I was reading a list of safety committee tips this week, and came across several that were particularly relevant to some of the discussions we’ve had in the blog. One I would like to consider this week is:
Focus on hazards, not just incidents.
That sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, like most things that seem simple, it may not always be.
Many safety committees spend time studying the causes of accidents. When something does occur, the team certainly will have to react to it to ensure it does not happen again. If this is all they do, they will fall short of being truly effective.
The best time to deal with an injury is before it happens. Committees do this by looking at possible hazards, working proactively to prevent their occurrence. Avoiding the problem means preventing an injury, or worse.
I’ve written before about the effectiveness of the Safety Committee at Skinner Diesel. Part of their continued success has resulted from their willing ness to look at possible hazards situations before an incident. With the support of management, the potential hazards are eliminated.
This same principle is important for any labor-management committee or process improvement team. Time spent working proactively is of more benefit than working in reactive mode. Identifying and focusing on issues before they become problems is always the best approach.
There will be times when a team has to react to a situation. Sometimes systems or people will create problems the team must address. The key to effectiveness will be the team’s ability to spend most of its time in proactive mode.
Does your team need help becoming or remaining proactive? If so, give CALMC a call. Our experience in working with team like yours can help boos your effectiveness.