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Your Safety Program is NOT Saving Lives

So often we hear people say that the purpose of a company safety program is to keep people safe, or even, it's to save lives.

Welllllllll, sure. That sounds great. Safety professionals love to pat ourselves on the backs about this.

But c'mon. Let's be real.

A safety program isn't a first responder ⛑; it's not an emergency room doc or nurse 🧑🏽‍⚕️. It's not a mom or dad 👨‍👦, holding their kid's hand as they walk across a busy street for the first time. It's not a superhero 🦸‍♀️ swooping in to save someone who has somehow fallen off the roof of a building or has gotten stuck in quicksand (sidenote - Saturday morning cartoons had me thinking quicksand was going to be a legitimate way that I might die 🤣). 

A safety manual is simply a list of instructions and rules that a business, maybe a small business like yours, provides to their workers and expects them to follow. A safety program includes other things besides the manual, like training, PPE, the culture of the company, a preventative maintenance program, etc.

Still, none of these things are going to save anyone's life or keep anyone safe if the worker isn't using their common sense right? If they aren't using the tools you've provided them. If they aren't wearing the PPE, or following the preventative maintenance program. If they aren't following the rules and guidelines and instructions you've given them.

You know this - if your workers don't give a shit about their safety, then your safety program won't matter to them. People who drive 200km/hr down the QEII or the 401 don't care about the speed limits. Folks who ski out of bounds don't care about the sign that says 'out of bounds'. Workers who take the guards off of power tools don't give a crap about the manufacturers' warnings.

People who work safely do so because they want to be safe. Not because their boss or the government has ordered them to, or because it's a 'safety rule'. No safety manual, OHS legislation, inspirational poster, gory safety video, OEM, or 3 day safety course is going to change their mind.

So let's drop the 'life saving' reason behind a safety manual. Because we all know that's not the case.

I'd like to hear from you. Why do YOU have a safety program?


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