June 07 2021
By: Terry L. Mathis
I have too often heard organizational leaders and safety professionals say, "Safety is just <fill in the blank>." Safety is just: thinking before you act, paying attention to what you are doing, common sense, watching out for dangers, looking out for each other. How many more could you add to the list?
The truth is, safety is all those things but not any single one of them. Safety is basically knowing the risks, knowing how to manage the risks, and consistently doing that. It involves all these other activities and mindsets but it is more encompassing than that. Oversimplifying safety is a dangerous thing for leaders to do. Workers internalize one aspect of safety and may come to doubt even that when they do that one thing and still get injured on the job. Don't make safety too complicated and mystical, but don't make so simple it doesn't work.
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.