“Zero Injuries” Is Absolutely nothing To Celebrate

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By Phil La Duke

I was checking out the discussion groups on LinkedIn this week when I occurred across a quite popular, and frankly extremely scary, thread. It involved a security specialist providing candy bars to the workers as a reward for a year with zero injuries.

I was alarmed at how numerous softheaded mouth-breathers chimed in about what a fantastic concept it was, and what an accomplishment a complete year without having zero injuries is. Prior to I continue this rant, I ought to be clear: I am not against safety incentives, but I AM against providing incentives due to the fact some thing didn’t occur. Rewarding your staff for zero injuries is like rewarding them when it does not rain. Why not? The security boobs ask, a day with no rain is a Excellent factor, and if we want folks to continue to do excellent issues we want to reward them for it.

I feel the rain analogy performs pretty well—of course the workers do not have any control more than whether or not or not it rains, and they do have some limited—but definitely not absolute—control more than whether or not injuries occur—because if we don’t understand exactly what situations we created to attain zero injuries it just leads to a blanket “well the recipe worked” properly perhaps it did and perhaps it didn’t.

The Dalmatian Effect

With all apologies to Dalmatian lovers out there, this specific breed is (at least according to my vet) notoriously challenging to train, tends toward violent outbursts, and can turn on the owner. This is not to say this is a condemnation of all Dalmatians, of course. In reality there is a darned very good cause that Dalmatians have this reputation, you see, a disproportionate number of Dalmatians are deaf it’s a congenital defect in the breed. Folks unfamiliar with Dalmatians get a cute small Dalmatian puppy and attempt to train it. They yell “no!” as it piddles on the carpet, they beat it with a rolled up magazine when it chews the credenza. The poor dog doesn’t have a clue why it is being punished so it can not be educated effectively. Likewise it doesn’t hear the “good dog” praising for acquiring factors right so punishment and reward seem to be fully random and that tends to make the afflicted Dalmatians surly brutes waiting for some pay back. Not think about rewarding workers for zero injuries is it so diverse from how we treat the deaf Dalmatian?

For several workers, rewards for zero injuries are regarded patronizing and insulting. I when asked a tradesman if the business supplied incentives for zero injuries and his answer was really telling, “yeah these idiots purchase us pizza at the finish of the month if we don’t kill anybody as if we would deliberately get hurt if it wasn’t for their crappy pizza”. He went on to say that he and most (his words not mine) of his coworkers felt like management treated them like children and were insulted by it. “I perform safely simply because it’s just the wise thing to do they can shove their pizza.”

If You Reward Factors You Don’t Recognize You Cannot Reliably Repeat them

I utilized to teach problem solving strategies and 1 of the first steps in issue solving is to ascertain the structure of the dilemma: Broad, Specific, Start off Up, or Constructive. It was tough for people to recognize the concept of a positive issue, so I would explain it this way: suppose you find an extra $ 50 on your subsequent paycheck. Wouldn’t you want to know what brought on you to have the extra funds? (the answer was invariable a resounding yes!) So now you have a difficulty, proper? You have a constructive condition but you don’t know what brought on it so you can’t replicate it.

So there you have it. Zero injuries is a good dilemma that should be solved so that it can be replicated reliably and economically. Let’s face it everyone has zero injuries until an individual gets hurt.

Easy (and Easy-Minded) Options To Complex Difficulties

Let’s say that rather providing adults candy bars for zero injuries we attempted to answer the question “why did we have zero injuries this year?” We may start by brainstorming reasons that normally outcome in a reduction in reported injuries. Our list may look something like this:

  • Much better housekeeping
  • Quicker response to physical hazards
  • Far better coaching resulting in greater choice producing
  • Beneath reporting
  • Luck
  • Outsourcing the most harmful operate to suppliers
  • Far better containment of physical hazards
  • Improved awareness of the dangers connected with a offered job
  • More skilled supervision (as measured by the completion rate of education
  • Larger good quality instruction (as determined by sound course evaluation)
  • Improved case management
  • Improved scrutiny and information evaluation of the risks connected with injuries
  • Lowered production
  • Greater machine reliability
  • A light winter that resulted in less slips and falls on wet or icy surfaces
  • Increased number of safety suggestions
  • Fraudulent record maintaining
  • A climate of fear for reporting injuries
  • Disciplinary for getting injured

These are just factors off the prime of my head that could trigger a reduction in injuries and/or achievement of the aim of zero injuries. Which of these do you really want to reward? Aren’t there some of these that you Do not want to reward? Aren’t some of these conditions unworthy of a candy bar? But when you give a blanket reward without realize what did and what did not contribute to an outcome you are endorsing each and every one of these things that are accurate.

Zeroes Are not Necessarily Heroes

What was most troubling wasn’t that a safety practitioner gave out an incentive for zero injuries, after all that IS what we want is not it? What was troubling was that the thread had a number of hundred comments praising the security guy in question for providing out candy bars for zero injuries. I’ve asked the question before, but am compelled to ask it once again, HOW STUPID ARE WE? 1 of my contacts challenged my assertion that possibly, just possibly, the zero injury accomplishment was because of beneath reporting by saying that he doubted that individuals would under report just for a candy bar. Okay perhaps he’s appropriate, but then rewarding them with a candy bar for zero injuries is even much more pointless.

We have to stop acting like injuries are constantly a conscious choice to take an unnecessary threat and commence acting more scientific. We have to comprehend the nature of the injuries that take place at OUR sites in OUR industries and stop listening to the snake oil salesmen. Only when we realize the factors that folks can actively DO to decrease the risk of injury can we responsibly reward them for undertaking so. But most of you reading this will not do that. Why? A number of causes: 1) it’s difficult 2) we like to give out trinkets and swag and three) we do not know how to establish and interpret great leading indicators. In the end we just take credit that is ours to take and ignore risks till somebody dies.

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