E-bits: Unlearning Safety, 3rd in series

 Unlearning Safety

Premise:  Unlearning safety is a process of omission whereby knowledge is forgotten, lost or diluted from the organization. Without a “Safety Guide” sharing learnings from the past, the consequences of re-learning safe practices can be fatal.

OSHA’s Fatal Four:  Falls, Struck-By, Caught-In/Between and Electrocutions

Main Points:

1)  New workforce/new supervisors don’t know the Fatal Four;

2)  Back to zero because people come into the workforce NOT understanding safety;

3)  Training and follow-through are immediately required;  assign Safety Guides today!

At a recent National Safety Council award ceremony here in New England, the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Regional Director expressed alarm at the re-emergence of fatalities from trench collapses; a problem formerly solved.  Soon thereafter an OSHA Public Affairs officer was describing to me the trend among roofers to wear safety harnesses and throw the rope over the roof without tying-off, so that it appears safe if an inspector drives by.

Ref. 1 Unlearning Organization  (Click for copy)

Reinforcing trench walls over 5’ deep and tying-off safety lines are neither complex nor new, yet both go undone.  This is another example of organizational un-learning.  The supervisors who knew the importance of trench wall supports and safety harnesses are retiring;  the trenchers who have witnessed collapses and roofers who witnessed falls are retiring.  Years of learning are leaving (Ref. 1) and there is no process to pass this awareness on to the next generation of workers.  DO NOT ASSUME THAT PROCESSES ALONE CAN SOLVE people’s ignorance.  PEOPLE DO NOT INHERENTLY UNDERSTAND DANGEROUS SITUATIONS.

SolutionEnsure “safety guides” exist within each work group.  You wouldn’t go into the Savannah without a guide; don’t let people go into your work site without a safety guide.

Easy to do…call to discuss;  860-748-3780.

Please share your stories with me.  Without stories, there is no learning.

Keep adding value,

Alden B.    860-748-3780

Workshops that may be helpful:

The Principled Supervisor

Situational Awareness the Safe-ari Way

Group-based Problem Solving


Model Airplane Factory

Building the Presentation Team

Building Financial Knowledge with TheValueTree

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