Weeds in Your Safety Culture

December 20 2021
By: Shawn M. Galloway

One of my sons was playing in the backyard. In the front, I hear the lawn crew begin their helpful service. Opening the back door to ask him to come inside for lunch, hearing the mowers, he directed my attention to a few small colorful flowers in an area of the grass. "They won't cut them?" he inquired with noticeable concern. I explained that some weeds have flowers. Weeds in Your Safety Culture"But they are pretty," he retorted. Not all that looks nice is nice.

Due to the rain Houston's received the past months, the day before, I observed how green the grass looked when pulling into the driveway. Weeds are a likely indicator; something is not right with the soil, despite how the yard might look.

How confident are you of your safety performance and culture? What are you monitoring that would indicate something is going in the wrong direction before an event occurs? Are you training employees but not assessing knowledge or periodically ascertaining demonstration of competency? Are you investigating failures but not also investigating successes? Are you closing corrective action plans but not measuring them against the hierarchy of controls? Are you deploying more paperwork and PPE rather than engineering out the risk? Celebrate safety success and accomplishments. Also, proactively look for where the weeds might be starting to grow.

"Your minds may now be likened to a garden, which will, if neglected, yield only weeds and thistles; but, if cultivated, will produce the most beautiful flowers, and the most delicious fruits." - Dorothea Dix

"Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure." - Thomas A. Edison

Shawn M. Galloway

Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker, and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership, and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 700 podcasts, 200 articles, and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow, Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers and is an Avetta Distinguished Fellow.

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