Safety and Discipline by Dr. ir Johannes Drooghaag

Safety and Discipline

The foundation of safety lays in discipline, zero tolerance for deviations, and clear understanding and acceptance of the necessity of each safety measure and precaution. This can only be achieved by ongoing (re-)education and development of the Safety Culture throughout the organization, empowerment, supervision and accountability.

The biggest risk for the Safety Culture is a growing  “we do that like this for years and nothing has happened”-attitude. Recent analyses of avoidable safety related incidents show that attention to safety tends to gradually slip over time when there is no recurring awareness program implemented. Without bad intentions, employees develop a perceived sense of safety which is no longer related to the actual risks and their responsibility to execute safety measures. What starts with minor variances quickly grows into potentially dangerous chains of lack of attention.

Whatever you do, do it safe!

Training programs are mandatory for all organizations involved in hazardous processes. And that is good! Training and re-training is the first step. Next comes ongoing auditing and validation of daily execution and supervision. Is what is taught in the classroom visible on the floor? Do your employees life safety in their routine?

Special attention is needed when new employees are hired. Safety First also applies to the training program. So safety training should be the first activity of each new employee. Assigning new employees to well educated supervisors is just as important to transfer the newly learned safety measures into their daily routing. Try to imagine how new hires will be educated in Health and Safety precautions when the experienced peers and supervisors express not taking safety serious by their daily behavior.

Safety is the state of being “safe” (from French sauf):  the control of recognized hazards to achieve an acceptable level of risk, either by being protected from the event or from exposure to the hazard.