Can a safety professional renew the way they view safety? Can innovation with safety be a new way of thinking? For a profession that works around eliminating, reducing and controlling risk, it can be a huge endeavor to take on innovation.
Innovation requires risk. It requires one to ask questions, some questions that may be harsh, some that you may not want to answer, but they are good questions to ask. Normally when we think of Safety, we do not think of innovation, the two contradict themselves as it is, but by not embracing innovation, we are only hurting the safety community.
The fear of thinking differently and the fear of change have stopped humans in their tracks for centuries. In order to progress the safety profession and to instill an exciting safety culture, we need to get over that fear and start thinking about safety differently. Of course, we have our standards that we need to follow, but why can’t we make it exciting to follow them? Why can’t we think of fun ways to conduct training? Why can’t we make safety engaging?
The first reason a safety culture fails is because not everyone is on board. The entire business, from the Leaders to the laborers need to be on the safety wagon in order to make a safety culture really stick. Sure, you can implement programs and processes and be compliant, but it’s going to be a drag. If this is your job, why not make it enjoyable, why not spread that joy to others. Let them know that you care, let them know that you enjoy what you do.
You will notice that your excitement for safety will spread to others. So, change your thinking, get out of “compliance” mode and stop barely getting by. Provide employees with the knowledge they need, show that you support them, ask for their opinions and suggestions. If you involve others in the planning process, they take more interest in following the plan, because they feel involved. Provide engaging training, don’t just watch a video from the 1960’s, instead have someone present or give a speech. Set up a safety committee, giving workers a responsibility and voice. Be a good role model, you can’t ask workers to follow rules, if you’re not willing to do the same! Show that you believe in your safety program, by following it.
So, can safety professionals renew the way they view safety? Can they see past just being compliant and being the “enforcer?” Can we help generate a safety culture, rather than just a safety program? Sure, we can, it just takes a little innovation and belief in yourself and what you do.