Page 18 - Texas811 Magazine 2022 Issue 2
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Are You Overlooking This
It’s interesting that the easiest safety procedure available to any company is often overlooked. Keep reading and you’ll learn the answer.
Without question, systems are required to change behavior for workers to work safely. Pipeline and other companies integrate multiple systems to encourage worker safety and you know these include the following activities:
1. What is your main focus today to ensure that you work safely?
2. What have you done today to help your colleagues and/or subcontractors work safely?
3. What was your biggest take away from yesterday’s safety audit that will help you and others work more safely?
4. While you work today, would you look for the opportunity to work more safely and report your suggestion at tomorrow’s tool box meeting?
5. The ten eyes (i.e., a team of five) that are looking at me this morning can see more than my two eyes, so let’s put our twelve eyes working together today to look for an opportunity to work more safely. We can discuss the ideas at tomorrow’s safety meeting.
I’m sure that you can think of other questions and statements that fit your work activity and unique work place.
The Importance of Talking
Talking sends several critical psychological messages to integrate working safely in your company’s culture.
First, imagine the message sent when up-line supervisors appear on the work site and ask these questions. Employees know that safety is important when the “boss” ask questions about it.
Second, people need constant reminders to change their behavior.
I frequently tell course participants that training per se doesn’t produce a permanent behavior change — systems
By Larry Cole, PhD. TeamMax
do that. Supervisors need to develop the system of regularly asking questions about working safely throughout the course of the day.
Third, supervisors lead by a positive example with every word spoken about safety during the course of the day.
Not talking about safety also sends a message and in some cases it’s a strong negative message, for example, when words are not spoken upon seeing a safety concern. Remember supervisors help set the culture for their work team.
Fourth, too often “thoughts about safety” only occur when the safety personnel walk the job site or participating in a meeting whereby safety is discussed. In reality you want everyone to recognize themselves as
a member of the onsite safety team. Remember the cliché — we become what we think about. You help people think about safety all day by constantly talking/asking questions throughout the day.
Oh yes, showing appreciation by telling an employee, thank you for picking up that trash because that helps create a safe work environment is another way of saturating your work place with safety. Unfortunately, using immediate feedback to show appreciation for a
job well done is a very powerful tool for many reasons and too frequently forgotten in the workplace!
Larry Cole, Ph.D., is founder of TeamMax a consulting company that helps people work together. Please send questions and/or comments to Larry at
Regularly scheduled safety meetings. Tool box meetings.
Safety audits.
Safety award lunches.
Pre-task planning. Post-mortems following safety
6. incidents.
7. A variety of signage, e.g., safety decals on hard hats.
The Often Overlooked Safety Tool
The overlooked yet powerful safety
tool comes out of your mouth every
day — yes words matter and play a role to create a safety culture. Words are inexpensive, require very little time, and send a very powerful message about
the importance of safety every time words are put to work. The daily use
of certain words can saturate the safety culture throughout your company.
Just imagine the message that is sent if supervisors ask questions during the course of the day about safety. I’ve listed some examples.
16 • Texas811 2022, Issue 2

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