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The challenge of SAFETY


Ok, let’s get real. Everybody has their pet challenge with safety, what yours? Money (obviously!), people, material, tools, work environment, client sales or what? In the circumstances, Safety is a ‘hated’ word for some, if not most, especially the small timers. Right now, times are HARD – extremely hard, no doubt! With no money anywhere and the business snoozing fitfully on the slow lane, what does anyone expect? In fact things are so bad that you feel like chucking in your hand and giving up for good. But what good would that do you and your outfit, and how clever is that anyway for a business strategy? Zero! And what’s the point of a self-knockout blow before your opponent’s first punch? Not very clever is it? So why not meet the challenge head-on, if only to give the business a fighting chance? You never know, after all attack is the best form of defense. Be bold and valiant therefore, go for it. Begin by asking yourself some illuminating questions. Why IS safety not a ‘welcome’ feature on my dashboard? How come there are issues with spotting where safety meshes with the rest of my core business fabrics; where it intersects profit or loss, etc, etc? If you did, you may just begin to love the word instead because in business, no safety no profit. It is that simple. Running scared of weaving safety into every business task means spending more on production than necessary BECAUSE the number of  reworks, backtracking, replacements, schedule delays, etc. Can your outfit afford to and still compete and survive? That’s the question.

Get to work then. Grow the business; plug, clip and isolate all the fats, including routine operational drips and drabs. Cut and slash deeply at each potential loss-inducing error, whether by omission or commission. Unleash the best in you and your crew and watch a pleasant turnaround unfold.

Spiraling Safety Spend

If this is one of your major business safety issues, perhaps it’s time you took a closer look. And if you did, you may just find that a large chunk of it is to do with after-the-fact activities, which may lead to the realization that all the money is going into a ‘worthless, futile venture of papering over the resulting cracks’ in your daily routine, instead of into proper planning, budgeting and other cost-saving, proactive routine activities that should sustain the business.

Besides, ‘papering over the cracks’ strongly suggests a workplace that is below par in compliance with minimum standards. Because the more ‘starts and stops’ you have to deal with the more your exposure to ‘useless spend and therefore, the less profitable the business. On the other hand, before-the-fact Safety Spend is much more ideal, useful and operationally preferred. It is highly recommended, especially to the safety-aware employer or business, no matter the size. It allows for forward planning, safe execution, cost control and all the other good things one expects to find in a properly managed, safe workplace. It saves lives, time and money!

Stemming the tide

Spiraling after-the-fact Safety Spend stems from every little failing in the workplace. For example, incorrect use of personal protective equipment or clothing, PPE/C, each planned maintenance schedule not executed, every wrong tool application (using a flat spanner as a lever, etc.), a skipped scheduled inspection, every unauthorized material substitution or change control, a downgraded audit recommendation or each and every unrealistic production quota/target set or met, etc, aids and abets the spiral. Every accepted deviation from the norm actively powers this spend, leaving the business gasping for air, unable to grow or dream dreams of a better tomorrow for one and all.

Lurching from one crisis to another owing to poor safety considerations only weakens the business and the resolve of its owners, employees, clients and other stakeholders. Each crisis is a death threat to the business no matter how efficiently the fallouts are managed. Soon enough it’ll be curtains for all as things fall apart for good. But it doesn’t have to be that way if employers will assign the right weights to the various components of the business such that it all adds up at the end of the day

Everything is important

Money is always important at any given time whether in boom or bust. People will cut corners to try to save a cent but it’s a mirage because any purported savings via shortcuts is bound to boomerang with hefty, avoidable losses at some point which can deeply hurt the business permanently. A combination of the right training and smart leadership should  effectively to help significantly reduce or completely eliminate shortcuts in safety conscious workplaces.

Poor Standards: where minimum standards are not the norm, more often than not, employees will set their own standards as a way out. This poses a real safety threat to all in the immediate work enclosure as well as to the entire plant or installation. Meeting minimum workplace standards should be the very least to assure safety of assets, people and the environment. Even your insurers will tell you the same thing!

Poor Workplace Safety Leadership: people would normally take this as a reference to that larger than life corporate ’individuals’ designated Management but no, this refers to every man and woman at work charged with a responsibility for any aspect of the work. It doesn’t matter if you’re the foreman, shift supervisor, cleaner, driver, machine operator, secretary or whatever; you have a job to do and that job has boundaries and it is your responsibility to stick to those boundaries and deliver the job safely. That’s leadership. That’s competence!  


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