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To Be Safe or Not to Be Safe...? This is the Question.

  21st May, 2014

This is a first in a series of articles on Meirc's site related to Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) in the workplace. Also be sure to join the group "Together for a safer workplace" where you can share your opinions, experience and knowledge about the topic. To Be Safe or Not To Be Safe...? This is the Question. To be healthy you have to be safe and to be safe you have to prevent injuries of all kinds. Injuries alone cost businesses hundreds of billions of dollars yearly ($170 Billions in USA in 2007). Are you surprised? Are you afraid to get caught by surprise? Are you an employee or an employer? Whatever the answers to those questions may be, you better be safe than sorry. Safety improvement starts with a change in the mindset. And that change lies in every one of us, be it an employee or an employer. What we learned is that people (employees) alter their behavior in response to safety measures, but everyday risk will not change, unless the management system (employer) is capable of motivating and allowing employees to alter the amount of risk they are willing to incur. In his book Quality Is Free, Phillip Crosby notes that to eliminate the waste (employees getting hurt), to improve the operation (incidents), and to become more efficient, we must concentrate on preventing the defects and errors that plague us. Moreover, Crosby makes a statement that is worth repeating to let others think about it "people are conditioned to believe that error is inevitable. We not only accept error, we anticipate it". Therefore, management plans for these errors to occur. It sounds as if human beings have a "built-in" error factor. Improving health, promoting safety, and minimizing injury occurrence are the responsibilities of all of us in the work place. We must all combine our efforts and our energy to make the work place a safer place, an environment where we can all attain our goals and accomplish our objectives.