Changing Perception of Safety

October 09 2023
By: Shawn M. Galloway

Experiences will affect perceptions of safety. Are you monitoring them in your organization and confident the controls in place are known and effective?

I live in a subdivision with a guarded security entrance. Because some noteworthy individuals live near me, one of the security controls at the guard house is to check the driver's license of a visitor and call the homeowner to approve entrance into the neighborhood. Numerous different types of locks on a door. A few months ago, the Homeowners Association changed security contractors. The employees of this new firm are all armed guards. The previous contractor employees were not. Several visitors to my home have remarked on the increase in security after noticing the weapons.

As there are sometimes kinks that need to be worked through with changing contractors or vendors, there have been lapses in security, with guards occasionally letting visitors in without scanning their IDs or calling the homeowner. Due to changes in experiences, the visitors feel security is tightening. The homeowners feel it is backsliding, and both experienced a change in the perception of safety in this subdivision.

Yesterday after leaving the gym, I placed my bag in the trunk, closed it, and attempted to open the door to get in. When my key fob is in my pocket or hand, a proximity sensor unlocks the door. My car, however, responded differently than normal and the door remained locked, chirping an alarm, and the trunk opened itself. It turns out I had left my keys in the bag and my car was protecting me from locking the keys in the trunk. This resulted in an increased perception of safety with the features of my vehicle.

While a healthy appreciation for the risks employees face is important to maintain and encourage, we also do not want to create a culture of fear. How familiar are you with your safety controls, and how recently have you checked their efficacy?

"Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change." — Wayne W. Dyer

"Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality." — Robin Sharma

"...What happens is of little significance compared with the stories we tell ourselves about what happens. Events matter little, only stories of events affect us." — Rabih Alameddine

Shawn M. Galloway

Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker, and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership, and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 700 podcasts, 200 articles, and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow, Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers and is an Avetta Distinguished Fellow.

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