Premium on Safety - Issue 51, 2024 - 18

SMS TIP
WE KNOW FROM STATISTICS THAT THE HUMAN
OPERATOR AT EVERY LEVEL IS THE PRIMARY
CAUSAL FACTOR FOR MORE THAN 80
PERCENT OF ACCIDENTS. So, it is irrefutable
that engaging our people and creating a
passionate commitment to safer operations
is the vital intervention necessary to achieve
safety improvement. Even the best SMS only
succeeds if it builds eager participation from
its human operators. Every successful safety
program must continuously " sell safety! "
Even the best SMS only
succeeds if it builds eager
participation from its human
operators. Every successful
safety program must
continuously " sell safety! "
Unfortunately, many organizations and
managers miss this important fact: It is
easier to deploy software systems than to
engage people and change attitudes. Effective
education can be daunting. Success requires
some psychological savvy and continuous
effort. An educational program with
persistent reminders is the most important
and challenging part of moving the safety
needle. Let's explore how this can work in
your organization.
Every business sells a product or service or
conveys value in some form to survive and
grow. Selling is merely changing minds to
perceive and fill a human need. (I highly
recommend the book To Sell is Human
by Daniel Pink.) People will eagerly engage
and buy (or " buy-in " for education) when
they realize there is a personal benefit or
the product (or idea) fills a need. Education
provides the " why: " The most important
motivator is " what's in it for me? " Education
is merely selling ideas that create a behavior
change.
When suitably framed, safety sells itself.
Safer people get to live a longer, healthier
life without accidents. They get to enjoy
their life and their family longer and
without the burden of physical disabilities.
Lying in a hospital bed hooked to tubes
or in traction is no one's idea of a good
time. No balanced, rational person goes
out intending to be unsafe or have an
accident; they just never see it coming. But
all humans normalize risky situations or
think they are an exception, so constant
reminders are essential to maintain a
safety culture.
Operators who cut corners or expedite
a procedure often do so with the best
intentions-saving time and being efficient.
However, the best intentions can create
unsafe situations. The safety record of
early medical helicopter programs was
decidedly rocky, as mission-minded pilots
tried to save lives by challenging hazardous
weather. Building awareness of risk-which
is everywhere-requires education and
constant reminders. It involves knowledge of
the rules and SOPs, promoting vigilance, and
encouraging simple mindfulness. Continuous
education is necessary to overcome
embedded habits and motivate enduring
commitment.
Safety starts in every industry with an
accepted set of rules and best practices
(SOPs) that most rational people in a calm
environment accept as valid and essential. To
encourage buy-in, every team member should
participate in formulating (or modifying) their
safety standards to achieve buy-in. Behind
every rule or procedure, there should be a
clear " why " to encourage compliance. Direct
examples from your operation are potent
motivators. Your employment practices must
carefully screen out non-compliant rogue
operators; anti-authoritarian personalities
exist everywhere.
18
https://www.danpink.com/books/to-sell-is-human/

Premium on Safety - Issue 51, 2024

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