Monday, February 7, 2011

Death: Management Excuses that Kill Safety Performance

Over the years I have met with quite a number of mangers who had safety as one of their “agenda items.”  Some were serious about making improvements, but unfortunately most were complacent about the safety performance of the organization for which they had responsibility.  Unless there was a “trigger event” that could not be ignored. Then they typically searched for someone to punish before slipping back to a state of BAU (Business As Usual).  Without facing a trigger event here is a partial list of the “Usual Suspects” (Excuses) I have heard:

We don’t have time to work on these minor issues, we have higher priorities
People get injured
It’s not my job
Diagnostic surveys and subsequent actions cost too much money
I don’t like/trust consultants
 It will never work for us
I get paid for ….. not for safety
We didn’t use to have these problems
No matter what we do the government regulators will fine us anyway
We’ve never tried this approach before
Talk to HR, safety reports to them
It’s easier to demand and control than to try and involve others in the    process
The cost of injuries is inconsequential

I imagine many of you have heard some or all of these excuses to justify the status quo.  So what is to be done with this kind of organization leadership?

 I often consider “the voice of sarcasm” which goes something like, “When the IQ reaches 50, I suggest you sell.”

 “So your organization follows the classic model of insanity when it comes to safety?”

 However, I find that this is not really effective, so I then make two internal comments before leaving:  “Don’t bother to cast your pearls before swine.”  “Without a guiding coalition any significant change initiative does not occur.  I guess we will have to wait for a significant change in management.”   And these unspoken comments are then followed by my verbal closure: “If there comes a time you would like to work seriously on improving safety, please contact us. We’d like to help you in this effort.”

Mentally it hurts, but sometimes you just have to shake your head and walk away.  There is no value added change that comes from expending your own scarce personal resources in “wrestling with pigs.”

The Doc

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Connect With Us

Bookmark and Share
/////////////Google analytics tracking script//////////////// /////////////END -- Google analytics tracking script////////////////