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Why Did You Do That?

My first blog of 2019 was titled “Is this Safe To use?” I shared my recent experiences of encountering tools, equipment, cords, ladders and anything else you can think of that employees use daily that are in poor condition and not safe to use. I asked, “why do these items continue to stay in service if they are unsafe and there is a risk of someone getting injured?” I discussed the benefits of having a proactive approach and the importance of training employees.

In this blog, I wanted to ask the question “Why did you do that?” This concept relates to behavior based safety. Why do people do unsafe things knowing they can get hurt? When I ask this question in my classes, I get all the typical answers; it’s easier to do it unsafe, it’ll just take a minute, it’s too expensive to do it the right way. These are all unacceptable.

Changing behaviors and teaching adults is hard. We must make learning enjoyable and relatable. I stress the importance of sharing stories and experiences; we learn best from each other. OSHA law isn’t the most enjoyable material for the average Joe. Educating employees to critically think, make the right decision and flat out care will impact a safety culture.

We’re past the old-school-construction-cowboy-mentality. The experience is leaving the industry to enjoy retirement. We should make learning enjoyable and stress the importance of safety. Making the right decisions will go a long way. If something feels unsafe, more than likely it is. This is when we stop work and discuss our concerns with the competent person on sight.

Alex Edwards