November 02 2020
By: Terry L. Mathis
For over three decades now, I have encouraged safety teams and committees to document problems they identify but don't find solutions for. I suggest calling this the "Temporarily Impossible File." Remember, EVERYTHING is impossible until we figure out a solution. We once thought it was impossible to split an atom, run a mile in less than 4 minutes, or go to the moon. Some safety problems seem impossible until we solve them.
Here is the nuance on that. I now suggest that safety teams and committees share their Temporarily Impossible items among sites and departments. We already share best practices; why not do the same with unsolved problems? Many of the world's great breakthroughs came from outside the field or location where they were first identified. Give the rest of the organization a shot at a solution. Sometimes two heads are actually better than one!
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.