Most safety programs would agree that safety and risk management is everyone’s job. That’s great and, while it is correct, when my well being is on the line I want to know SPECIFICALLY who is making sure that I’m going to be OK. When I’m at the crux I need to know WHO is supporting me and is watching my back. At that point, it’s not acceptable for “everybody” to be on the safety committee.
Often, with risk management, and especially with Behavior Based Safety language, it’s easy to get in the mindset of team strength and awareness. It’s also easy to rely on improved communication skills and mentorship to create more dialogue and willingness to stop-action when necessary.
One of the risks with such an approach, however, is that because “everyone” is on watch, no one is on watch. Think about the robbery that happened on a busy neighborhood block with dozens of people watching. No one called the police because everyone thought that someone else would do it. Let us not make the mistake assuming that someone or anyone is going to play that critical role, otherwise, there’s a good chance that no-one is going to do it. Afterall, how many people named Someone or Anyone do you have on your team?
If one of the team’s leaders are on equipment, another is on materials and making sure everyone is doing everything right with their materials, then who’s on safety? Juggling too many balls leads to balls dropped. In a case similar to this, someone fell off a roof and the organization’s insurance dropped the company, leading to more expenses and potentially the end of the company.
“Refuse to Diffuse” Safety as a responsibility by having clear role definition, who’s responsible for what. Stop to make sure who’s responsible for safety in terms of things that are high risk and potentially critical for mission success and the health and well being of your team members.
WIth that said, we hope that everyone has a safe and happy holiday season. Spend time with the ones that you love and tell them that you love them. We’ll see you next year!