24 Bad Habits of Safety Professionals

  1. Defaulting to “no”
  2. Taking criticism personally
  3. Never listening to criticism
  4. Never explaining
  5. Managing by Microsoft Outlook and policy letter
  6. Thinking good intentions are good enough
  7. Forgetting that the process is more important than the result
  8. Checking email constantly
  9. Giving up on strategy for the lure of the “urgent”
  10. Thinking continuing education is for others
  11. Overpromising
  12. Underdelivering
  13. Thinking people don’t value safety
  14. Not reading at least a book a month
  15. Talking down to supervisors and new employees
  16. Turning incident investigations into rote paperwork
  17. Thinking safety is more important than every other business function
  18. Using safety jargon to sound smart
  19. Taking the credit for incident reductions
  20. Passing the blame when incident rates go up
  21. Lowering their standards
  22. Tying self-worth to the job title and description
  23. Believing pessimism is the best way to avoid pain
  24. Forgetting that being calm and kind are two of the best attributes of safety professionals

What would you add to the list?

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2 thoughts on “24 Bad Habits of Safety Professionals

  1. Great list, but I’m not too sure about number 7. Maybe it’s my own bad habit, but I think that the result is more important than the process.

    • Thanks, Dan!

      To be clear, results do matter. It’s simply a choice of focus.

      This “bad” habit (results matter more than the process) is a reminder to focus on what we can control in any area of life…our own input. We control our actions, decisions, habits, and attitudes. We cannot always control the outcome.

      John Wooden is famous for getting his basketball players to focus on the process and not the game’s outcome. For example, he’d have players focus on free throw techniques instead of the score of the game. He knew that the players could practice free throws (the process) and get better, but they could not practice winning the game (the result).

      Here’s what Wooden said. “”It is difficult for young players to learn – because of the great emphasis on records – but, ideally, the joy and frustration of sport should come from the performance itself, not the score. While he is playing, the worst thing a player can think about in terms of concentration – and therefore of success – is losing. The next worst is winning.”

      In EHS, we can also practice the process. We can practice communication skills, risk analysis, training techniques, and more. But we cannot practice “no injuries.”