Be positively safe

By Guest blogger Liz O’Brien, Director of Terra Firma 360, Health & Safety Experts

Quite often I sit at my computer and think I should post something about safety that’s going to grab peoples’ attention, that’s going to inspire them to get out there and passionately deliver risk assessments, check their employees’ well being is where it should be, and all of a sudden my blogs realise that they’ve been missing out on a key business function that should grow as their business grows.

I find myself faced with the choice of posting legislation updates, maybe the odd safety quote that’s on some billboard somewhere, or I could share recent prosecutions and the wrath of the HSE for everyone.  But I simply can’t, it’s not my style and it’s not my company’s style either.  Please don’t get me wrong, it’s not that these posts are not important, it’s just people will probably scan past them- another blasé post that won’t grab their interest.

So what can I say, let me think, and I’m going to put it like this.  Safety is invisible, we take our health for granted until it’s gone, we might not see the dangers at work because they’ve never caused anyone any harm right?  The problem with capturing safety in a photo or a blog is picturing a standard workday, one of those days that will blur in to the countless other days when nothing happened at work.  A photo of a safe workplace is people at their desks, mopping floors, cooking in a kitchen or any other job or site, with nothing to comment on in particular.  If I showed you a picture of a safe office and said describe it, would the first thing you said be “it looks very safe.” If I showed you a picture of a safe factory, would the first thing you say be “what a safe factory?” No, probably not.

So I’m interested to know, what do you do to make something invisible become visible minus the accidents.  And if you don’t do anything, what could you do?

There are active ways to encourage safety without having to talk about the negative side of things.  The minute that we start to put something in a negative light to our teams is when it becomes negative in our business’s culture. The next time you’re thinking oh no, not another toolbox talk, or not another risk assessment, how about thinking 3 positive things like

  1. If I check out this site properly and do a risk assessment we’ll get the job done quicker and I’ll have priced it more effectively.
  2. If the HSE or EHO turn up at my site I’ve got my safety stuff ready to show them and I’m confident.
  3. My team will go home safely at the end of the day to their families and friends and then they’ll be back tomorrow in full health.

We can be negative about anything in our daily life, our workday, but it’s taking the positives and changing our mindset and that of others that counts the most.

So I’d like you to look at your health and safety policy statement which is basically a promise to your employees and others to keep them safe.  Look at it and promise them all that you will create a positive culture to health and safety, and that it is important to you that everyone gets home safely.

Send the message out, and get working on positivity. An engaged mind is a safer one.

You can follow Liz and her team at Terra Firma 360 via the links below: