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The Safety Formula

For many years safety professionals have looked at every aspect of safety. Looking for that one thing that makes the difference, a silver bullet. The reality is there is no silver bullet but there are things that make the biggest impact.

Over time countless things have been tried, many things have worked and many things have not. The most disappointing thing during this time; these efforts have ended up over complicating the fundamental aspects of safety.

I have seen many organisations lose their workers because they have overloaded them with safety system after safety system. It seems the safety methodology has been “what MORE can we do” not “HOW can we do it better”. All these thought leaders creating confusion, overly complicated approaches that add little value at great expense.

It’s time to focus on what matters most and that is Safety on the job. Safety at its core is very simple, it’s the different workplaces that make it dynamic. The first thing we must all do is get alignment on what safety is.

What is Safety?

Traditionally people would answer; Preventing or Avoiding injury, harm or loss. Some people may describe it as ensuing people go home the way they came to work. These descriptions are unhelpful as they focus on the outcome of safety, not what safety actually is.

The reason why this is important; because if we define safety as Preventing or Avoiding injury most people think they are succeeding at this already. Therefore, do not need to think about it anymore. This definition keeps people and organisations in a reactive state even when they strive for and create proactive processes. We stay reactive because when we achieve extended periods of time with no injuries / harm we become more and more complacent. Then an injury occurs and we all want to know WHAT changed?

Well safety is not Preventing or Avoiding injury, it is controlling and reducing exposure to hazards. This is a very important distinction as this focuses more on day to day actions that keep people focused on what you want them to do. This definitions changes how individuals look at safety and how organisations look safety.

Once you change your definition then you are able to use the safety formula;

Exposure = Hazard + Behaviour (E=H+B). This formula focuses you on what needs to be done, what is happening and how safety is performing. A true leading indicator.

At Barclay Safety Solutions we focus on transforming safety, not another safety system.

Making Safety Simple

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