Safety is Not a Priority!
Most workplaces have great slogans and banners that state their commitment to safety. Things like “Safety First!” or “Safety is our Top Priority!” are emblazoned across t-shirts and hats. Everybody loves to get them and wear them. But are they really a lie?
The problem with saying that safety is a priority lies in the very definition of the word. The word “priority” means: a precedence established by order of importance or urgency. A person can only have 1 top priority at a time. And in the course of a workday, that priority shifts over and over again as we react to the happenings around us.
Most of us start out each day with a to-do list – a prioritized list, either written or in our head, of tasks we hope to accomplish that day. But then the phone rings or we get an email or a text message and so the messages and information continues to assault us all day long with fires to be put out and never ending demands on our time.
So where does workplace safety fit into barrage of information and distraction? We start by being honest, realizing that safety can’t possibly be the top priority at every single moment of the day.
So we have to shift the idea of safety into one of a value – a principle considered worthwhile or desirable. When we look at safety as a value or underlying principle to be followed, then it stays with us, no matter what our ever shifting priorities are.
When we view safety as a value, we then have the mindset that safety and health will always be considered – no matter the priority.
As business focus and needs change throughout any given day, so will the needs and focus of safety. If employee safety and health is considered a value, then safety will always be present.
Do you consider Employee Safety to be a Value in your organization? If so, how do you demonstrate that value as your priorities shift throughout the day?
Posted on Fri, March 30, 2012
by Leslie Rex Stockel, CSP