Workplace Safety Matters: Experts are of the opinion that compliance and technology aren’t enough

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workplace safety

According to workplace safety specialist Tony Orlowski, safety initiatives that focus solely on adhering to regulations can be described as “safety by the numbers.” He compares this approach to completing a paint-by-numbers picture, where the outcome only meets the bare minimum requirements.

“Somebody else has already done that work for you, and all you have to do is follow their instructions,” Orlowski said during a recent interview. “In the end … it never really leads to excellence. That may be OK for your efforts in the artistic world, but it’s certainly not an acceptable approach for your responsibilities in safety.”

Tony Orlowski and Ken Chapman’s book “Safety Beyond the Numbers: A Path to Principled Leadership” introduces a concept that goes beyond mere compliance – Ownership. They explore this idea of ownership as the next step in workplace safety in their book.

“Good leaders who lead good organizations adhere to both OSHA and industry standards. But that is just the foundation,” Chapman said. “They also own their moral responsibility to ensure safe outcomes, and likewise require all team members to be worthy partners in keeping themselves and the people they work beside safe. Building an ownership culture on the foundation of compliance is the essential component that drives outstanding safety results.”

The authors explain that companies are investing a significant amount of time, resources, and money into incorporating new equipment, intelligent controls for decision-making, and advanced technologies to monitor and assess compliance efforts. However, these companies tend to overlook a fundamental aspect that has remained constant for centuries: human nature.

“Responsible human interaction and meaningful engagement with your people is as important to safety as technological advancement,” Orlowski added.

For those leaders who consider safety to be more than just a mandatory obligation, “Safety Beyond the Numbers” offers a precise roadmap for implementing ownership principles. The book is targeted towards leaders who perceive their employees’ welfare to be crucial to the company’s success, an essential prerequisite for conducting business, and a moral duty.

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