Help people develop a plan to positively embrace safety instead of negatively avoiding injury.
Safety has done a terrible disservice to itself. It has aligned itself with gruesome scare tactics in the hopes of getting workers compliance. “Fail to follow protocols,” you hear them say, “and you too could lose a body part.” What-if’s and maybe’s don’t sell safety. And safety needs to be sold.
You decide between vendors and businesses every day. Groceries, gas and restaurants are just a few choices you make daily. Employees choose between the company's safety plan or someone else's non-safety plan. If they haven't yet bought into your plan, it's because they have currently bought into something else. Don't assume that because they come to work each day that they've chosen to embrace safety as one of their personal values.
Go to YouTube and search for “safety video” and you will find hundreds of videos. But, most involve injury, death and gut-wrenching stories of surviving workplace accidents. Most of them are based on a “don’t-do-what-I-did” philosophy. But safety shouldn’t make you sick to your stomach or make you sad. Safety is a positive thing.
So, let's stop being negative in safety. I bring to your attention 5 different campaigns that focus on the positive aspects of safety and good choices.
Hyundai : The Empty Car Convoy
Car-makers usually offer worst-case scenarios in promoting safety features. Hyundai, took a different perspective - a positive one. Using professional stunt drivers on a closed course, they made a point about their new safety features. Nobody got hurt. No threats. No scare tactics. They showed off the product in a positive way.
Thai Life Insurance
Thai Life insurance commercials focus on life, not death. There are no ominous undertones, no morbid casket shots or crying family. There is no guilt, no manipulation and no mention of death. What Thai Life has managed to figure out is that fear isn’t the best incentive to help convince people to buy a life insurance policy. Fear never brings out your best. So, Thai Life made life insurance all about having a good life.
Air New Zealand Safety Demonstration
If you've ever taken a flight anywhere, you know that most passengers pay little or no attention to the safety briefing. And their resulting noise prevents others from getting important information. So Air New Zealand produced a video with the help of The Hobbit series of films to get passengers’ attention. The video is compelling, engaging and entertaining. And before you know it, you've been schooled on the safety features of the aircraft.
AE Smith Gold Coast Australia Workplace Safety
AE Smith found a positive way to talk about safety. The campaign asks the question, “What are your expectations of safety?” There wasn't a single mention of what expectations were NOT. Unlike standard safety fare, there were no mentions of, "not get hurt," "not come home," or "not leave my family stranded." AE Smith has figured out that safety is not a series of what NOT to do. It is a mindset, a purpose and a positive way of life.
Thompsons Game Plan
Thompson’s “Positive Thinking, Positive Choices” campaign stressed having a life plan. They used Robbie Deans, coach of Australia’s Wallabies Rugby team, to talk about choices and mindset. Deans was the right person to discuss coming up with a Life Game Plan. Professional athletes approach everything with a solid game plan. Deans wants each person to develop their own personal goals the same way. This is powerful when you think of what he says in terms of safety.
Here’s what your first step should be: assess everything that your workplace deems to be related to safety. Look for the negative reinforcement messages and take them down. Study your PowerPoint slides and remove anything that might even look related to being negative. Get rid of the scare tactics and the negative reinforcement. Help people develop a plan to positively embrace safety instead of negatively avoiding injury. There’s a huge difference.
Kevin Burns is a management consultant, safety speaker and author of "The Perfect Safety Meeting." If you want someone to really drive the safety message home, consider Kevin to speak at your next safety event. He delivers engaging and entertaining keynote safety presentations for everyone: from front-line staff to senior management. He helps people see the light when it comes to buying-in to the safety program.