August 28 2016
By: Terry L. Mathis
Telling workers to do their best in safety is a cop-out unless the organization knows and teaches what "best" looks like. Oversimplifying safety into "paying attention", "following the rules" or "thinking before you act" doesn't do the trick. Safety in many organizations is not well defined nor is it strategically directed. Workers must know specifically what their risks are and how to mitigate those risks. They should be focused on the risks most likely to produce accidents and should include precautions against low-probability risks based on historical data. All the focused efforts should fit into and support the overarching safety strategy. Once the strategy is in place, the programs support the strategy and the focus is on the right issues, THEN the workers should be challenged to do their best. As W. Edwards Deming said, "It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best."
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.