As “safety people”, which we are often referred to as, there is a common conversation that occurs between us and the world, one could often say a battle, that involves risk. How often have you tried to convince someone that they needed to have written safety plans/programs and train employees on them when they have never been asked for them before? Have you ever had to justify putting specific procedures in place to safeguard employees against a hazard that has “never happened here”? These are just a few examples that I thought of when I read a letter written by the president of the ASSP (American Society of Safety Professionals). Diana Stegall wrote this in her last Presidents Letter for her term and it made me think. Here is a snapshot but the full letter is worth the read. https://www.assp.org/news-and-articles/2020/06/01/what-an-amazing-journey
“When we moved to Arizona last May, I was told that rattlesnakes are common in our new state, and our parks feature plenty of signs to caution visitors about this potential danger. Yet, after not seeing a single rattlesnake for 8 months, I started to wonder if the warnings were exaggerated. Then, within a week, a rattlesnake showed up in our front yard, then I saw two more just a few feet off the path where I walk almost every day.
Those close encounters reminded me of conversations with clients about the need for additional hazard controls. Sometimes when I offered these suggestions, my clients would say “that hasn’t happened here” or perhaps argue that “the regulations don’t require it.” In most cases, their perception of risk was limited to their personal experience or what the regulations said. It is easy to overlook potential risks when we limit our perspective. Being open to different points of view is fundamental to being an effective safety professional and a successful, compassionate leader.”
Diana’s words above and the rest of her letter can be applied to our world today, yesterday, & tomorrow-just because something doesn’t affect you personally or you haven’t experienced a direct hit in the workplace (accident, incident, violation, etc), doesn’t mean you do nothing. It means you do the right thing. Create policies, procedures, plans for the health & safety of your employees. The snip above also made me think of the situation about Covid-19-look for a follow up post later today!
Thanks for reading! Remember…follow Safety Sarah-she won’t steer you wrong! Need help with plans-call Safety Sarah!