The Eight Ps of Safety
We must ensure that a safety mindset is inherent in every activity.
- By Gary W. Helmer
- Dec 01, 2007
Philosophy: The leader of any organization
is the safety officer, the head of the
organization. Managers and supervisors are
safety officers for their respective units and
are directly responsible for protecting the
resources entrusted to them. Safety must
be the core value. However, the predicament
is how to effect a value system among
individuals—each having his or her own
that may already be set in stone. We must
realize that not all of our beliefs are the
same beliefs others hold. Each of us sees
the world differently, and we cannot expect
to believe that all will respond the same.
Protect: Line officers at all levels must
be accountable for protecting personnel,
equipment, property, and facilities under
their control. To make sure all requirements
are met, coordinate among agencies,
units, and the people within the organization
to make a concerted effort to proliferate
useful and constructive safety measures
in all activities.
Preventative: For an organization,
maintaining a safe and healthful workplace,
as well as implementing a functional
accident prevention program, are mandated
by law. We must ensure that all personnel
observe appropriate safety and
occupational health laws and regulations
and that a safety mindset is inherent in
Partnership: Having a safe and
healthful community and workplace
involves many programs, policies, procedures,
and people. It is not a limited, short
engagement, but a continual process that
must be modified judiciously and regularly
to be effective.
First things first: The boss needs to be
the number one player. The boss, as the
safety officer, needs to continually support
safety, procedurally and fiscally. Employees
should visit with supervisors (regularly) and
get to know their strategies for safety and,
conversely, keep them abreast of
trends and other key safety-related
information. Knowing how the
boss thinks and acts when it comes
to the welfare of the persons within
the organization is imperative.
Participatory: We are each
obliged to be accountable for our
own safety, but everyone has a duty
to protect others. Leaders, managers,
employees, family members,
guests, and the community at large
all rely on safety manager/specialist
expertise in providing sound safety
practices with equitable implementation.
However, it cannot be done alone;
everyone must share in the responsibility
Professional:We all must be technically
competent to perform our jobs in the safest
manner possible. However, the proper
tools must be made available and properly
used. These include appropriate training,
adequate personal protective equipment,
and most importantly, the wherewithal to
identify hazards and the associated risks.
Proactive: People need to know that
there is a safety program. Being proactive
in advertising and publicizing our safety
programs is essential. Use every means
available—such as newspapers, periodicals,
audio/visual media, Web sites, newsletters,
bulletin boards, town hall meetings, councils,
and safety or community fairs—to
make proactive safety visible.
Everyone must get connected and
become active participants in the safety
program, visible and credible. It is imperative
to know the people within the organization
and let them get to know us.
Respect for authority must be advocated
by enforcing the policies fairly and
equitably while expecting people to adhere
to the rules. Excellence must be rewarded
and support of award programs that recognize
the right behaviors advocated.
Walk the walk, talk the talk—the worst
thing in the world is not to adhere to the
organization’s policies. Once a rule is
broken, the standard has changed.
Everyone must strive to teach the right
behaviors the right way the first time. It is
difficult to unlearn after the fact.
Everyone must learn to recognize hazards
and the risks associated with them.
Foremost, however, is the requirement to
take steps to correct the situation; never
wait until it is too late.
Priority: People, by our very nature,
want a safe and healthful setting. Often, the
problem is that we don’t know how or
haven’t got the tools to ensure we maintain
the right environment. Getting everyone
involved, listening to the safety issues and
taking action, ensuring that managers and
employees are committed to supporting
safety at all levels, holding all personnel
accountable for their actions, and making
safety part of every process will help keep
safety the priority.
This article originally appeared in the December 2007 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.