Safety Culture Excellence®

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De-mystifying Safety

May 20th, 2015

It is amazing how many workers view safety as a form of Voodoo.  They know they can do a job hundreds of times accident-free, then suddenly get injured.  What is the difference, and how can you prevent such random events? 

To begin de-mystifying safety, you must first define it.  Safety has three parts:  1. Identifying and recognizing risks, 2. Addressing risks through conditional changes or behavioral precautions, and 3. Developing consistency in risk control.  In short, workers have to know what can hurt them, know how to keep these things from hurting them, and consistently do those things.

Internalizing such a definition tends to take the mysticism out of safety.  Each time an accident happens, workers analyze which of the three steps didn’t happen, and understand the causation of accidents.  There is no Voodoo, only cause-and-effect.



-Terry L. Mathis


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Terry L. Mathis is the founder and CEO of ProAct Safety, an international safety and performance excellence firm. He is known for his dynamic presentations in the fields of behavioral and cultural safety, leadership, and operational performance, and is a regular speaker at ASSE, NSC, and numerous company and industry conferences. EHS Today listed Terry as a Safety Guru in ‘The 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS three consecutive times. He has been a frequent contributor to industry magazines for over 15 years and is the coauthor of STEPS to Safety Culture Excellence (2013, WILEY).