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Safety Compliance is not Safety Commitment

Posted by Kevin Burns on Jul 7, 2021 12:45:00 PM

Most companies would prefer that their employees step up and voluntarily do their best work, instead of being pushed to do the bare minimum. But while you may be focused on getting compliance, are you missing the big picture of getting their commitment?

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5 Questions to A Foundational Safety Message

Posted by Kevin Burns on Apr 8, 2021 11:15:00 AM

I ran across another book recently that, on the back cover, suggested that the point of safety was to send people home in the same condition as when they arrived. I shuddered.

Someone muttered that awful send them home safe phrase once and someone else must have thought it was clever. So, they borrowed it and then repeated it to someone else. And that someone must have picked it up and run with it until they had the chance to say it again. Now it's everywhere. And it means nothing.

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Why Safety Messaging Matters

Posted by Kevin Burns on Mar 11, 2021 1:15:00 PM

When employees actively support and participate in safety, they have accepted safety as their way to work. Without the employees’ willingness to support and participate in the safety program, the company's default position becomes things like rules-enforcement. When a workplace is centered around enforcing rules, people become more reluctant to go to work. Morale suffers and you lose your good people.

You’ve probably been frustrated in getting buy-in from your front-line employees. Maybe you’ve gathered your team in a room for a safety event or stand-down. You showed them “safety” videos (I use quotation marks because I’ll bet most of those videos focused on injury, not safety). You instructed them in things like ladder use, handwashing, or lock-out tag-outs.

As much as you think it went well during the stand-down, it didn’t stick. That’s because your stand-down safety event didn’t actually get buy-in.

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Want safety buy-in? Stop using numbers. Do these 3 things.

Posted by Kevin Burns on Oct 30, 2019 1:15:00 PM

Safety numbers don’t matter … to front-line employees. They matter to you and your senior management team. Maybe to the finance department and of course to your sales and marketing department, but that’s where numbers stop mattering. 

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Safety Conversations Beat Statements

Posted by Kevin Burns on Apr 3, 2019 1:18:21 PM

Have you fallen into the trap of making statements instead of asking questions?

Selling safety to crews can seem overwhelming. Getting your people to see and understand what you see and understand can be frustrating, especially when you don’t achieve the success you think you should have.

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Stop Dumb Safety Goal-Setting

Posted by Kevin Burns on Oct 17, 2018 1:07:00 PM

Focus on the plan to improve the things you're not already doing. Not the goal.

Once upon a time, in the mid-90’s, I was working in a sales job. At the start of each month, our sales manager would assemble all the sales reps in a room and ask each of us for our specific sales goal for the month. He wasn't asking us what our plan was to make more sales. He was asking for a number.

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The Most Influential Person in Safety Is Not Who You Think

Posted by Kevin Burns on Aug 1, 2018 1:07:00 PM

We have the best people and the best safety processes more than ever, so you have to wonder why we are still hurting people?

For 50 years, safety has been promoted as being all about rules, processes, regulations, paperwork, inspections, reporting. We’ve organized a lot of meetings, and talked far too much about rules, and we’ve endured death by Powerpoint, and tried to get traction on the cutesy slogans, and tired, worn-out clichés. Oh, sure we've developed some new technology but mostly to make it easier to pencil-whip checklists and file reports. There’s not much that has been developed to make safety more engaging, and inspiring, and motivating.

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(video) How To Intensify Safety Participation

Posted by Kevin Burns on Jul 25, 2018 1:07:00 PM

What is your intent when it comes to safety?

Ever thought about how to make mission, vision and purpose statements more powerful and to help improve safety doing it? Even more powerful than a corporate mission statement is a crew mission statement. Kind of like a team purpose or plan that galvanizes the crew members.

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3 Reasons Your Negative Messages Are Undermining Safety

Posted by Kevin Burns on Oct 11, 2016 1:19:40 PM

Telling people to avoid a particular action or behavior does not automatically result in the right actions and behaviors.

Don't do this. Don't do that. Don't do what he did. Beware of the danger. Employed use of gruesome photos of severed and mutilated body parts. Safety messages are regularly reinforced negatively. Negative reinforcement does not automatically create positive safety behaviors.

A recent series of statistics offered some insight of how people react and behave to the words and suggestions of others. 

Let's take a look at how you allow yourself to be influenced by others when choosing to buy a product. Do you read the reviews on a product before you buy? Do you research what others have had to say about a product or service? Have you ever asked a friend or family member to recommend a tradesperson, a plumber, an electrician, a handyman, a carpet cleaning company, etc.? Have they ever told you which ones to steer clear of?

A study by Dimensional Research took a look at how we react and use online reviews. The findings have implications about how we react to communications.

In the study, 90% of people were swayed by positive reviews about a product. They were swayed enough to purchase the product themselves. On the other hand, 86% of on-line shoppers were swayed by negative reviews of a product. They were swayed enough to not purchase the product. You might think that this is a near dead-heat. But it's not. You have to consider what the reviews actually swayed people to do, or not do. The positive reviews swayed people to take action and buy. The negative reviews swayed people to take no action and not buy. Negative reviews did nothing to cause people to act. The negative reviews caused people to stop acting.

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3 Reasons Negative Reinforcement Hurts Safety

Posted by Kevin Burns on Dec 1, 2015 9:01:46 PM

Organizations that align themselves with negative messaging struggle to improve their safety results.

Of course negative reinforcement doesn’t work. But then safety people do just that. You reinforce your safety message negatively without even realizing it. Negative reinforcement does not automatically create safety.

In the last 20 years of studying human behavior, motivation, engagement and safety, I’ve discovered that organizations that align themselves with negative messaging struggle to improve their safety results.

A recent series of off-topic statistics got my attention.

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