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Meet one-on-one with Pat J. Karol

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A Safety Commitment to “Be Kind”

Often when I conduct workshops or give presentations, I ask the participants to make a commitment. A public display of commitment is powerful. A public commitment says to your coworkers that you can hold me accountable for this activity. I try to guide them to make specific commitments that are relevant to job or off-the-job safety. Some commitments are predicable and specific; “I commit to help my coworkers with team lifts…,” some less specific; “I will slow down and not rush a job.” Occasionally, I see one that is simple and profound. That was the case this week when I gave a presentation to a group of employees about their role and responsibility for safety. The commitment was “Be Kind.” It was bolded with two exclamation marks, and signed by Sara.

It gave me pause to think. What does it mean to be kind in a safety context?

Being kind is about building relationships. Relationships are better built through kindness and caring rather than through a command to compliance. When caring relationships are established, it creates an environment that makes it easier to say to a coworker “I noticed you were not wearing your eye protection. Can I ask why?” In short, it means to lead with safety from your heart.

What does “Be Kind” in a safety context mean to you?

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