Safety Overload

August 14 2016
By: Terry L. Mathis

In my corporate career we had a saying that basically nothing is impossible for the person who doesn't have to do it personally. I continually see sites struggling with program after program dictated by corporate leaders that overload the site's capacity and only get lip service or pencil whipping. Corporate leaders continue to tell me "you just can't do too much for safety!" SURE YOU CAN! When you try to do so much that you don't do any of it well, you are doing too much. A few well-designed and implemented programs almost always outperform too many programs implemented halfheartedly.

Program overload is a side effect of a lack of safety strategy. A true strategy is often a minimalist approach to win. Programmatic thinking naively assumes more is better. If the existing programs are not producing the desired performance, add more programs. Most organizations that develop a safety strategy find themselves eliminating more programs than they adopt. Organizational leaders should examine whether their programs are helping workers with safety or overloading them.

Terry L. Mathis

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.

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