Taking Ownership Safety Talk
Much of the time spent talking about safety on the job is focused on educating workers to be able to recognize or identify hazards on the job. Less time is spent discussing how to mitigate those hazards correctly. Part of correctly mitigating a hazard in the workplace is taking ownership of it and seeing it through so that it gets corrected.
Recognizing Versus Taking Ownership
There is a huge difference between a worker who is able to recognize a hazard and a worker who recognizes a hazard and owns it until it is corrected. You may have heard someone say after an incident occurs, “yeah, I saw him doing that, I knew something was going to happen” or “I knew someone was going to trip over that broken concrete at some point.”
These statements show that the person saying this recognized the hazard, but most likely stopped there. They identified it as a hazard, but they did not take ownership of the hazard and follow through on making sure it gets corrected.
There are situations where a hazard is reported by a worker, but not fixed by management. In these cases, it is often a failure by management or the person above you who is responsible for taking your concern about a hazard and correcting it if needed. As the worker, there are still options for you if this occurs. It may be a case of the person who is responsible for fixing the problem just simply forgetting about it.
As the worker on the ground near the hazard, remind them that it needs to be fixed. If it is a case of a supervisor not taking the concern of a hazard seriously, then go to a different supervisor or a higher level of management. Having the mindset of “I did my part” is not good enough when it leaves a hazard for others to be exposed to.
Safety in the workplace is everyone’s responsibility, and injuries affect everyone in that workplace, not just the person who gets hurt. When you recognize a hazard, do not just keep it to yourself. Doing this may protect you, but it leaves everyone else in that area vulnerable to an injury or incident.
-What is a hazard that people are likely to recognize in a workplace and think to themselves, “it is not a big deal” or “someone else will take care of it”?
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