An article about warehouse safety that I recently came across asserted that following OSHA’s rules and regulations was the best way to avoid hazards in the workplace. Although following OSHA’s rules and regulations is obviously a good idea and would lead to better safety outcomes than not following them, to assert that regulatory compliance alone is the best way to achieve safety excellence is shortsighted.
“To assert that regulatory compliance alone is the best way to achieve safety excellence is shortsighted.”
In fact, in a proactive safety system regulatory compliance is, albeit important and necessary, only a part of the equation. As previous Predictive Safety articles have shown, regulatory agencies did not intend their regulations to be used by companies as measurements of their own safety performance. Plus, regulations tend to be prescriptive and cumulative over time, which complicates both compliance and enforcement. Because regulations continue to grow in complexity for both companies and regulators, and because penalties for violations continue to swell, it becomes increasingly difficult to view regulatory compliance alone as the best method of ensuring safety excellence. Although regulations tend do their job by providing organizations the terms by which they can legally conduct business, their prescriptive approach cannot anticipate all possible scenarios, nor can they prevent a worker from operating heavy machinery while he is fatigued or distracted, for example.
This shows how regulatory compliance alone can do little to address the attitudes, behaviors, and many circumstances that can lead to accidents or future violations. Because this fact is becoming more widely understood, many organizations have begun transforming their safety systems in proactive ways, reaping all the benefits of superior safety systems. But such transformation is not always easy or straightforward. Fortunately, your company has an ally in improving its safety system. Predictive Safety can provide the tools and training to help your organization remain competitive, solidify its reputation, and above all better protect the lives and livelihoods of your hard workers, the foundation of your business.