THE HEADLINE READS “ ‘Safety Culture’ Key to Business Success.” It’s a headline that tops an exclusive March 2017 risk-management article for the website version of The American Oil & Gas Reporter magazine (www.aogr.com).
The article reports that “a rise in the frequency of lost time injuries occurs in the (oil and gas) industry about two years after a drop in oil prices.” The article’s bottom line is a not-so-veiled recommendation that oil and gas company executives not put their employees’ safety at risk when they cut costs to adjust to lean economic times and pressures to maintain healthy profit margins.
Teasing to the article recently on our Facebook page — www.facebook.com/tuckerpaving — we wrote that “The headline works for us.” “Us,” of course is Tucker Paving, Inc., where employee and construction-zone safety together are priority one and where business is better, in part, because of it. We pride ourselves here on our own safety culture and the excellent safety record we have to show for it. You might recall that back in June we held a big off-site company event for all employees and family members to celebrate more than a million man-hours of work with absolutely no lost-time accidents.
Having an excellent business safety culture involves much more than putting up a bunch of “safety-first” posters around the office and in the employee breakroom. It requires commitment to the cause; a laser-like focus; buy-in by employees at all levels and all areas; persistent and consistent training; and playing by all of the company and regulatory safety rules.
We stated earlier that the headline, “ ‘Safety Culture’ Key to Business Success,” works for us. What also works for us is the following small collection of quotes — courtesy of the National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) — by famous and somewhat-famous people who understood or understand today the value of a workplace safety culture.
• “The future of the safety movement is not so much dependent upon the invention of safety devices as on the improvement of methods of educating people to the ideal of caution and safety.” — Walter Dill Scott, president, Northwestern University (1921)
• “The danger which is least expected soonest comes to us.” — Voltaire, French dramatist, poet, and reformer born in 1694
• “At the end of the day, the goals are simple: Safety and security.” — Jodi Rell, former governor of Connecticut
• “Safety applies with equal force to the individual, to the family, to the employer, to the state, the nation and to international affairs. Safety, in its widest sense, concerns the happiness, contentment and freedom of mankind.” — William M. Jeffers, former president, Union Pacific Railroad Co. (1946)
• “It is my sincere wish and hope that the day will come when the protecting arms of ‘Universal Safety’ will spread out over all industry and reach all the millions of workers who make industry possible.” — Charles M. Schwab, steel magnate born in 1862
• “Teaching the world to be careful is a constructive service worthy of God’s great gift of life to man.” — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harold H. Burton (1946)
• “Shallow men believe in luck; wise and strong men in the cause and effect.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
• “Safety work is today recognized as an economic necessity. It is the study of the right way to do things.” — Robert W. Campbell, first president of the National Safety Council
• “The safety of the people shall be the highest law.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman philosopher born in 106 B.C.
• “The economic waste resulting from carelessness is appalling, but anyone who stops for a moment to consider the sorrow and desolation which is brought into thousands of lives each year by utter thoughtlessness must feel a new resolve to make a habit of “Safety First.” — W.C. Durant, president, General Motors (1920)
• “Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands.” — Jeff Cooper, American celebrity
• “For safety is not a gadget but a state of mind.” — Eleanor Everet, safety expert
• “Better a thousand times careful than once dead.” — Proverb
• “If the owner or manager does not show an interest in preventing employee injury and illness, then the employees will probably not give it much thought either.” — Rhode Island Small Business Recovery Program
• “It takes leadership to improve safety.” — Jackie Stewart, racing driver
• “Safety doesn’t happen by accident.” — Author unknown