How Pride Relates to Safety
Pride is defined as “a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired”. We have all heard of the old saying “take pride in your work”. What does that really mean though when discussing safety? Having zero injuries over a year or two can be an indicator that a company has a good safety culture, but it definitely is not a tell-all sign. There are many companies that do not work many hours in a year or they have just been lucky in avoiding injuries while taking great risks.
To really gauge a company’s safety culture you need to see the day to day operations and how they view the “little things”. Some of the little things in regards to safety are items such as completing inspections, housekeeping, filling out job safety analysis, task pre planning, etc. Some of you reading this may think well the items you mentioned are critical to a good safety program and I agree with you. However, a company with a poor safety culture will have many individuals in it that do not think these items are critical in a mature safety culture. This is why I mentioned these items; they are a good way to gauge if a company has a mature safety culture outside of the traditional retroactive gauges such as an injury rate.
In safety, we are required to train our employees to follow the rules and work safely. Often we are also tasked with going beyond just the basic compliance of OSHA rules. Rules set by the company you work for or the client you work for often dictates a much higher standard to be held by everyone on the job. My guys out in the field are great at working safe and following those compliance level rules. It is often the smaller details of paperwork or client requirements where I have to spend most of my effort in motivating them to complete to the best of their abilities.
Motivating to Get the “Small Details” Done
A concept I like to relate back to this thought when talking to my field crew is that if someone were to pull out the job safety analysis or any other safety related paperwork you did last week, would you be proud of it? Can you say that you honestly gave it time and effort when filling it out? If you are completing something at work whether it is actual field work or filling our required safety related paperwork you should do it to the best of your ability. We do not always complete our best work, and I am not implying that it is easy to do so. The point I want to get at is, are you or your company approaching safety as “good enough”? Would you feel comfortable with the president of your company reviewing your paperwork or the paperwork of the field workers on your site? What about the housekeeping and general condition of the work areas?
If you find that everyone is scrambling around when there is some type of higher level of management onsite or a surprise audit then most likely there are areas that need addressed. When everyone is taking pride in their work and there is a high standard for safety onsite these audits and visits should not be a negative stress. The less deviation from what you are supposed doing to what you actually doing will result in far less stress and scrambling around to get things ready prior to a visit or an audit.
You as a safety professional most likely already know what you are slacking on at your company or on your particular jobsite. It is your job to help ensure everyone is completing their part to work safely down to the small details. While it may seem less painful to leave some items to the side until someone brings it light, I assure you it is not a good plan. Not only does it reflecting badly on you or your jobsite, but also can be a contributing factor of why an incident occurred. I heard once that your success in almost anything in life can be gauged by how you handle uncomfortable conversations. Addressing the details in safety can produce uncomfortable conversations and situations. It is up to you how successful you want to be.