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Different Ways to Think About, Discuss Safety in the Workplace

Photo: Safety Made Simple website

Safety is central to everything we do, both in and outside of the workplace. Injuries, accidents, or fatalities can serve as a catalyst. For Joe Mlynek, content creation expert of Safety Made Simple, Inc., his job is to make sure those things don’t happen.

“When we look at safety, it improves so many different things at work we don’t equate to safety—it can be things like employee morale, it boosts productivity, satisfaction of employees with the job they do,” he said. “It allows us to retain employees, and it also impacts the bottom line.”

Many companies say that safety is their top priority, but Mlynek said safety takes more than words.

“What we work to do is define the behaviors of individuals to support that safety culture,” he said. “I go to so many companies, and they tell me how important safety is. When I ask to see their performance evaluation process, there’s no safety in it at all. If safety is an important value within the company, it ought to be equal to the other things.”

Non-routine work is one of the major causes of serious injuries or fatalities, also called SIFS. Mlynek said that puts individuals in potentially dangerous situations.

“There’s definitely SIF potential with nonroutine work,” said Mylnek. “The employee might not be adequately trained or they might not have a lot of experience performing the related tasks. Performing these nonroutine tasks exposes people to hazards that aren’t normally encountered.”

In contrast, the power of repetition can help ensure workplace safety.

“We can wire the brain wrong or right,” he said. “If we wire it the correct way through repetition of safe behaviors or performing activities like job hazard analysis or this hierarchy of controls thinking, the more we do that, it becomes intuitive.”

For more information on Safety Made Simple, click here.