Safety Culture Excellence®

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Humans are Risk Takers

May 6th, 2015

Human nature involves risk taking; every human takes calculated risks on a daily basis.  Safety is about removing risks, and thus competes with human nature.  We can address this by trying to change human nature or by increasing the capacity to calculate risks more accurately. Very few people know even the approximate probability of the risks they take or which risks are more likely to result in an accidental injury. 

Organizations should analyze their accident data, not by body part most injured or injury category most common, but by which precaution has the potential to prevent the most injuries.  This data should be methodically shared with every employee to shape their perceptions of risks and focus their safety activities.  If this does not happen, individual perceptions of risks will vary by personal experience and knowledge of accident data, and will not result in maximum focus and directed effort.



-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).