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Meet one-on-one with Pat J. Karol

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Meet one-on-one with Pat J. Karol

Safety is Like Fishing Part II

Is Production Safety’s Reel Competition?

I was fishing all alone this particular morning. I could look up and down the beach and not see a soul. “Ahh, that big snook is mine,” I thought to myself. Until seemingly out of nowhere another person shows up with a rod and reel. “Ughh, I have competition!” “And not even a couple hundred feet away!”

Maybe my reel (pun intended) competition is not that obvious. Just maybe the competition I need to be concerned about are all those tiny minnows that the big fish love so much. I can’t do anything about the other fisherman, but I can ensure I am using the right bait. That means understanding why big fish behave the way they do. Why they swim where they do and eat what they eat.

Safety in that respect is a lot like fishing. We often view safety’s competition as production. We can’t have both! Right? It’s either one or the other. If you want production, then safety must suffer. Safety’s real competition isn’t that obvious either. Just maybe the competition safety managers and supervisors need to be concerned about is complacency and short cuts, the status quo and the way we’ve always done it. Taking the time to understand why employees take short cuts or become complacent will give us an edge to improve our safety performance.

Simply looking differently at what we view as safety’s competition will give us a perspective that allows us to improve our safety culture and improve production along the way. It’s also good safety leadership.

Besides, why can’t we have safe production?

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