In this age of rapid change and need for efficiency, we also see an increased emphasis on quality assurance standards such as ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certifications. However, the biggest factor we must consider in this age of more with less is how we, as individuals, impact the quality process. Our honor and integrity as human beings needs to be confirmed in our work and everything we do.
So, you may ask, how does this apply to safety?
Our personal behavior can determine someone else’s fate as well as our own.
Failure to do things correctly can jeopardize the health and safety of those around us, as well as our own well-being. We must beware of letting mediocrity infiltrate our methods. If our methods do not indicate our best effort, they are not good enough. What we do, how we work, and the standards we set for ourselves, make the difference between success and failure.
If we accept mediocrity, we accept failure as a way of life. Consider the example of an employee at a ship building facility who, at the end of a busy day, left a hammer in the hull of the ship. Fourteen years later, the boat sprung a leak in the middle of the ocean because the hammer wore a hole in the ship’s hull over time. The boat sank and lives were lost. This may be an extreme example but there are situations in our daily activities that can haunt us in the future if we do not pay keen attention to the quality of our work.
What about the oil that was spilled on the shop floor and wasn’t cleaned up right away? A fellow employee, a close friend of yours, comes by moments or hours later, doesn’t see the spill, slips and falls. Now he has severe back problems that affect his future, his family, and their quality of life for generations to come.
Each time we don’t do our best, we accept mediocrity as a way of life. To help set standards of excellence in everything we do we must pay attention to detail. If we don’t know the right way to do something, we must ask someone who does. If asked for help, we should take the time to demonstrate how to correctly and thoroughly complete a task. We must make an individual contribution, on a daily basis, to the safety process and ultimately to the organization’s success. When we set higher individual standards for ourselves and give our best to everything we do, it can and will make a difference.