Look at the picture below, and ask yourself whether this is a safe practice:
What about this one?
For most people, the answer is obviously “no”. Of course, the drivers and passengers here recognize that this is not an ideal situation, but often, especially in developing nations, these kinds of unsafe practices take place out of necessity. Surely, if the passenger carrying the mirror had a better, safer option for transporting his goods, he would choose to use it.
Typically, developing and emerging economies have lower safety standards than first-world countries, for a variety of reasons including better awareness of safe practices as well as more money to spend on safety infrastructure. But no matter where your business is located, safe operating procedures are constantly changing and there is always something more to learn.
Safety awareness is yet another element of striving towards What Good Looks Like (WGL2) for your business, and it’s something that should be taught early on. Ideally, safety awareness is learned at home, reinforced at school, and practiced in the workplace. But not everyone has safety awareness in their business DNA.
Many companies follow what’s called a lagging indicator methodology. They log and report accidents, medical aids, lost-time injuries and even fatalities after they occur. This reactionary method allows companies to see what they are doing wrong, and correct those issues to prevent the same problems from happening again.
I would argue that a more effective safety practice is a proactive one. Tracking leading indicators such as hazard awareness, risk analysis, and near-misses allows you a similar insight into dangerous conditions without the risk of someone being injured or worse. Shifting the focus to leading indicators can help you prevent workplace accidents before they happen, keep your workers healthy and happy, and save you time and money.
Think about getting a safety awareness checkup for your business. It’s a great way to make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your company and your employees running smoothly.