What’s New in Safety? (You might not want to know)
As a motivational safety speaker, I must admit that I am obsessed with safety. I myself became a safety statistic after leaving a job site. So, keynote speaking on safety isn’t a “lazy exercise” for me. It is intensely personal and I live with the results every day of my life.
As an exercise
So, as an exercise for this post, I tracked ten OSHA safety incidents and violations for just the one month prior to this date. The results are typical and shocking:
- A fatal trench collapse, lack of safety equipment, Missouri
- Manufacturing operation with 21 worker safety violations, Pennsylvania
- Contractor fined $1 Million for egregious safety violations, Ohio
- Major oil refinery ordered to reinstate “whistleblower workers,” Texas
- Technician electrocuted, company cited for major safety violations, Georgia
- Worker drowning, company cited for safety violations, Florida
- Major builder cited for worker safety violations (roofers), Illinois
- Major national retailer cited for blocked exits in storage areas, Georgia
- Workers exposed to power lines, California
- Garage collapse on workers, Massachusetts
Every one of the situations above was a tragedy and every accident or potential accident was avoidable.
The OSHA listing of safety violations is cumulative; it ticks-off month after month, incident after incident with awful regularity. Even in the list shown above, the violations affect everyone from heavy equipment operators to store clerks to technicians and production personnel.
As a motivational safety speaker, the annual statistics are troubling. Year-to-year and despite the pandemic itself, the data is flat. Why does it appear as though organizations have made such slow progress?
While these ten recent incidents may be different, they represent a unifying and troubling thread: the organizations lack a safety mindset and the determination to create a safety culture within their organizations.
In the list I summarized, the heartbreaking safety violations, occurred in nine states near ten different cities in widely varying demographics. Apparently, safety messaging and practicing is not being reinforced; not being taken seriously; not helping to ensure that at the end of the day, people make it back home to their loved ones.
If a safety mindset is lacking, who is to blame? Companies are quick to blame workers or safety coordinators or “unsafe conditions.” The safety mindset is not limited to any of those, but to all of those and then some.
The safety mindset starts with the CEO and runs through the organization down to the newest employee. I have heard rather officious arguments in the past e.g., safety is “about them,” the workers. Unfortunately, accidents are every bit as likely to happen driving home after the unofficial Christmas office party, or an office worker slipping on ice on the front steps.
Safety is everyone’s business and no one is exempt. The safety mindset puts the burden of safety on everyone. What’s new in safety this month? Everyone, and every day, every employee must be determined to do something if they see something.
To reach Scott Burrows, Motivational Safety Speaker contact Scott Burrows today by phone at: 520 – 548 – 1169 or through this website.