Return On Investment
  • FNG – Fantastic New Guy
  • FOG – Fantastic Old Guy
  • RIW – Rapid Improvement Workshop
  • NVA – Non Value Added
  • CDC – Spelling Don’t Count

Laying humor aside, the TLA I have found that truly impacts safety performance is CAR: Conditions, Accountabilities and Results.

Conditions are the basic rudiments of safety. All the regulations are written around protecting people from conditions. Requirements for Guarding, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), Confined Space, Fall Protection are all in place because of dangerous conditions often found in the workplace as well as off the job. These are the conditions that must be addressed so people do not step in a dangerous trap that can severely injure them. If you have not taken care of the level one condition traps, you will not have an injury/incident free workplace.

Accountabilities are the actions people take to ensure they and others do not get injured. This is an important, proactive part of safety -- taking personal responsibility to protect yourselves and others. Safety accountabilities include training but also extend to things like personal risk awareness and assessment, timely near miss resolution, positive recognition for a job done well, continuous improvement teams and lots more. However, just doing more activities and feeling good about doing so is not enough.

Results that are value added must occur from all the safety stuff we are doing. Good safety and great safety require considerable amounts of work hours and capital investment. There must be an ROI on the personal and financial resources required to reduce injuries. Safety investment must go beyond “feel good.”  So when we work on developing leading indicators, these indicators must deliver Results for the necessary investments we make in Conditions and Accountabilities. Feel good is not good enough to achieve ZIP (Zero Incident Performance).

The Doc