Written by: Sameh Abdeleghany, MS OSH student
On any project or construction site, you may notice a sign that says, “Safety First.” This sentence or sign is not just a slogan or a meaningless sign to post in the workplace; it is a vital reminder to all workers on work safely as the business goal. However, safety is not only related to workplace activities; it should be a lifestyle or a habit. We have dozens of activities we do in our life that have safety risks or that expose us to certain hazards daily. For instance, driving your vehicle, cycling and even jogging can be unsafe.
As a safety professional, I know that promoting safety as a lifestyle is not easy and it requires commitment, awareness and practice. Here are some tips on how to make safety a part of your everyday lifestyle.
- Speak about safety with your family, friends and neighbors. For example, encourage them to use gloves and goggles when they change a punctured tire or when they use a sharp edge in their kitchen. I used to always speak with my kids about sharp edges and other safety concerns at home and now safety practices are second nature to them.
- Be a role model. In each activity you do, promote safety concepts at each step. At your home, check the extension cords, make sure that they do not lie on the floor or add a trip hazard. Ensure your bathroom and kitchen are dry to prevent slip incidents. You can also ask you kids, partner or roommate to help you to identify the home hazards or risks. At your workplace or office, try to take the initiative to promote the “safety first” behavior. You can achieve this by doing regular housekeeping, removing any obstacles in the exit routes, etc.
- Create a family safety moment at the dinner (or breakfast) table each day. Let you kids, partner or your friends tell stories about any unsafe incident they faced and how they chose, or should have chosen, to mitigate these risks.
I started to work on “safety first” behavior with my kids at an early age. I used to discuss with them the potential hazards that they might face at their school and inform them how to deal with risks and emergency cases. I frequently ask them to watch the electrical connections at home and to report any issues to me. They quickly started to recognize the “near misses” since I always explained it to them. At the workplace, our management team used to have a safety moment before every meeting. We shared any safety issues we were facing at home or in our daily routine activities. This was very helpful since you never know when a risk could pop up in your own environment.
Making safety a lifestyle can be challenging. It needs to be in our subconscious and become a daily habit. By promoting safety first in our routine tasks, we can be a role model to those around us and prevent a hazardous situation. Sharing our safety experience with our families, friends and colleagues is one of the most effective tips that we can use to promote the safety culture. It might not be easy, but it is possible and will be very rewarding.