Safety and The ‘Care’ Factor

January 23, 2020 | Blog | Colorado | Safety | Safety Training | Training

We want our people to be safe.

Regardless of whether we are the owner of the company, the Superintendent, the Foreman, or the Safety Officer, we want our people to abide by the safety policies and procedures so they can be well. If they are well, they have a better capacity to do well. If they do well, everyone wins.

The difficulty often lies in the fact that we do not always successfully communicate to our line personnel that we care about them.  There are several possible reasons for this lack of success. Perhaps we really want conformity, more than cooperation. Maybe we find particular people in our organization so difficult to deal with that we want to have as little personal contact with them as possible. Sometimes, the pressure of schedules, mistakes, cost overruns, and contract obligations make us short on patience with an employee’s safety practices. We think, ‘this is a well-established policy, meets OSHA standards, and this employee should know this already; so why the refusal to do what they know they should?’ There is no quick, pat, one-size-fits-all answer.

Having said that, here is, hopefully, some food for thought:

Employees will either work for us, with us, or against us. We lay the foundation for that by how we handle them. The key element to enlisting them to work with us (which is the best outcome), is the ‘care’ factor. People in general, and employees in particular – even the difficult ones – tend to cooperate better about everything if they know that you care about them. This will quickly elevate the enforcement of safety out of the ‘safety cop’ mentality. It will require attention from those of us who are the managers of these employees, to the person as a person, with all the attendant issues that people have. We will have to acquire the skill to communicate that we do care in a way that works for us as individuals.

Not every method works for every person.

What we should do, is address the question of ‘how can I communicate to my employees that I do care about them,’ and then look for ways to communicate that in a manner that works for us personally. By this consistent practice, we  win them over to working with us toward the goal of everyone going home safely.

-Tomm “Roo” Tice, Safety Representative