Safety: Knowing or Believing

July 12 2015
By: Terry L. Mathis

What is the goal of your safety program? Getting workers to know about safety or getting them to believe in safety? I have heard the argument that EVERYONE believes in safety and you don't have to try to convince them. I would agree that ALMOST everyone believes in the basic concept of safety and doesn't want to get injured. But I also interview hundreds of workers every year who don't believe that their organization's safety programs really make them safer. Safety programs that don't convince workers of their value may get a degree of grudging compliance, but fail to get willing cooperation.

We have been talking for the past several years about the difference in getting hands and feet moving or getting hearts and minds involved in safety. Well, THIS is the difference. Knowledge may get hands and feet moving, but only belief gets hearts and minds buying in and responding emotionally and intellectually to safety. People respond emotionally BEFORE they respond intellectually. They tend to do what they believe in, not just what they know.

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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