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By: Thomas Carson

Are You Safe or Just Lucky? Let’s Find Out!

One of the most famous street racing videos ever made presents a hurried drive across early morning Paris in 1976. The storyline is a gentleman who, in a hurry to get to a meeting, disregards numerous traffic protocols and customs, like speed limits, traffic signals and the “artificial” boundary between road and sidewalk. Rev up your day and watch the 8 minute film here: C’etait Un Rendez-vous by Claude Lelouch – you’re welcome 🙂 .

When this video was first released, people either loved what they saw, praising Monsieur Lelouch for his creative and thrilling work, or were outraged, criticizing him for a reckless, dangerous act. The video begs the question: was he able to pull off this high-speed feat because he designed it safely or was he just lucky? In the same way, while a track record of no worker injuries is a positive sign, it’s crucial to look beyond the surface to determine whether a company is genuinely prioritizing safety or merely benefiting from good fortune.

I thought of this film when talking recently with my friend @BobEdson, a skilled safety culture consultant in Denver. Bob is hyper-aware of the distinction between being truly safe and being lucky in his work as a safety professional and consultant to large organizations. I first met Bob nearly seven years ago when he shared his experiences and personal philosophy in a series of recordings about safety. I have done my best to learn from his teachings and reflect at least a portion here. Anything I got wrong is my fault, not his!

Ensuring the safety of workers is a critical responsibility for any company. A record of no injuries might suggest a company is doing an excellent job, but is it due to careful planning and implementation of safety measures, or is it simply a stroke of luck? Let’s look at some key indicators that help distinguish between a company that is genuinely prioritizing safety and one that might just be lucky.

  1. Safety Policies & Procedures
    A company that prioritizes safety will have well-defined safety policies and procedures in place. These documents should be readily available to all employees and cover a wide range of scenarios, from emergency response plans to personal protective equipment (PPE) protocols. If a company lacks clear and comprehensive safety policies, it may be relying on luck rather than a proactive safety approach.
  2. Employee Training & Awareness
    A robust safety program includes regular training sessions for employees. This training should cover not only basic safety protocols but also specific procedures related to the industry and the company’s operations. Additionally, employees should be aware of potential hazards in their work environment. If a company invests in thorough training and maintains a culture of safety awareness, it is actively reducing the likelihood of accidents.
  3. Regular Safety Audits & Inspections
    Companies that prioritize safety conduct regular audits and inspections of their facilities. These assessments aim to identify potential hazards, assess the effectiveness of safety measures, and implement necessary improvements. A company that relies on luck may not invest the time and resources into such proactive measures.
  4. Open Communication Channels
    An open line of communication between management and employees is crucial for identifying and addressing safety concerns. Companies that encourage employees to report potential hazards or unsafe practices demonstrate a commitment to safety. Just as important is providing feedback to employees on the status of reports they submit. If a company has a culture of secrecy or discourages employees from speaking up about safety concerns, it may be relying on luck to avoid accidents.
  5. Investment in Safety Equipment & Technology
    Companies genuinely committed to safety will invest in high-quality safety equipment and utilize cutting-edge technology to mitigate risks. This includes providing adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), maintaining machinery, and adopting innovative safety measures. A company that skimps on safety equipment or neglects technological advancements may be tempting fate rather than ensuring genuine safety.
  6. Safety Records & Incident Response
    A company’s track record with safety incidents is a clear indicator of its commitment to safety. Analyzing incident reports, near misses, and how they are addressed is crucial. A company that learns from incidents and takes proactive steps to prevent future occurrences is actively prioritizing safety. Conversely, a company that downplays or fails to adequately respond to incidents may be depending on luck to maintain a clean safety record.

Clear safety policies, comprehensive training, regular audits, open communication, investment in equipment, and a proactive response to incidents are key indicators of a safety-conscious company. By carefully evaluating these factors, stakeholders can better understand whether safety is a matter of careful planning or just a fortunate streak of luck. You would really like to know if you can expect to make your rendez-vous based on the inherently safe environment in which you work or if you need to depend on dumb luck!

Because “safety is job 1,” at Sospes we focus on simplifying the safety job. We sell best-in-class software that makes it easy to collect field safety data and provides valuable operating data for continual improvement and developing an effective safety culture. Our Customer Success team helps customers apply templates to streamline workflows and help achieve safety performance goals. Customers tell us that our software has the fastest user adoption rate because it’s super simple to learn. If you’re looking for a low-cost implementation with a short learning curve and fast time to value, give us a call. Our dedicated support specialists will take the time to understand your requirements, tailor the solution, and remove complexity so you get to the results you desire faster and easier.

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