Well we all think compliance with the safety laws and regulations will lead to injury reductions and it does at first. After all compliance and injury reduction are supposed to be the same thing. Well they are the same thing for a while but there is a point in time where they are not the same thing and everyone knows it. The reason we have OSHA laws is to prevent injury. But the great irony is that the laws can at times become a distraction. We're so wrapped up in getting all the details of compliance right that we tend to overlook what should be obvious safety risks. I mean, why is it that an experienced and certified safety professional performing a compliance audit can spot a container on the back shelf without a label during a compliance audit, but not notice that everyone—and I mean everyone—is violating an ergonomic procedure on the production floor (pulling carts instead of pushing them). Could it be that the former would constitute an OSHA violation and the latter wouldn't? If so, this is sad—especially when you consider that the number one injury at this particular facility of 2,650 was and probably still is shoulder strains.

Now before you call out the medical professionals to put me away because I must have lost my mind let's put things in perspective. Illustration #1 below is one I have been using for years to explain how organizations can become world class in safety performance. I call it the Five Stages to World class Safety.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.