Incident Free for a million hours -show us your WORK
I read online more about how companies have gone 893 years or some ridiculous amount of hours without a lost time accident, but I see less about how they actually got there. And I don’t mean that you have some super behavioral based, psychologically hacking, super-computing, quantum bending checklist. But how you have actually gotten there. What are you doing day to day, in the dirt, to get there. I guarantee you that if you really have 1 million man hours without a recordable either one of two things is true — 1) you are lying 2) You have a phenomenal system in place that cultivates safe work better than everybody else. If it’s the second one then why aren’t you sharing THAT with everyone, because in real life I see companies with a constant struggle to make it a day without incidents and problems much less 949 years. Why don’t we share the info, why do we think it’s a secret, why don’t more people who build great safety management systems share that information? If you are telling the truth about your success then you know that it took enormous amounts of work, you worked your face off! Are you afraid that other people might do it and be successful too. I would be willing to bet that 99.9% of the people that read about it wont do the work. They will be all jacked up for a week or two then something happens that is really, really hard and they will stop and they will fail.
Most people don’t “show their work” because they have no idea how they got there. The got lucky, they got in a system that is working. But the good times wont last forever. The average safety person has never built anything from scratch. They have worked within systems and either are successful or fail. Very few have built it. I am not saying I have all the answers but I have some, and i share them with whomever asks. The problem is that most of the answers require a four letter word that not many people in safety like…WORK!
It is hard as hell to keep a workforce safe and incident free, day in and day out. It never, ever ends, EVER. It takes a constant grind towards the goal that is never achievable because it cannot have an end date. You cannot really ever say you got there. You cant say “Once we get to 1,000 hours, or 1 million hours, then we can stop”, it does not work like that. It is forever, always.
So, how do you do it? How do you make your employees safe? There is only one answer that I can think of….WORK? There is not a silver bullet, one paragraph answer. You have to learn your people. You have to get in the dirt to see what makes them motivated. And guess what, what works on one guy in one area, might not work on another guy in another area. Having your basics covered helps, having a good foundation system helps, but you have to put in the work. Having the opportunity to see an individual get the why, when you are asking him to do something and to see that he understands that it is for his benefit. You will love that feeling.
And then you share your answers, you share your work. Help others work to achieve the impossible goal. Don’t keep it a secret. Don’t just tell us about your milestone, achievement, or selfie moment. Prove to us that you are not a liar with your million man hour post. Show us how you did it, in detail. Have some empathy towards your fellow Safety workers. Most wont listen, but someone might and use something you did to save a life. Then its all worth it.
Ryan Gisclair is a business owner, “safety guy”, father, husband and a human being with an opinion. Ryan operates, manages and puts out fires daily at a safety training and consulting company in Louisiana which primarily focuses on the oil and gas and construction industry. This post is written to start a conversation, not an argument. This is one guys opinion, one mans take on the world in which he lives.