February 08 2021
By: Terry L. Mathis
Before the pandemic struck, we had settled into a pattern of addressing safety. Not everyone was doing the exact same things, but we had not innovated our approach to safety in some time. Our performance and our cultures were relatively stable, and some were slowly improving. COVID totally disrupted our practices. We had to add the practices of disease control to our safety efforts: isolation, masking, hand sanitation, etc. Our communication practices were disrupted, and our supervision style had to adapt. Everyone who could do their job from home was forced to do so. Travel was greatly reduced, and our traditional meetings were replaced with internet meetings.
The pandemic disrupted safety and safety will not simply return to its pervious state. This is, at the same time, a problem and an opportunity. Excellent organizations will not go back but rather will move forward. This forward movement begins with realizing that everything pre-COVID is suspect if not invalid. Safety needs to move into the new reality of the post-COVID world and that will require innovation, not simply re-establishment. Safety leaders of the world put on your thinking caps!
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.