Keep an Eye on Your Workers

Guest Blogger: Vince Hundley

Workers who refuse to follow your safety glasses policy are your biggest risk.  If they don’t conform, you have to take a hard line. I am telling you because I have years of hard data to back me up.

Years ago, I was managing our company’s safety program. We were performing at about the national average on-the-job injuries, but I was desperately looking to affect some improvement to reduce our accidents and lower our loss ratios.

I was having limited success, so I analyzed our accident data and the only obvious trend that I found was that accidents occurred when people took shortcuts. So I did what anyone would do, I implemented a 100% safety glasses policy.  I suspected that 100% compliance would prevent injuries.

What I found was surprising!  I received widespread pushback from the workers.  They told me that their safety glasses made them feel less safe!  They whined because they couldn’t see, or that they were getting headaches.  The resistance was so strong that I nearly gave in.

With the backing of our superintendent, I held my ground.  Over time the complaints dissipated, and soon only a few people were resisting the program. I was able to target those obvious individuals and gave them this ultimatum: “Either they change their behavior or they will move on– Whether voluntarily or not.”

As time went on, our incident rate improved significantly. Many of the careless accidents we’d experienced were not happening anymore. Then it occurred to me, the people not wearing safety glasses were the most likely to get injured!

How did I make that connection?

Workers that did not follow the policy were more likely to participate in risky behavior.  They just plain did not value their safety as much as their safer co-workers. I concluded the people that refused to wear glasses were Anti-Safety!!  If they pushed back on wearing safety glasses, then I knew they would push back on other things.

So if you are trying to reduce accidents and create a safety-conscience culture in your company, you should isolate those people that refuse to follow your safety policy on eye protection policy, and you should take a hard line.  It will help your employees, your safety culture and it will help your bottom line.

Pass this advice on to your family, friends and coworkers, because the more we talk about safety, the less we’ll hear about accidents.

Eye Protection at Your Workplace
All safety glasses and goggles should be ANSI Z87.1 certified for industrial eye protection with the Z87 mark on the frame or lenses. In certain occupations, a face shield and/or goggles should be mandatory.

Mr. Hundley graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety from Illinois State University, and completed his Master’s of Science in Industrial Hygiene at SDSU.  He is certified by the Board of Certified Safety professionals as a Certified Safety Professional (CSP).  Mr. Hundley is President and CEO of SMART Safety Group and President of OSHA outlet. 

2 thoughts on “Keep an Eye on Your Workers”

  1. Absolutely 100% in agreement with you here! It is so important to make sure that your employees are on board with the safety policy of your company. There are always those who are resistant to change but once they come to the realization that it is for their own well-being (or that they have NO option) they comply.

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