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Do My Safety Efforts Really Make a Difference?

How often do you ask yourself, “What difference does it make whether or not I decide to do something?”  You know what I mean—cut the grass this weekend or next, properly inflate the tires on my car or let them run 2 pounds low, and eat vegetables at every meal or just sometime this week?

If we decide to procrastinate, or not do anything at all, what harm is done? What value is lost?  The adage,  “junk in equals junk out,” is especially true when it comes to safety, as the return on investment is only realized when a committed effort is put forward.  There’s little benefit gained from injury prevention unless your practices are consistent and effective.

But do prevention activities like toolbox talks, tailgate meetings, and inspections really make a difference?

There’s something to be said about setting routines, and when applied to certain prevention practices, routines help us gain control and predictability of where the next injury or incident may occur.  Many of these tried and true prevention practices, known as “leading indicators,” do make a difference.

safety, leading indicators, recordable injuries

A report from the Construction Industry Institute (CII) in 2011 sought to answer the question, “Do safety prevention activities make a difference and by how much?”  The following two graphics are from the CII report that draws conclusions of over two dozen safety practices, based on data supplied by CII members.

safety, recordable injuries

Don’t fall into the trap of feeling that your daily safety effort is insignificant.  I’m a firm believer that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Prevention efforts, no matter how small they are perceived to be, do make a difference.

For more information on CII go to: www.construction-institute.org

Dan Hannan, safety professionalAbout the Author: Dan Hannan is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and has been practicing safety for twenty-four years.  He is presently the Vice President and Safety Director for Merjent, an environmental and social consulting firm serving the world’s leading energy and natural resource companies. Merjent  consultants have decades of specialized experience on pipeline projects, including planning and feasibility, environmental permitting, construction compliance, operational compliance, third-party analyses, stakeholder engagement, and technology solutions.  Dan can be reached at dhannan@merjent.com.


Read more on Safety in the Workplace from Dan Hannan:

Safety With Purpose

When Safety Hurts

All is good until it’s not–When safety practices strain company culture

Why strive to be the best when good enough is good enough?

“I Can’t Fix Stupid”—Zero Injury is an Impossible Goal


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