Why Safety Professionals need to go beyond being the Squeaky Wheel


Sandy Smith wrote an article for ehstoday.com titled, “Former President of Chemical Company Sentenced for Federal Crimes Related to Employee Deaths“. This in turn caused , a safety professional,  to write the following comment:

“As Safety Professionals we have to be the squeaky wheel. We have understand how to communicate the consequences of bad /unsafe actions to the next level leadership. The people that follow us are counting on it.”

And he is absolutely correct. I really do not want to short-sell the importance of the constant drum beat regarding safety, but that is just the first step for safety. It is a countermeasure rather than a solution. So much more is needed.

In our safety book co-authors Brion K. Hanks and Scott Burr join me in saying,

“In regards to the unspoken cold war between production 
and safety, we have noticed that some industry leaders 
are expending enormous amounts of activity with relatively 
minor new achievement. Safety as a discipline needs an 
upgrade and a reboot. The result of this delusion (that 
activity equals achievement) is that people are routinely 
hurt and killed on the job...
...One of the reasons we succumb to trading-off safety for 
schedule or profits is because management and 'designers' 
throw problems over the wall instead of taking full 
accountability for what they create. All of this 'tossing 
off of responsibility' lands squarely on the worker in the 
field in bad weather with pressures and dangers all around. 
This is the worst place to try and solve problems that 
should have been solved upstream....”

Safety needs to be more systematic.

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