I Resolve to be Safe in 2011

It's that time of year when everyone seems to make new resolutions.


by Carl Potter and Deb Potter

It's that time of year when everyone seems to make new resolutions. It's a good idea to make a resolution for change any time you notice the need to improve. Because it's January, let's go ahead and talk about what you can do to change your behavior so you can be injury-free at home, work and anywhere in 2011.

Consider these seven resolutions to be safe in 2011:

1. I resolve to accept responsibility for my safety and to help others around me do the same.

Examine your attitude about safety. Do you recognize that you must take responsibility for your own safety, or do you think stuff just happens? You have a lot of control over what happens to you.

2. I resolve to take time for safety every day.

Have you ever thought about how much time it takes to be safe? Sometimes it can take quite a bit of time to maintain equipment, review the job to understand the hazards that must be controlled or abated, gather the proper protective equipment and ensure everyone is trained for the work. If you recognize these tasks are part of the overall job and not just safety add-ons, you'll find that you will make the time to be safe. There's not time for shortcuts when it comes to safety.

3. I resolve to make safety a team effort.

Even if you work alone, as many field-workers do, safety requires a team. Think about the people who design your work. Do they understand what the hazards are? Maybe not. What can you do to help them gain greater understanding? What about others who do the same type of work and also work alone? Consider finding ways to share your ideas about safety with them every week or even every day. If you work with a team regularly, discuss safety aspects of the work before the job starts. This can be done during the job briefing or tailgate session.

4. I resolve to recognize and control all hazards I encounter on the job and at home.

Hazard recognition and control is the foundation of a safe workplace and home. Train your mind to recognize hazards you may have walked by day after day or even year after year. Then control the hazards you see by guarding them and fixing them. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is emphasizing a find-and-fix approach in the workplace to eliminate injury. You can do the same at your home.

5. I resolve to adapt to changes in technology, training and techniques to be a safer worker.

You might have done your job for many years without injury. Past success isn't always an indicator of future safety. Situations change, times change, you change. Think about the technology you use in all aspects of your life. What new technology is available to help you do your job safely? Are you still learning everything you can to do a better job? By being willing to consider new ideas and implement appropriate change, you might virtually eliminate injury in your workplace.

6. I resolve to get involved in the safety process.

One of the hallmarks of a safe workplace is employee involvement. You know your job better than anyone else. You understand the hazards and how to protect yourself. What are you doing to share this information with others? You can get involved by conducting a vehicle or equipment inspection, inspecting your work facility, taking a training course, reporting a hazard, leading a safety meeting or any number of other activities. Consider the contributions you can make so your workplace will continue to be safe.

7. I resolve to be a safety champion.

Think about who is a true champion for workplace safety. What are the qualities this person exhibits? A champion is one who does all he or she can to ensure successful outcome of the goal. If you focus on the goal of zero injuries in your workplace and do what you can to achieve that goal, you are a safety champion. You can make a difference.

Safety is a never-ending process. While we can set numeric goals and track statistics, we never arrive. The safety goal starts over every day, every job. You have what it takes to make a difference in your safety, your family's safety and your co-workers safety. What do you resolve to do in 2011 to reach the goal of no one's getting hurt?

About the authors: Carl Potter, CSP, CMC, and Deb Potter, Ph.D., CMC, work with organizations that want to create an environment where nobody gets hurt. As advocates of a zero-injury workplace, they are speakers, authors and consultants to industry.

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