The best professionals are upfront about their limitations. Medical professionals detail surgical risk. Insurance contracts spell out coverage limits and exclusions. Engineers place weight limits on bridges and roads.
But not in EHS. We can do everything (or so it seems.)
Allow us to conduct a thorough investigation and we’ll prevent all similar injuries and losses.
Allow us to inspect the facility and we’ll uncover all nonconformities and noncompliance.
Allow us to train the workers and they’ll never again make an error.
Allow us to implement a hazard control and no one will ever be injured again.
And we wonder why managers become a bit jaded about safety, seemingly doubting our prescient foresight?
Maybe, like the medical professional, we should give probabilities. Such as, with this hazard control, we could expect a 50% reduction in similar losses.
Or like the insurance provider who excludes flooding, safety training cannot prevent poor decision making encouraged by a culture of productivity over safety.
Clearly explaining what you don’t do can lead to more focused work and build more credibility than the wild overpromise.
What don’t you do?