The telecommunications industry is a competitive one in which players change and the race for profits is a tough one with the challenge heavy environmental regulations. One of the most overlooked areas for cost savings is safety. Notwithstanding the moral and legal responsibilities that facility owners and leaders have for creating a workplace where everyone can work without injury, reducing and eliminating workplace injuries and illnesses are good for business.
It doesn't matter if we are trying to improve safety, quality of life, or the economy, one thing that is required in all situations is integrity. This sounds a little like ranting about a trivial event but, while I talked to my son, Paul, yesterday he explained why he was unable to answer my phone calls.
Paul is 26 and on his own working for a major corporation as a database manager. Many of my clients know him because he has worked in our company over the past years. When he didn't answer, I was concerned that he didn't return my call as he usually does.
Do you want to be the employee who ruins the record? Imagine that you are an employee who, for the past 26 years, has done a good job. The quality and quantity of your production has been highly acceptable by everyone. In fact, other employees strive to be like you because supervisors and managers say: “We wish everyone was like (you).”
Blah, blah, blah said the safety specialist. Be safe, drive safe, work safe, be careful, blah, blah, blah. Is it all just safety rhetoric? Sometimes it seems that way when I attend a safety conference where I have been asked to speak.
Often when I'm working inside a company, I hear someone say: "Do this work long enough and you are bound to get hurt." More blah, blah, blah! In the business of creating zero-injuries in the workplace I find a lot of rhetoric.
Organizational leaders often ask what the answer is to their safety issues: unrecognized hazards, broken rules, complacent employees, and injured workers. It's as if they want a very specific road map to lead them to a workplace where nobody gets hurt.
Rather than looking for the perfect predefined path, set the course for safety in your organization and stick with it. The reality is safety is more like a compass than a map.
Say the words safety meeting and you can instantly see eyes rolling, boots quaking, heads shaking, and people walking away. All of this would be funny except for one thing: people’s lives may depend on what they learn in a safety meeting.
In the business of safety, we talk about competency and use the term competent person. OSHA refers to and requires competent persons in several of its standards and defines the term as: "one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them". [29 CFR 1926.32(f)]. Yet many managers, supervisors, and leaders find it difficult to know how to apply this definition.
It’s that time of year when everyone seems to make new resolutions. It’s a good idea to make a resolution for change any time that you notice the need to improve. Since it’s January, let’s go ahead and talk about what you can do to change your behavior so you can be injury-free at home, work, and anywhere in 2011.