Is Zero Really The Goal?

For many organizations, the goal is less injuries, no fatalities, and no unnecessary loss in property.

Is that really it?

Having a mission of zero in safety is like a couple carrying large consumer debt. This couple has several credit cards with $10,000+ balances, two auto loans, and a small student loan. Their mission is zero. So, they work, pay down debt, work overtime, and finally see $0.00 debt.

Finally. They’ve won, right?


Zero was never the goal. People, with a desire to build healthy relationships, change their corner of the world, build value in both their communities and industries, and chase their dreams aren’t after “zero”.

Zero is just the beginning.

If your company rarely sees a recordable incident, chasing compliance and the latest in SDS labeling won’t prevent the next injury. (It will however keep you busy and absolutely distract from the harder questions)

What’s after zero (or your current plateaued recordable rate)?

Process redesign (if you double the number of products and services produced or even double the workers, while maintaining the same recordable numbers, you have cut your rate in half.)

Other ideas: increased quality (in areas your customers value), new markets, building a flexible and agile workforce, healthy stakeholder relationships…and so on.

Is zero really your goal or, like the couple with zero debt in the example above, is it just the beginning?


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