I had a discussion recently with a colleague regarding the importance of leadership in safety.   Too often leaders want to preach safety but send a conflicting message by violating safety rules themselves.   Leaders need to WALK THE TALK!   When employees see a leader violating a safety rule or regulation, they are basically being told that it is OK to do this.    I read a safety story about 15 years ago that sticks with me relating to the non-verbal messages that leaders send employees.   The story goes something like this:  An employee was standing on the top rung of a ladder and did not have a spotter (two safety violations).  This employee’s supervisor was late for a meeting and walked by the employee on the ladder on their way to the meeting.  The supervisor chose not to stop and correct these items and continued on to the meeting.   A few minutes later there was a panic call over the radio that an employee had fallen from a ladder and was being rushed to the hospital.   The employee was killed that day by head injuries sustained from the fall.    By walking by and choosing to do nothing – the supervisor was “non-verbally” telling the employee that it was OK to be standing on the top rung of the ladder and that it was OK to not have a spotter.    How do you think the supervisor feels knowing that they could have prevented this death by just stopping and correcting the situation?

It is so important that leaders WALK THE TALK.   Employees are constantly looking at leaders for direction and guidance.   Leaders need to completely understand that their non-verbal communication is just as important as their verbal communication.    I am going to reinforce the importance of WALK THE TALK at our next safety leadership meeting – what about you?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

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