We went through a long session to think about safety. Everybody stepped back from work and listened to the top 2 via bridge telephone. You have probably seen or heard this:

Nobody gets hurt.

I will not get hurt today.

Above and beyond that, we had another motto for October and a target for hurt-free October. During the forum everybody sort of tried to remind everybody else about safety. I analyzed a little and realized this – the best part was – it was nothing new. Nothing that the attendees already know.

Employee A: whatever it is, take a step back.
Employee B: I see all sorts of madness, driving without seat belts, distances between cars are ridiculous close at very high speed, etc.

I quickly analyzed the situation again and offered them this:

Safety behavior
Look fellas. We haven’t really broken it down to where people could actually change. We tell them that they want to go back to their loved ones. That’s the biggest price. But they already know that. We… know that. People won’t change their behavior until they have the answer to 2 things: “Is it worth it?” and “Do I have what it takes and the capability to do it?” It is bad enough that you are trying to influence people to be safe by verbal persuasion, but not offering some sort of a solution wouldn’t surely help much at all. In milder terms, we can’t expect much result from doing that. We need to offer some sort of solution, breaking it down to what people can do.

So is it worth it? Yes, of course! It’s worth it to be safe. Everyone knows this. Secondly, do you have what it takes? Do you have the capability to be safe? This is the tricky part. Everybody is capable to be safe, given the right environment, tools and so on. But is everybody capable to stop the work? To stop the work of other groups? To remind the supervisor that it is not safe to allow someone to swing from a boat to a platform at 2 o’clock in the morning in order to restore production when the person had just worked more than 16 hours a day?

The answer is no. Not everybody is willing to stick their neck out on the chopping board or get burnt on the backside. The last time I heard, we were still under pressure for many KPIs to meet. My point is… we need to be able to empower everyone and guarantee each and every person that there will be no consequences whatsoever from stopping unsafe work. There is nothing so important that we jeopardize safety to accomplish it.

Safety on the road
The second part is about the craziness on the road here in Malaysia… look, it will take a while if we want to bring it up to the politicians and passes strict law on road rules. Fine, we need stricter rules, but we also need enforcement. But what I want all of you to change today is this – give way.

I’ve driven in the US, Australia, and of course Malaysia. On top of the law that people abide by, the road users also give way to others. So you as the better drivers on the road – please give way to others. Plenty of accidents were due to the drivers being arrogant and so protective of their right of way. “Hey, this is my right of way!!!” “Stop cutting into my lane, dumb-ass!” Let, me ask you – why do we speed in congestion? Because we don’t want people to cut into our lane? (Everybody laughed at this moment, recognizing and acknowledging the truth to it). So we should give way to others. This is something that you can do individually, to ease off the situation. Offer that to everyone around.

What do you think? What are you doing today to be safer?