Never legislate from your desk.

That’s a phrase I repeat to myself every time I write any type of safety guidance. There are probably millions of policies, procedures, and guidelines collecting dust on shelves because they are just… awful. Many well-intentioned safety professionals (myself included) have wasted precious hours writing them. It’s a common problem.

Consider these points the next time you decide to write a rule:

  • Safety shouldn’t be a roadblock or bureaucratic nuisance, we should provide guidance that allows for the safe completion of tasks.

  • Rules and guidelines should be designed to actually make people safer.

  • Procedures need to be reasonable enough to execute.

We should be in the business of partnering with the people who perform work, not dictating rules and regulations to them. Enjoy the video.

Original article link:

Video Transcription

How's it going everybody? It's Jason from and and today I'm bringing you another Safety Snake Bite.

Today I'm going to talk about when safety goes overboard. It's a topic that really doesn't need a whole lot of introduction.

Safety Cop: Hey there.

Hard Worker: Oh. yeah?

Safety Cop: Could I talk to you for a minute?

Hard Worker: Okay. Hang on a second.

Hard Worker: Yeah. What's up?

Safety Cop: It looks like you're going to be on a ladder longer than 10 seconds.

Hard Worker: Most jobs on ladders take longer than 10 seconds. I'm just saying.

Safety Cop: Well, per policy, that means that, uh, you're going to have to exchange that letter for a lift.

Hard Worker: We don't have a lift. This is a home office.

Safety Cop: Well, that's what the policy says.

Hard Worker: You wrote the policy. Change it.

Safety Cop: Also, it's aluminum so you could get into an electrical hazard.

Hard Worker: It's a home office. There's no electrical hazards.

Safety Cop: Are you wearing leggings?

Hard Worker: Yeah, I'm wearing boots and leggings and making a video. It's perfectly appropriate attire.

Safety Cop: We'll have to see what HR says about that.

Hard Worker: Go away. Boo.

So the next time you get inspired to write a policy or a guideline or basically anything that you put down on paper, think about two things.

  1. Is it actually going to make people safer?
  2. Can people actually operate to the procedure?

The next step is getting people involved. Go out to the field, go out to the plant, go out to the project site, wherever it is, and go find those people that are going to be doing the procedure you're writing. Tell them what you're after. Explain to them what you're trying to achieve and then ask them how they can accomplish it. That's going to create some serious ownership.

As always, if you enjoy the video, please like and subscribe. If you'd like to see the original RelentlessSafety post that inspired this video, check out the links down below. Comment down below if you've got some examples of safety going overboard. It's all I got for you this week. I'll see you again soon.