Managing Safety Performance NewsFlash

Asking “Should?”

Brand new to the world of industry, it’s your first day on the job. You’ve been given your first assignment: a seemingly simple clean up task. Having been given no training, getting ready to start, you’re very apprehensive about what you are about to do.

What should you do?

  1. Go ahead, assuming your boss would not ask you to do something that is unsafe.
  2. Go ahead, assuming that if there’s a problem, your co-workers will make sure you work safely.
  3. Stop, find your supervisor, and discuss the details of the assignment further before starting the job.

This simple scenario serves as a powerful example of the difference between “should” and “would”: what you should do is one thing; what you actually do is an entirely different thing.

When it comes to safety, what you do really is the only thing that matters!

If everyone did exactly what they should do, the world would be a pretty safe place to live and work. In real life, there’s a world of difference between what people should do – and what they actually do.

Here’s one example of that difference, and how it played out in real life.

Paul Balmert
August 2019


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