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Safety first… (and last)

27th March 2019

health-and-safety
health-and-safety

They always say don’t start a speech with an apology and I guess a blog would fall into the same category. That said here’s mine…

I have to say sorry for my tenuous link between…Harold Lloyd and Safety. Steel yourself. I have recently been buying a lot of films by the “Big 3” of silent comedy, Chaplin, Keaton & Lloyd.

Harold Lloyd’s most famous film is Safety First where the iconic shot is Harold hanging off the clock face of a building. He followed it up years later with Safety Last.

Safety first and last

When I read the recent interview with my colleague Raul Bento, he used a similar phrase, Safety First & Last. I asked him last week whether following that interview he thought there was still much to do on safety and he then didn’t take a breath for the next 20 minutes!

His view (and worry) is that as a veteran of 20 + years, many of his contemporaries become complacent because we are knee-deep in processes, accreditation’s and check-boxes versus what he saw in the past. You get a false sense of security and could abdicate responsibility.

I share this concern and whilst pleased that Raul, as a senior member is clearly alive to this issue, how do you avoid human error and fallacy?

How do you avoid safety complacency?

The answer ?

Raul said that repetition, repetition, repetition underpins best practice.

Zero tolerance to shoddy or casual behaviour. Promotion of individual examples of safety excellence to others and rewarding people when they are clearly raising the bar, will create a gold standard.

I left him to do a toolbox talk at two projects on Saturday morning. I hope “monkey see, monkey do” does apply but I suspect you need great people to spot what good looks like and look for even better ways of doing stuff. It’s great processes and great people. Poor people will always edge down a great process. Great people will not accept poor processes.

I think it’s as simple as that.