From Awful to Awesome: Speaking Safety Successfully!

From Awful to Awesome

Speaking Safety Successfully!

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“One thing I’ve found over and over in my safety and environmental health career adventures is that familiarity can be a mortal enemy of safety.

Familiarity with hazards can become your false friend—the more you get to know common hazards, the less dangerous, less deserving of our respect, and even more boring they can seem. So, the trick is to maintain active interest and continue to develop skill in applying the discipline that should attend working with any hazard, whether it is one you’ve come to know and feel immune to or something new and mysterious that grabs your fear and consternation perhaps more than it should.

Safety as an integrated part of work operations is the only kind of safety that really works. That’s because, in the end, a safe work environment is about calculated and effective business planning and task development, with an eye toward watching out for assumptions about how everything will go swimmingly even if we don’t consider all the potential successes and failures that can stop our operations in their tracks. Things often don’t go swimmingly, and there is no substitute for sober evaluation of where things might go wrong and how to prevent or recover from deviations from the best-case scenario.

In a very important sense, work injuries are just another kind of business disruptions that are to be avoided by any competent business. Add on the threat to life and health that sets injuries or illnesses apart from other business disruptions, and they become even more deserving of calculated measures to prevent them while maintaining successful business operations.

Safety is one pivotal piece among a very few others that, if integrated properly into the operations, will determine the ultimate success of a business if given its proper consideration. The employee working with a saw must not only understand the safety rules, but how to operate the saw skillfully.

For safety professionals who need to motivate folks to keep these kinds of things at the top of their minds, it is critical to be state-of-the-art in your approach and effective in speaking to the issues workers and managers find capturing most of their attention as they work. Safety depends on folks maintaining active interest and presence in what they do, and this is where being an effective presenter can score big accomplishments.

My exhortation to the readers of this book is that you take advantage of the many tools you will find here to weave these important safety concepts into your strategies to present to and spark dialog with managers and workers over how to maximize safe, accident free, and successful business and work practices.”

Len Welsh
Former Chief of Cal/OSHA, M.S., J.D.

Public Speaking Book for Safety Employees