Please take a few moments to think about the following questions:
- Should a vice president tell his employees, “I only want new mistakes”?
- Is telling a 10-year-old baseball pitcher to throw strikes a good way to teach him how to pitch?
- When is the last time you provided positive reinforcement for safety behavior, or do you consider safe work a part of the job that shouldn’t be praised?
- How do your frontline workers feel when you say zero injuries is the goal and nothing else is acceptable?
- Do most of your post-incident corrective actions involve administrative controls such as retraining and targeted observations?
- Imagine one of your employees rear-ends another vehicle and does $100 in damage to an older-model sedan with high mileage. Another employee does the same thing but hits a new luxury SUV and does $10,000 in damage. Are both vehicle collisions investigated? Do both employees receive the same disciplinary action?
- Would you spank your child because they spilled their milk? Would that keep them from spilling it again?
- How does it help someone when you say, “Be safe,” and are you doing it for them or yourself?
Here are two additional questions you should carefully consider, as they are the ultimate test of your safety program’s effectiveness. If your answer to either one is yes, there is room for improvement and an opportunity to add human performance (HP) principles into your program.
- Do the same kinds of incidents continue to occur at your organization?
- When incidents happen, are you left in disbelief that they happened, about how they happened and about who they happened to?