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What Is Your Company’s Culture of Safety?

Dec 11, 2013 5:52:16 AM

We had a recent opportunity to address safety issues with the C-level management team for a well-known Fortune 100 company.  During the discussion, we shared a sobering statistic:  an average of 12 US workers fail to return home each day due to workplace accidents.  We then brought the issue home by posing a simple question:  How would you feel if your son, daughter, spouse, or other family member belonged to this unlucky group?

The room was swept by a long pregnant pause.  After an awkward moment of silence, we followed up with another question:  what is your company’s position on safety?  The president of the company finally broke the ice, insisting his organization was committed to a culture of safety.  We hear these words often, and it makes sense—what C-level manager would claim otherwise, but what does this phrase mean?  Many companies have a reactive policy toward safety.  Simply put, investments in safety systems come on the heels of an accident or an OSHA citation.  A proactive safety stance requires regular site assessments by outside experts to determine the nature and location of unsafe working conditions. 

Although we can’t speak for the fall protection industry as a whole, we can share that most of our site visits are reactive.  We receive calls and emails inviting us to tour plants after a fall or an OSHA citation.   A reactive stance toward fall protection is better than a policy of willfully ignoring inherently unsafe working conditions that violate OSHA fall protection standards, but wouldn’t it be better to embrace a proactive culture of safety?  Put another way, where would you want your loved ones to work; in a facility that acts only in the aftermath of an accident or a failed OSHA inspection, or in a workplace committed to regular site assessments and a culture of proactive safety?  Placed in this context, the answer should be fairly obvious.  If it has been more than one year since a fall protection company has completed a site assessment of your facilities, it is time to act.

This is the time of year when we think of family and giving thanks for our many blessings, so you might be wondering, why run this post during the holidays?  The answer is simple:  safety is important 365 days a year.  Falls often result from a momentary lapse in concentration and it doesn’t take too much imagination to envision a distracted employee thinking about the upcoming holidays with time off while working at heights.  Lives can change in a matter of seconds.  These are sobering thoughts that may not seem appropriate for the holidays, but to our way of thinking, making your workplace safer is the greatest gift of all, both for your employees and their loved ones.  To learn more about our comprehensive approach to fall protection, or to discuss a site assessment, contact Diversified Fall Protection today.  You’ll be glad you did.