Safety Culture Excellence®

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Transformational Leadership in Safety

July 30th, 2014

Safety leaders are regularly looking for ways to improve safety, or are they?  All too many leaders would settle for maintaining the status quo or managing to fail a little less this year than last.  It is not that they would not like to make a truly transformational improvement in safety.  They simply either don’t think it is possible or don’t have a plan to make it happen.

The beginning of a transformation in safety is to quit trying to control workers and start adding value to them.  Workers may sometimes be the problem but they are also the solution.  Helping workers perform more safely is different than controlling them.  The whole terminology of “safety controls” loses its effectiveness when it moves from conditional controls to behavioral controls.  

Transformation begins with winning hearts and minds over to safety excellence and providing the support to enable their efforts.  Safety becomes a life ambition and not a game that needs rules to keep people from cheating.  The hands and feet of workers only need to be controlled when their hearts and minds are not bought in and fully engaged in the safety 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 in 2010, 2011 and 2012-2013. 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.


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