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Are you 'safety-deaf'?


A certain automotive safety issue has been getting a lot of attention recently. Safety groups believe that the response from the company to fix the issue was too slow. Their reaction time could put people at risk for a known safety hazard. One statement used was that the company was “safety-deaf”.

An interesting term, “safety-deaf”, how can someone, let alone an entire company be “safety-deaf”? We can step back from this national, even international, safety concern and think more locally, our jobsites.

Is the company you work for, the crew you work with, your co-worker or even you, “safety-deaf”? There might be a ‘yes’ answer to the question. Think about it.

When you are safety minded, you are sure that your tools and equipment are in good, safe, working order. If you operate any kind of equipment, you are completing that daily inspection and noting any concerns on your inspection form. Obviously, if there is something mechanical that causes downtime for the equipment, you want to get it repaired.

Do you give the not-so-mechanical issues the same attention? An inoperable seat belt, or bad wiper blades, or cracked glass, those are issues that may not prevent you from using your equipment, but will shut you down just as fast as a mechanical failure. By ignoring these concerns, are you ‘safety-deaf’?

If you are working near a loud compressor room that someone left the door open, do you take the time to close it and lessen the noise? There is a spill on the floor, do you clean it up or at least place a warning sign next to it so no one slips? If you are thinking that ‘it’s not my job’ and someone else will deal with it, is that is being “safety-deaf”?

What about a safety concern that is being repeatedly mentioned at the safety meeting and does not get fixed. The response might be; there is no funding or there’s a lack of manpower or some other lack of resource; is the company being ‘safety-deaf’?

Get pro-active! Follow up with your safety department or supervisor on issues voiced at the safety meeting. Take the time to correct or identify safety hazards. When we, as a safety conscious workforce, begin our safety focus upstream of potential concerns to prevent them altogether, we make everyone a lot safer.

Safety speaks loudly and you know it has been heard by the workforce with improved job performance and greater morale. The company hears it with fewer incidents, reduced injuries and lost time and increased production. And you’ll hear it when you’re asked, ‘how was your day?’ and you hear yourself say, ‘it was a good day.’

You’ll know it loud and clear.


  • Abby 5 years ago

    Thanks JD. I know workers are concerned about the push for productivity and feel that if they take the time to be safe, whether it's to fix something or get the correct equipment or set up the job site properly, they'll lose time. Your last paragraph says it all.

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