Journey to Zero by Jeff Hanson, Safety Manager
For many years, I believed that achieving zero accidents was not possible. That conclusion came from years of working in safety and never coming across a single example where zero accidents were sustained for any length of time. What I did not understand, but I do today, was the power that can be harnessed when management and the workforce commit to safety.
A united commitment to protect each other, establish safety as the number one core value, and create a safety culture is now possible.
The statement I have heard a hundred times in recent years is “safety has come a long way,” is so true. Think about all the things workers did years ago that would not even be done these days. The very fact that we even admit we have changed (for safety’s sake) is a testament that reaching zero accidents is within our own power.
I, for one, believe that there is no acceptable amount of work-related injuries. I believe, at least hope, that everyone feels the same way. Amazing things can happen when we become acutely aware of unsafe conditions and unsafe behaviors and take personal accountability and act to eliminate and avoid them. The next thing you know, those actions become contagious within an organization and you have a cultural shift for everyone connected to that company. In summary, there are basically only five leading indicators of what causes accidents. If our workforce can focus on these five areas, great things in safety and productivity will happen. Those are:
- Short Cuts
- Snap Decisions
- Unsafe Behaviors
- Unsafe Condition
General Heating and Air Conditioning has programs to address each of these five causes of accidents and we do our best to adhere to them every day. But occasionally, as you know, someone will stray and the result is an injury. But by keeping these five indicators in mind, and learning to live by them each day, zero becomes a very real possibility.