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 Joseph Wesley, 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.