I have been in dozens of manufacturing facilities. Everything from steel foundries to car assembly plants to wire brush manufacturing. Safety is promoted in many ways in each of them, and some companies are able to brag about their significant accomplishments in safety.
Anyone who has seen this knows that the measures are most often given in terms of injury rates or accident avoidance.
But for me, the measure is what I see when I am inside. I look to see if there is a well kept facility or if there are lots of unorganized storage or messy work areas. I watch the operators interact with machines, and I look for where fire extinguishers are. In short, I look for practices that indicate loss prevention as a value.
There are lots of people who think that accidents are, well, accidents. That they are bound to happen. That if I work in this facility long enough I am likely to lose a finger just like my Uncle Joe did when he worked here.
If the safety programs are window dressing, then safety is an illusion. Some people believe that their co-workers were fated to be injured. That’s why some people who never smoke a day in their lives still get lung cancer. Or why a lean athlete might still die at an early age due to heart ailment.
What do you think? Is it worth any effort to take extra caution? When are safety meetings and risk mitigation efforts too much?
Let’s be careful out there. I mean, if you think it matters.