How to Create an Organization that is Focused on Zero-Injuries

By Carl Potter, CSP, CMC and Deb Potter, PhD, CMC

Every day in the United States on the average, 15 workers lose their lives as a result of injuries or illnesses related to their work – that’s over 5700 people.  These people leave behind families, friends, and co-workers.  The single most common cause is complacency – an attitude that “it won’t happen to me.”

Complacency Kills
Too often individuals and companies become complacent when it comes to safety.  Managers are satisfied with mediocre safety performance and do not work to improve the environment by raising safety awareness and eliminating the potential for injury.  Employees are content and are not attentive to their work environments.  They become convinced that management is not concerned about safety.  They begin to think they are not responsible for their own safety.

Over time, the entire organization gives little meaningful attention to safety.

The result is that employees begin to get in a hurry and take shortcuts on the job. They are more focused on production and getting the job done than getting it done safely.  That attitude becomes an organizational norm.  Near-misses go unreported.  No one wants to take the time to fill our forms and employees don’t understand the connection between sharing information and eliminating injuries. Managers do not pay attention to reports, so they are unimportant.  The number of injuries increases and they become more severe.  Everyone becomes frustrated.  Employees blame management and management blames employees, yet no one is willing to take action to improve the situation.  Unfortunately, it often takes a fatal injury to cause everyone to focus on safety.  Don’t let this happen to your organization.

The Complacency Trap
Research shows that many incidents occur because people are distracted and do not pay attention to what is going on around them.  Managers often fall into the same trap – they are distracted by pressing issues such as the needs to increase productivity, improve quality, and raise profits.  They stop paying much attention to the importance of safety in the organization and are unaware of what is really going on with regard to safety.  In other words, they become complacent.

When managers and supervisors do not make safety a top priority in the organization, it is easy for employees to make personal safety a low priority.  Then incidents and injuries occur with increasing frequency.  There are two things that must happen to avoid this potentially deadly situation.

Read the rest of this article to learn how to stop the complacency trap...  (download in PDF format) Other safety topics available at:

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