Be Careful About What You Believe and Why!

I’m clearly not as convinced as some that a group of well-meaning people can develop an “international” standard, which without independent testing will be definitively correct. There’s a great deal of consensus “guessing” (however logical) going on in all of these “standards” that, until challenged scientifically, will be just that… unscientific.

Companies managed well can create safety in a number of ways. Becoming “certified” is one of those ways, however what isn’t known is what are the factors that are truly the causation of the positive outcomes. Is it the audit process (what gets measured gets done)? Is it the simple fact that to be part of this process you need to engage your employees to think about the creation of safety?

These “standards” are not prescriptive so the question begs to be asked “what are the common traits of the companies that are truly getting great outcomes and what are the failures of the ones that don’t?” Certified companies will sing the praises of their outcomes but all the data in the world of what ROI is acheived by managing safety well will not pinpoint the factors that cause the positive outcomes unless there is a control group study. Many ISO/CSA/COR/ 9000/ 14000/18000 companies are failing to be successful in achieving great outcomes. The question still needs to be answered. WHY?

This reminds me of when I was growing up, listening to the commercials for a popular toothpaste…9 out of 10 Dentists…you know where I’m going with this don’t you? In the toothpaste example what was actually happening is because of the test the kids were simply brushing their teeth more often…almost any toothpaste would have gotten the same results. The dentists asked to comment naturally all liked the outcome of less tooth decade so liked the outcome…no surprise there! Companies mature enough to install a SMS will get results…my guess is the standard is less important than the process of actually managing…Thank You Edwards Deming!

I’m not against SMS, I am going to continue to question what works and what doesn’t within those standards. Never in human history has “many people agreeing” been the secret to anything. In fact many people agreeing have been consistently WRONG. Which btw is the central subject of this whole discussion. Supervisors in 1931 were wrong.

Now where did I put that 13th century flat earth society membership card? Oh yes it’s beside my copy of Heinrich.


3 comments on “Be Careful About What You Believe and Why!

  1. Jeff Chorney says:

    Hey Al all good comments regarding SMS and culture however the biggest deficit I see these days are; lack of leadership, discipline, and commitment from employees …. Jeff

    • People do what they do because of what happens when they do it – Aubrey Daniels taught me that. Want the employees’ behaviour to change…use the ABC of behaviour WITH them and not use it on them. Decide with them the behaviours needed…then work with them to get those behaviours habitual. Take a look at “Bringing Out The Best In People” by Daniels…it’s an awesome book…one your management team could read.

  2. Jeff Chorney says:

    Yes there is always a book to read. Reminds me of my children regarding behaviour when they were young. I didn’t need to teach them how lie or cheat they came by it naturally. They came into their own understanding by my leadership in the home that lying and cheating is sinful, unacceptable and wrong. BTW there was a consequence to their actions. Same on the job. We have hazard assessments, safe work practices & procedures and if employees do not follow them …then there is usually an occurrence sooner or later. The consequence you already know. There are a lot of companies striving for safety however there will never be any buy in from anyone if it is not modeled by management first! Lets write a new book called ‘bringing out the best in management’ … Jeff

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