The Savannahs of Africa are home to a strange species called the “Go Away Bird.” This bird inhabits trees near congregations of animals. When a kind of animal different from the herd comes to the area this bird sings out a call that sounds like someone saying “Go Away! Go Away!” The wise animals look up to see what is approaching and then react to whatever is, or is not, a danger. And some of the animals pay no attention to the warnings, as testified to by the innumerable carcass parts that litter the African countryside.
Our safety environment has any number of parallels to the Go Away Bird. Mobile machinery alarms, seatbelt alarms, machinery guards, lock out tag out processes, experienced employees, and others all come to mind. After living in our environment for a period of time there is a human tendency to drop our guard. When this happens we tune out the many kinds of alarms that just become part of the common background we ignore as we go about our day-to-day routines. And detailed safety records are littered with the injuries of our fellow employees who fall into this kind of trap.
What are the “Watch Out Birds” that exist in your organization? How can you raise a daily awareness of these important warnings that help protect our people? In so doing let’s live a safety culture that doesn’t become complacent to the dangers that exist in our environment.