How Will You Motivate Your Employees to be Safety Strong?
How do you motivate your employees to be safety strong and safety resilient? How determined are you to create a shared safety vision throughout your organization?
As a safety motivational speaker on creating strong safety teams, I know there is a huge difference between talking about safety in meetings and having the toughness to be safety strong. A commitment to employee safety requires the resiliency and grit to live safety every day.
What Happens When Teams Aren’t Strong?
There is a quote from the famous British safety consultant Sir Brian Appleton who said:
“Safety is not an intellectual exercise to keep us in work. It is a matter of life and death. It is the sum of our contributions to safety management that determines whether the people we work with live or die.”
Appleton was commenting on the tragedy of the Occidental Petroleum Piper Alpha offshore oil drilling rig when in July 1988, 167 men lost their lives in a series of explosions on the rig off the coast of Scotland.
Every man on that drilling platform was given training but in the end the safety experts were shocked to learn there was no plan, no common safety vision and in fact, not even an awareness of how to evacuate the structure. The experts concluded that there were at least 55 things that could have been done – and weren’t done.
It is, of course, easy for us to think that 1988 was a while ago – and overseas in Scotland, after all we’re much safer “over here” in 2019. However, the most recent tabulation from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics paints a different picture. In 2017, more than 5,100 lives were lost on the job, including more than 1,300 in trade, transportation, and utilities, nearly 1,000 in construction, and more than 300 in manufacturing. Serious injuries were in the hundreds of thousands.
The numbers are so staggering that we lose sight of a simple fact. Each injury or death represents a person with hopes and dreams, with families and friends. Each one was exposed to safety training. They may have even been a part of their company’s safety team. So, what happened?
You are the Team
Safety is personal. Carl Potter, writing for Electric Energy Online, said every time there is a serious accident the safety professionals gather the team and spend a great deal of time analyzing the reasons.
“If you want to be a professional in your industry and live a long successful career, learn all you can about your job’s safe work procedures. Encourage safety meetings and briefings that engage and teach. Find ways to help yourself and others learn the procedures. Being a professional is to take personal responsibility to “Learn, Learn, Learn!”
When I give my motivational talks on safety, I emphasize that “the team” is “us.” We are responsible for learning, and for teaching. We can’t help others if we neglect ourselves. You are the team. You must be determined to be safe and to help make others safe. It is not a passive exercise.
Potter continued: “I have attended many a boring safety meeting. Most often we just took turns reading the safety guidelines. However, just like in Sunday School, often the words went in one ear and came out the other.”
If you are determined to motivate yourself, you will in turn motivate others. The strongest link must be you, and you must have the grit to believe it and to live it.
Contact Scott Burrows, Motivational Speaker for Safety Teams for your upcoming national or regional meetings through this website or by calling us at: (520) 548-1169