How to create more engagement for safety
In E. Scott Geller’s ISHN columns (April and May, 2008), he reviewed 12 evidence-based strategies for developing resilience to emotional pain and suffering. This article offers an alternative perspective by showing how you can tap emotional energy as a way to motivate action for injury prevention.
The words motivation and emotion come from the same Latin root movere, which means “to move.” Both motivation and emotion spur us into action. We should activate people’s emotions to motivate them to pay more attention to environmental and behavioral risks and act accordingly.
Make safety personal
The why and the how of safety
Motivating engagement for safety
Before long, the emotionally-laden memories of Charlie’s story
fade, along with self-motivation to go beyond the call of duty for injury
prevention. For many, the natural activators and consequences of the daily work
routine take control again, and they revert to giving safety a lower priority
than the efficient, sometimes at-risk, completion of work assignments.
An illustrative example
Does the right hand in the photo to the right elicit any motivational emotion for safety? Probably not; although, you might feel disturbed, sadness, or sympathy for the individual. Such was the case for the co-workers of Rich, a highly regarded engineer at a construction company. This all changes when Rich tells his story.
Rich is not shy about his deformity. Whenever he is introduced to someone, he immediately offers his right hand for a hearty greeting. Co-workers have questioned the cause of Rich’s disabled hand to one another, but not to Rich. One day the safety director of this construction firm stopped ignoring the obvious and with authentic compassion asked Rich, “What happened to you?”
With openness and enthusiasm, Rich shared his personal story.
He related his experience to me in a phone conversation. As a 22-year-old
student, Rich worked at a lumber company in Brookville, Pa., to complete a
required ten-week forestry internship. Rich was directed to use a milling
machine he knew was risky because the guards had been removed for efficiency and
faster production. He mentioned this to his immediate supervisor, who then
reported the problem to the owner. The owner ignored the issue.
Hearing Rich’s ordeal over the phone was enough to make me pause and reflect on my good fortune of having two normal hands. I also considered the hand protection I’ve used over the years when chopping firewood, using a chainsaw, and biking. Rich’s story not only elicited some emotion, it also triggered mental imagery that forced me to reflect and gave me both direction and motivation. The value of more people hearing this personal story is obvious.
The bottom line
E. Scott Geller, Ph.D.
E. Scott Geller, Ph.D., is Alumni Distinguished Professor, Virginia Tech, and Senior Partner, Safety Performance Solutions. Dr. Geller and his partners at SPS help companies worldwide apply human dynamics to industrial safety and beyond. Coastal Training and Technologies Corporation has published Dr. Geller’s books on People-Based Safety, including his latest: Leading People-Based Safety. For more information, log on to www.people-based-safety.com, call SPS at (540) 951-7233, or Coastal at (800) 767-7703, ext 3313.
I actually found this article here: http://www.ishn.com/CDA/Articles/Column/BNP_GUID_9-5-2006_A_10000000000000349153 …If you don’t subscribe to this magazine or check out their website on a regular basis you really missing something special.
We’ve all had plenty of experience with safety meetings. We’ve
attended many, and some of us have led many. While some of these meetings have
been highly effective, many — maybe most — have not been effective at all.
What’s the goal?
How can meetings be more effective?
Take some time to read the article above first then read my comments below...