Are Your Company’s Safety Standards Just Suggestions?

In the US these days more and more laws are becoming suggestions. I watched a corner the other day while walking my dog and I saw a dozen cars roll through the stop sign without stopping. At another location, I waited to see how drivers were reacting to the yellow lights at an intersection. No one was clearing the intersection during the yellow light. In fact, at least one and sometimes two cars were running a red light. In a recent trip to the heartland, I saw only two vehicles driving the speed limit. On that trip, I saw a road sign in Missouri that said 59% of Missouri highway deaths did not wear their seat belt. I could go on for hours outlining how laws and regulations in the US are interpreted as suggestions rather than absolutes.

On a recent visit to a construction site, I saw everyone wearing hard hats. The workers were wearing them even in areas where no danger of overhead work was present for example in a pickup truck while driving. When asked the site safety representative said company policy is that all workers must wear hard hats at all times. What about teaching the workers when and where hard hats are required and holding them accountable for wearing them within those circumstances? Apparently, that is too much work.

When safety standards and laws become suggestions injuries, illnesses, and property damage will occur because employees and people are committing unsafe acts. As safety professionals, we can’t change the world, but we can work to ensure that safety standards are known by company employees and that they are followed. When they are not the employee should be retrained or disciplined.

About Fred Fanning Author

Fred Fanning currently writes biweekly on his blog His published works include the peer-reviewed book Basic Safety Administration-A Handbook for the New Safety Specialist. Fred also authored two editions of the peer-reviewed chapter Safety Training and Documentation Principles that was published in the bestselling Safety Professional Handbook and the Safety Professional Handbook Management Applications. He coauthored the peer-reviewed chapter Safety Training with Christine Fiori, Ph.D., PE, published in the bestselling Construction Safety Management and Engineering, second edition edited by Darryl C. Hill, Ph.D., CSP. Fred also has several self-published books. He has a series called Fred’s Safety Shorts. This is a collection of twelve books on topics related to safety published with Kindle Direct Publishing. Fred self-published another six books using both CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform and Kindle Direct Publishing. He has authored fifty-eight articles in various publications on the topics of safety and health and project management. Fred has earned several writing awards for his non-fiction work. Fred has two novels A Walk Among the Dead and Mystery at Devil’s Elbow.
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