Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lipstick – Improving your safety culture


A long while back, my Papa and I had a few years of bonding as we bought an old car body and began a multi-year project to build my first automobile. First we did body work on the dents and holes. As we finished priming, I stepped back with a big smile enjoying how good it all looked. And then one of my Papa’s moments of wisdom came into play as he said: “Son, it takes more than lipstick to make a pig beautiful.”  And for the next few years, we toured various wrecking yards to purchase old parts, refurbish them and finally get the ol’ pig up and running. It sure was a good looking pig that went way beyond our original lipstick.

When my son reached high school age, we spied a somewhat newer derelict car, bought it and did our own bonding adventure for the next few years. Yes, I did get a chance to pass on my papa’s wisdom about pigs and lipstick. We had a number of good laughs and heartaches over his slowly beautifying pig. Once he got married, his wife thought they needed an even better looking and more reliable vehicle than his ’62 Willys wagon, so my son’s beautiful project pig now rests under a tree on our farm. From time to time we circle the ol’ Willys pig and reminisce about these challenging times together.

Truly, it took a lot more than lipstick to get these much neglected derelicts to be serviceable and safe. They both were in need of a significant makeover that required time, money, on-going effort and a commitment to see the work through to completion. Many of you safety pros have stepped into a new job situation and been faced with a safety pig that was pretty ugly to behold. You all made a decision where to start and, on completion of the first round of efforts, stepped back and marveled at how well your safety pig looked. To get to a finished safety culture that just doesn’t accept incidents or injuries, we all know that you will have to go way beyond the first lipstick effort that brings a smile to your face and that of the people for whom you have responsibility. The true safety pros are committed for the long run to what it takes to turn a pig into a beauty queen. Don’t call it quits and move on to the next safety pig without first completing your current project.

The Doc  

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