A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

As Industrial Hygiene and Safety Professionals, we introduced the idea of viewing safety through a performance-based looking glass and the value it brings by increasing our sphere of influence across the multiple organizational disciplines.  Safety should not be viewed as an “add in” or even a “priority” because priorities change based upon inputs and conditions.  The same can be said about statements such as “Safety is our number one goal” since goals change as well.  Most in our profession will agree with the premise that “safety must be a value” for lasting success and remain a constant regardless of the inputs and conditions.  How can we be successful in creating the culture and mindset needed to drive this value statement?  
Ron Sokol's picture
June 09, 2015
As Safety Professionals, we are dedicated to the protection of people, property and the environment.  Our success is often measured in the amount of human suffering we prevent as we chart OSHA rates for recordable injuries, lost work day cases or cases of restricted work activity.  We attempt to quantify our success as we compare past results against current performance.  If the needle trends downward, we pat ourselves on the back, notify management and tout the success of our safety efforts.  We become singular in focus as if the success or failure of our organization is predicated on this sole outcome.  This type of thinking causes us to be pigeon holed in our world, many times, outside of the heartbeat of the organization and its leadership.  We are brought into the Board room to report on a certain situation and promptly escorted out once our information and expertise is no longer needed.  It is a sad reality that this is how a large majority of safety professionals operate.  If this is how you operate, the question becomes, “why should I change and if I do, how do I change?”To address the question of “why should I change,” I challenge you to view safety through a performance based looking glass.  As safety professionals, much of our time is spent on research of standards and creating policies and procedures to ensure compliance with applicable governmental standards.  This methodology breeds a compliance or prescriptive based approach that restricts our influence throughout an organization.  
Ron Sokol's picture
June 01, 2015