Monday, December 22, 2014

Simplicity – Improving safety understanding

Few people take the time to study the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) income tax regulations – and for good reason.  According to Forbes magazine, in 2013 tax codes surpassed the 4,000,000 word count mark.  In fact, tax laws have become so complex that even experts have a hard time processing all the regulations because it is burdensome in its complexity.  Some other three and four letter agencies come to mind with multi-million word count challenges; EPA, OSHA, MSHA, etc. 

People can only retain certain amounts of information, similar to a sponge only being able to hold so much water. Does another safety policy or procedure really help us drain the sponge so our people can better understand and better perform?  I guess we could look into our safety training packages for similar overload.  Maybe those of us who do a number of conference presentations should also consider that less is often more. There appears to be real value in the old advice of only having a three part sermon if you want any part of it to be remembered. 

As I have engaged field personnel who have to effectively use all this download material, there has been real value in having the front line employees put their simplifying touch to what gets presented.  If we want our message to be effective, it is not about how much detail there is or how fast we spread the material.  It is more about how understandable, memorable and applicable the important few communications are to those who have to implement them.  Who better to help the safety professional in getting the message across than those who have to effectively use all this download material?

Is your safety sponge too full of trivia and detail to help your organization clean up the potential safety messes that will occur?

The Doc   

1 comment:

  1. Right on, we, (our regulating bodies and the safety industry) have made our systems far, far too complex for our board rooms, senior management, supervisors and employees to absorb and understand. The result is that our organizations have to spend all their time, effort and money on making sure they are in compliance (making sure their butt is covered) rather than on prevention. Everything we do in safety must be focused on prevention.


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