“Don’t Blame Me I Didn’t Know!”

Blame it on the Rain

Who is responsible for getting the job done safely?  Everybody involved.  Regardless of any one person’s position within the team, in the end, each person needs to remember that we’re all in it together.

 Therefore, as we’ve said before, excuses have the maximum effective range of ZERO.  One excuse we hear all the time when accidents happen is the abrogation of responsibility.  “Don’t blame me I didn’t know.”  It’s not just that something bad happened, but now there’s effort being made to shift the blame to someone else.

Instead we should work together and say “I should have known.”  This marks an inward attitude change of working together as a team versus a collection of individuals looking out for number one.  If you have 12 people looking out for number one, then how do you expect things to go?  Excuses are plentiful but real responsibility and maturity is not.

So how do you build a great team out of those 12 people who are going to show up at the job site?

  • Have a team motto.  One that I like is “We Before Me.”  It’s short, sweet, and to the point.  It emphasizes that none of us are as important as all of us.

  • Build accountability.  If you know what you’re aiming for then you can help each other reach that target.  People shoot wherever you tell them to aim.  Simply assuming that they will be responsible for each other doesn’t get us anywhere at the end of the day.  Accountability needs to be peer-to-peer and not management peeping over shoulders.  The first builds more trust and the later can (but not always) degrades trust.

  • Identify leaders willing to STOP and listen to the team.  Empower them to call a STOP-Action and look at what’s happening.  When was the last time you performed a JSA?  What’s changed since then, if anything?  Does the team have the energy to make it through the rest of the job?

Ask hard questions.  Good teams hear each other’s ideas, but great teams empower people to be vulnerable and say “I don’t know.”

We’re all the blame when a loss occurs.  The key is to employ Behavior Based Safety principles, such as those mentioned above, to build your team into one that is “able to respond” (i.e. responsibility) to any situation.  If they know they are not able to respond with ability, then they should stop because they truly “don’t know.”  Keep each other safe because each other is all you have.

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