When Safety Awareness is Lost
When I speak to groups as a motivational workplace safety speaker, it is important for me to emphasize that in addition to concerns about lingering COVID concerns, there is a more basic level many workers seem to have ignored.
Workers who never left the workplace, didn’t have the luxury to worry about a virus, they kept up the fight under heroic conditions. In addition to our healthcare heroes, these brave souls may have worked in manufacturing, foodservice, shipping and receiving, IT, customer service, retail services and transportation. Those who have stayed in place from 2020 are seasoned veterans. However, in many organizations there was constant turmoil with great turnover.
Now, as COVID has been controlled in this country, new employees as well as those returning to in-person jobs, have lost what I refer to as “safety awareness.”
It is important to note that accident reporting lags behind the actual numbers however, it appears as though accidents are increasing as more workers are returning to the workplace. While it’s logical enough, the tragedy shouldn’t be overlooked. For example, in 2021, 22 states had a higher accident rate than the national average and sadly, workplace fatalities increased.
Any injury that has been reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is far more than a slip, fall and a few giggles. Workplace injuries are serious business. They affect family, friends and co-workers as well as the injured party.
Isn’t it time for a new safety mindset?
It is time for a new safety mindset. Companies need to shift from the old attitude of “roll up your sleeves and get it done – not matter what,” to a clear vision of everyone staying healthy. While it’s true that some companies are opting for full-time remote work to part-time or hybrid work, for many organizations those models are not possible.
Companies must develop an attitude of helping employees as much in an emotional or mental sense as a physical sense. Good mental health leads to wise decisions and less accidents.
A new safety mindset should be a new attitude based on a determination to take care of one another. Why does the American work place desperately need this? Unfortunately, the accident statistics were relatively flat to slightly increasing before, during and after the lockdowns. Nothing changed by doing things the old way.
As the nation was still dealing with the COVID lockdown, safety software company EHS wrote in their newsletter:
“When we talk about a “positive safety mindset”, what does this actually mean? Put simply, a positive mindset, when it comes to workplace safety, is all about choosing to put safety first, even in the face of competing interests.”
As a motivational workplace safety speaker, I couldn’t agree more.
A positive safety mindset is exactly what is needed to improve safety awareness. Safety must be placed higher than production, profits and proficiency. Whether employees are working to manufacture pharmaceuticals or computer chips or serving the public in restaurants or in any type of public-facing capacity, there can be no higher purpose than safety.
As 2023 looms companies must resolve to being safe places in which to work. In the end, we need to be tenacious to helping one another in all ways.
To reach Scott Burrows, Motivational Workforce Safety Speaker, contact Scott today by phone at: 520 – 548 – 1169 or through this website.