The 7 Safety Myths
As a motivational workplace safety speaker, let me pitch a serious question: Who are You Keeping Safe?
It’s a proven fact that when we look out for one another, everyone in the workplace is safer. While the accepted wisdom used to be “I look out for me, because I am #1,” psychologists came to strongly believe the safest workplaces are those where people care that their co-workers are safe.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
These past few years have skewed the workplace injury numbers with lockdowns, hybrid workplaces and remote offices. Nevertheless, the latest data shows that in 2020 there were 2.7 million nonfatal workplace injuries. While the workplace injuries were down about 5 percent, illnesses (including COVID, quadrupled).
As a keynote speaker on safety, before I go any further with this post, we need to clarify an important detail. A “nonfatal workplace injury” is not considered a bump or bruise, but a serious injury that usually results in days or weeks lost, hospital or doctor visits, therapy and/or medication. These consequences cost companies billions of dollars.
It is difficult for anyone to answer, “who are you keeping safe?” without wondering how 2.7 million of our fellow co-workers managed to get injured.
There are many myths around safety that are important to address. You might see a myth that is occurring in your workplace right now, or perhaps several of them. The major issue is if workers are really looking out for one another, or if a myth is being perpetuated.
7 Myths About Safety
- We offer safety training – It is a fairly straightforward statement. However, unless there is a determined mindset, it turns out that many organizations are spotty – at best, in their training. For example, how well trained are executives, suppliers and drivers when they visit the job site? Who is watching out for them?
- We don’t cut corners – Unfortunately many organizations take to heart the belief that cutting corners is not necessarily a bad thing. I might agree if we are talking about re-using copy paper or hiring a virtual assistant, but serious injuries are occurring where there is dangerous used machinery or second-rate harnesses or poor vehicle maintenance is in play.
- We enable our people to report safety hazards – Again, this is an uneven concept. It may apply to a job site, but the manufacturing floor may have loose wired, poorly stored chemicals or even dangerous office equipment. Is everyone looking out for their co-workers enough to make a complaint in regard to violations?
- We preach workplace security – In this day and age, workplaces cannot be too secure. Yet, many are open, many have blocked exits (does everyone know where those exits are?), some companies enable workplace bullies, some look the other way in issues of harassment or abuse, discrimination and other workplaces ignore high stress or substance abuse.
- We routinely conduct safety audits – Are check-marks simply placed next to “questions” on a sheet? Is your organization walking through compliance? Who will tell the spouse of a badly injured worker that the safety audit was window dressing? Is everyone following the safety rules and procedures including breaks, team lifting and reporting problems?
- Our workplace promotes health – What does a healthy workplace mean to your organization? Is there good ventilation and filtration? Potential burn hazards? Unsafe machinery? Rodent problems? Good drinking water? The list can go on for pages. The important question is if you are standing up for the safety of your co-workers?
- We enforce the wearing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and safety gear – Does your company enforce the proper wearing of equipment or does it look past the responsibilities?
Who are you keeping safe? Is someone keeping you safe? Safety is a contract that everyone needs to honor. No exceptions, no excuses. Everyone must be bound by that contract to get home safe at the end of each day.
Scott Burrows, Motivational Workplace Safety Speaker. For more information, please contact Scott today through this website or for more immediate attention at: 520 – 548 – 1169.