Failing At Safety

May 20 2018
By: Terry L. Mathis

In many companies there is strategy, or at least talk, about allowing people to fail. When creativity or continuous improvement is critical to success, people need to try new things. Not all new things can be tested and perfected before trying them, so occasional failures are necessary for ultimate success.

Failing At Safety

In safety, however, failure is often considered the ultimate and unforgivable sin. An injured worker is often blamed and sometimes disciplined for getting hurt. If willful violation or blatant non-compliance is involved, such actions may be appropriate. But if the injured worker was following procedures and trying their best but simply failed to identify or address a subtle risk, the organization should view this as a learning opportunity. As Chip Bell stated, "Failure is merely feedback, never rejection."






Terry L. Mathis

Terry Mathis, Founder and 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.