More than CYA

While working out in the hotel fitness room, I saw it. The safety sign on the wall. Not the average laminated paper sign, this one was polished brass, the kind that would fit perfectly on the wall of a national monument. Fourteen rules, all clearly spelled out. Except for the blanks. “No children under the age of _____ allowed in the pool” and “No children under ______ without adult supervision”

The blanks were supposed to be filled in, but were plainly forgotten by a staff possibly more focused on liability and compliance rather than effectiveness.

This past week, I attended a local safety chapter meeting. The guest speaker spoke for 30 minutes on tips to avoid worker’s compensation errors and fraud.

Maybe there is a place in EHS for the blank signs and fraud avoidance. Maybe.

But then I remembered the fatality and injury investigations that I’ve done. The ones our profession does every day. Not a single person who died or was seriously injured would have been saved by a blank sign or a fraud-focused mindset. An EHS professional who prioritizes CYA will save the organization money…but at what cost?

Maybe this is naïve. Maybe this idea that it’s more than CYA is idealistic.

But try telling that to the family of the worker who no longer comes home.

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