Does Safety Stifle Innovation?

November 22 2015
By: Terry L. Mathis

When is the last time you heard of a big breakthrough in safety? How long has it been since your organization has made a major change in its safety program, and was that major change really new or just something that has been around forever but not yet in your organization? Quite frankly, most safety programs either stifle or ignore the idea of innovation. Sure, we look for things in the workplace we can guard or modify, but what about the basics like safety training, safety meetings, and safety leadership?

I don't hear leaders challenging workers to innovate safety. I just hear the same old jargon about keeping your guard up, thinking before you act, following the rules, and looking out for each other. It's like we assume what we are doing is all that is needed and we just need to do it better. This mindset is the biggest obstacle to further safety improvement in many organizations. Remove the blinders! There is always a better way, but you won't find it if you are not looking! Challenge workers to be creative, not just compliant. Get them thinking about safety in elemental terms so they can rearrange the puzzle pieces and find a more perfect picture of success.

Terry L. Mathis

Terry Mathis, Founder and retired CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.

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