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By: Stacey Godbold

Two Words that are Essential for Every Worker & Safety Professional: “No” and “Trust”

When Randy Royall talks here about the power of engaging the employees in his facility with respect and trust, as well as the value of genuine engagement.  We know that software doesn’t create trust, but Sospes helps institutionalize the communications and actions that lead to building trust between companies and their employees

In 1989, working in an Emergency Response Team at a plant, Randy Royall broke his back and was paralyzed from the waist down. 

Now a safety motivational speaker, Randy looks back on that time in his career and realizes that it wasn’t a matter of if people were going to get hurt, it was just a matter of when

Importantly, one of the most powerful lessons that Randy learned from that devastating experience was one word: “No.” Specifically, he learned that when confronted with a potentially hazardous task, he was justified in saying things to his boss such as: 

  • “No, this isn’t right.” 
  • “No, I’m not going to be exposed to that.” 
  • “No, I’m not going to put my team members in danger.” 

Randy’s new perspective is the opposite of those held by some workers on job sites—they say “Yes” to potentially precarious situations for various reasons. If you could read their minds, they’d be thinking things such as: 

  • “I’m invincible, so I won’t get hurt.” 
  • “I like danger.” 
  • “Doing risky things will help me gain social approval.” 

Those previous bullet points sound like I’m describing an extreme sport like wingsuit flying, BASE jumping, or abseiling. But I’m not talking about risk-taking athletes that are chasing the next fear-based dopamine hit. No, I’m talking about workers, which come in all sorts, from assemblers to machinists, from painters to welders. 

Some people just do dangerous things at work for the thrill of it. Safety is so far down in their priorities that it isn’t even an afterthought. 

We can judge them and call them harsh names. But that won’t help them see the safety light, so to speak. 

Randy, my podcast guest, has had experience with people who literally don’t care about safety. Once, years ago, he was tasked with improving the safety culture of a project that involved 8,000 construction workers. You should check out my whole chat with Randy for all of his insights from that project, but I’d like to highlight the one thing that Randy said that started turning the safety culture around for the better. Again, it was one word: “Trust.” 

To learn about how Randy treated construction workers with dignity and respect, and thus earned their trust, listen to our podcast episode, “How Experiences Can Change Your View on Safety.” 

Be sure to check out Randy’s website, which has the following great tagline, “Safety First. Safety Always.”

Also, if you’re working at a place where people are pressuring you to do dangerous things, consider reading OSHA’s article, “Workers’ Right to Refuse Dangerous Work.”  

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Connect with Stacey Godbold on LinkedIn 

This episode was produced by Story On Media & Marketing:

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Connect with Stacey Godbold on LinkedIn 

This episode was produced by Story On Media & Marketing:


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