July 02 2017
By: Terry L. Mathis
An increasing number of "safety" rules and guidelines are written by the legal department. Their goal on the surface is to promote safe practices, but the underlying rationale for them is to limit organizational liability. There are two problems with this: 1. They overwhelm and overload workers with more than they can absorb and remember, and 2. They perpetuate the mindset that workers are a problem to be controlled rather than the customers of safety efforts.
When legal and safety collaborate on the formation of rules and guidelines, it is possible to accomplish both the guidance of safety practices and the limiting of liability. When legal takes on itself to write these rules, more often than not they are worded in a way that makes them difficult for workers to understand and comply with. Safety should simplify and facilitate workers' understanding of the rules, not complicate it. It is possible to do so and still cover legal considerations.
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.