Over the years working with clients and safety programs across the construction, oil & gas, mining and manufacturing sectors, I often encounter the phrase “we haven’t had any incidents or accidents….so we must be doing something right”. Wrong.
It’s at this point that I’m reminded of a movie line by Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi, when Luke states to Emperor Palpatine,
“your overconfidence is your weakness”
Yes, perhaps you and your company are doing some things right, or even a bunch of things. Or maybe, and this is most likely, you’ve been a little lucky, but there are gaps in your complex safety program. Zero accidents is not how you audit safety and this metric alone may, in fact, signal the kind of complacency that prevents the creation of a true safety culture.
I always ask the question: IS YOUR SAFETY PROGRAM GIVING YOU A FALSE SENSE OF SAFETY?
One of the services we’ve offered over the years at Cobalt Safety™ is Due Diligence testing, for companies that already have robust and comprehensive safety programs in place. They are usually comprehensive and feature many effective layers. But when we do investigations or due diligence audits they fail. That’s because while they have a program in place, that program is not implemented. In fact I have seen some of the nicest health and safety binders in my career with perfect font and syntax, yet fail to ever be implemented in the workplace. It’s not about the binder it’s about the implementation of what’s in it.
At Cobalt safety being safety professionals and highly experienced workplace accident investigators, we have a unique perspective and loads of earned experience pertaining to the way companies approach safety, versus the way they actually think they are approaching safety.
In fact, in my experience most companies or writers of safety programs are not even sure what they are trying to achieve as the end result of the program. Due Diligence is the only defense you have to health and safety laws, and most don’t know what it is let alone how to go about achieving it in a health and safety program.
And folks, having a sticker of approval or designation, doesn’t necessarily mean you have a safe workplace or due diligence.
Safety needs to be implemented and a part of your workplace culture. It needs to be lived in your companies decisions, and implemented with your people and your team to get the job done..
It’s about due diligence. If you do your due diligence correctly, it will improve your safety culture each and every day.
In fact, I am known for saying “Prevention does not equal Compliance”, and Due Diligence implemented correctly, is the only path to both prevention and compliance.
Confidence in your safety program is very important “overconfidence can be your weakness”