2021's Definition of Safety Normalcy
8 February 2021 - SHE Software Ltd
All of us are hoping that 2021 will be different from 2020. But how can it be if we keep doing the same things we’ve always done? If we don’t accept that things have fundamentally changed for good, we’ll be left spinning our wheels, wringing our hands as we see problems increase.
Here’s a stark reminder of what happens when we cling to the past. Trying to go back to our ways of living and working too soon opened the door for a resurgence of the coronavirus. A desire to return to “normalcy” kept us from seeing that 2020 had created a new definition of normalcy, and it’s quite unlikely that we’ll ever go back.
This is particularly true in the health and safety space, which has stubbornly stuck to methods and programs that are almost a century old. In this blog post, we’ll look at why 2021 is the year that health and safety needs to throw off the shackles—and how it can be done.
Heinrich’s Triangle is 90 years old
Heinrich’s Triangle shows a relationship between serious accidents, minor accidents, and near misses. It proposes that if the number of minor accidents is reduced, there will be a corresponding drop in the number of serious accidents. Yet, recent studies show that the model is only valid in certain conditions and that focusing on near misses and minor accidents invites companies to ignore early warning signs of a major accident.
Even more telling is that Heinrich’s Triangle is from 1931. Imagine if today’s enterprises clung to business models and technologies from the 1930s! They’d be global laughingstocks. So, why is Heinrich’s Triangle still so prevalent today—especially since it’s only occasionally applicable—in health and safety programs? It’s time for it to go.
2020 taught us that you can’t see what’s coming around the corner and that there is no excuse for having outdated health and safety methods and low engagement in 2021. Things have to change. Part of the change you should be focused on as an organisation is not incident management; it’s effective risk management that can stop incidents from happening in the first place. Here are two things you can start doing right now to start the engagement needed to make that happen.
Educate your organisation from the top down on safety metrics
Everything in safety has outcomes, so how are you measuring them? You can’t just use incident stats. They can’t tell you what’s happening like leading metrics can. To reduce the chances of incidents occurring, it’s important that everyone in your organisation knows all the metrics. Especially critical are the metrics around risks, such as hazards, inspections, job safety accountability (JSA), action management and resolution.
To educate your organisation from the top down on safety metrics and their importance, consider setting up Toolbox Talks. In these informal discussions, you can explain and engage on the purpose of safety metrics and how they can improve safety. You can also challenge attendees to come up with their own safety ideas—and reward a worker or group for the best safety observation or idea each month. By encouraging everyone to think of improving safety and sharing ideas, you get the engagement that is critical to the success of a modern health and safety program.
Seal your 2021 New Year’s safety resolutions with a KISS
In 1960, the U.S. Navy coined a design principle they called “keep it simple stupid,” and it became known as KISS. The point of this principle was to remind teams that were building spy planes that simple designs worked best. Nowadays, it’s used by Disney animators, software developers, architects, and the automotive industry.
In the health and safety world, however, KISS has a slightly different meaning: “keep it stupidly simple.” If we make health and safety stupidly simple for people, then they are more likely to participate and engage. For example, if reporting an incident or accident is as simple as taking a photo of it on a mobile device and clicking, “send,” people are more likely to do it. They don’t have to stop what they’re doing, log in to a computer or find a paper form, and type a description of the incident, along with time and date, and try to get it to the appropriate person or department.
In short, you can KISS improved health and safety “hello” by removing manual, antiquated, paper-based processes for managing health and safety and replacing them with intuitive, easy-to-use, mobile applications and software.
Ready to KISS 2021 hello?
SHE software offers health and safety applications and software that encourage employee engagement and help you keep health and safety stupidly simple. Why not chat with us about it today?
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