How above the table do you want to be with this?

I am a bit of a skeptic . . . Well, maybe more than a bit. When I see amazing safety streaks and empty OSHA logs, I immediately want to know more. I hope that there is something I can learn. My reality is usually something very different. When I hear about all the great programs, back-patting, and self-congratulations, I worry that I am doing something wrong. Those people make it seem easy and from my experience, the level of effort that goes into having a top-tier safety program is not at all easy.

Let me take a step back and tell a story. I was performing a start-up of a manufacturing site as HSE. We did not generate a lot of waste oil, but we did have some that we wanted to dispose of the right way. I was given the name of a local person that could help. The meeting was, to say the least, concerning.

It was decision time. Take the easy path or take the right path. Because so much of safety is reactive, it can be so tempting to take the easy path. Avoid the OSHA recordable rather than prevent the risk. Omit items from the OSHA log rather than research and record.

This is not to say that there are not good safety programs out there. There absolutely are. I have met some amazing and talented people. What amazes me most about them is how they keep driving for excellence. They hold firm to their values and ethics. They are fantastic leaders who know they cannot do it alone. They are team builders. They are my inspiration. Even more important is that this list is not just safety people. I have met learning, operations, maintenance, and regulatory people that have led the charge of protecting people.