An African word for witchcraft is Ju Ju. I guess some people might translate it as luck. And over the years I have watched many an organization focus on a kind of witchcraft when it comes to safety. We break out the “trinkets and trash” (belt buckles, hats, coffee cups) to reward no injuries. For a while injuries go down as people report the incidents in hope of getting some kind of nominal reward/incentive. But then the program of the month awareness declines and we experience “bad Ju Ju” as someone gets injured, and we call it bad luck.
What’s next? Either a re-launch of the “good Ju Ju” trash culture, or change to another program of the month. Maybe this time we try having our hourly employees fill out cards that supposedly focus on unsafe acts. Well of course the awareness factor of this good Ju Ju leads to a drop off of incidents. That is until this low value Ju Ju wears off and another injury occurs—more bad Ju Ju. And so the cycle of safety witchcraft continues with good and bad luck being blamed or claimed.
The real solution is not to focus on tired old approaches that come and go with the tide of safety witchcraft. How about we diagnose the real cause of the safety culture weaknesses and stop throwing the safety dart at the Ju Ju board? Do a real valuable diagnosis and then act on the true root causes by engaging your people in solving their problems. Stop buying the patent medicine salesman solutions to the injury illness.
No more good and bad Ju Ju. It’s time to analyze, focus and develop meaningful solutions that last. Fire the safety witch doctors and get out of the game of safety luck.