The Hard Questions in EHS

The people who skip the hard questions are in the majority, but they are not in demand.” – Seth Godin

You know those questions you sometimes ask yourself, even for a moment, before the day-to-day tasks take over?

You know the idea you had during the injury investigation, the one that would “never” work at your company?

You know the question the student had during your last safety training, the one you carefully responded to, but nagged you for weeks?

These are the hard questions. The ones we push away in favor of the predictable to-do list. They are the questions which people like Peter Drucker, Joseph Juran, and W. Edward Deming wrestled with to transform business and quality paradigms.

Just what are the hard questions in the business of EHS? Here are a few ideas. What would you add to the list?

-Does training work if people don’t want to learn? Do we only train people who want to learn?

-When do laws and policies to keep people safe inhibit personal freedom boundaries?

-Does safety ever become too expensive? If so, where do we draw the line?

-Are some activities worth the risk of injury and death?

-If OSHA regulations disappeared tomorrow, what would you keep doing anyway? What would be dropped first?

-What’s the number one reason your organization has not ended preventable injuries and deaths? Is that OK? Is that what you’re working on now or are you busy rearranging deck chairs?

What are your hard questions?


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