Updated: Mar 3, 2022
Do You Roll The Dice?
Only Have To Be Right Once
A safety professional only needs to be right one time to prove that you should manage safety effectively. Why? Because when you roll the dice and take chances, there is the possibility of rolling snake eyes. Just as there is some kind of loss in gambling when this happens, it is also true for safety. What the loss will be depends on the specifics of the circumstances of the event. For instance, if someone trips on a cord or debris in the walkway, they could fall. Falls range from essentially no injury, to something requiring medical attention or worse. If the event happens when say a forklift is rounding the corner, and the operator doesn’t see you, it could be costly indeed.
The costs don’t extend only to injuries. Damaged equipment has a cost. Then there’s the cost of reduced productivity. Staff have to respond to incidents when they happen. Incidents are events that aren’t supposed to happen after all. Consequentially, responding staff members aren’t contributing to business productivity at that time. So, time spent dealing with the incident winds up being a cost. Added up together, the costs can become quite high. Any one event can show that it was worth it to pay more attention to safety. Safety costs have likely already affected your business. If you don’t think so, have you taken a good look to be sure?
How About We Make A Wager, Figuratively Speaking
Do you feel pretty sure that you are handling safety well enough? Do you think the risks are low enough that you won’t feel any real pain related to safety? If yes, consider this metaphorical (not real) wager. For those working in heavy industrial processes, if you or anyone in your workplace suffer a recordable injury before you retire (minimum of 5 years before retirement), you will give everything you own to me. That includes all of your money, too. If I lose, then I’d have to do the same for my stuff and money. This of course presumes we are being fair and honest with each other as is good business. The bar would be lowered significantly for lower risk businesses such as a call center. A first aid injury, as defined by OSHA, makes more sense in their case.
Think about this for a bit. Evaluate your specific situation. There’s no rush since this is a blog post. Now, would you take that wager? Does it look like a sure thing? Are you absolutely certain that you would not roll snake eyes? If the answer is no, then this little thought exercise showed you that you aren’t quite as sure about your odds as you thought. That’s definitely a good thing! You don’t want to rest on your laurels when it comes to safety. If you want anything to run long and well, it takes planned, routine maintenance.
Do You Still Roll The Dice? Stop It!
Now that you hopefully know you weren’t as “safe” in our little wager as you thought, don’t roll the dice on your safety management practices. It’s great to recognize that there is a problem. But not much happens until you do something about it. What does it mean to stop rolling the dice? That’s simple. You take a critical look at how your operations and processes function. Look at any data you have to see where you have issues. Get to the bottom of why the issues occurred. Then, solve the problem such that the odds of it happening again are low or zero.
You also have to realize that safety management isn’t just one person’s job. If you are someone with authority, general workers take you as an example of how to be. If you let things slide, the probably will as well. So, when we did our little wager, did the thought of potentially so many people rolling snake eyes make you think your odds were bad? It should have, because they are. But, if you realize that you need to pay attention, plan, and take real action towards safety, it will be easier in the long run to get your employees to. Not at first, however. If the longstanding history is that you have been throwing the dice, it will take some time to curb that behavior in others. Let the change at your company start with you. Fortunately, You don’t need to start this process completely from scratch. Here is a blog post that helps put in perspective whose job safety is as well as the benefits of working with a team.