The Seven Steps to Stagnation

The Seven Steps to Stagnation, often cited to prevent change, have been heard time and time again by MEMIC consultants when discussing workplace safety. Take a look at this list and see if you, your coworker, supervisor, or even company owner has used any of them to avoid making safety related improvements. 

Seven Steps to Stagnation

1.  We’ve never done it that way
2.  We’re not ready for that
3.  We’re doing all right without it
4.  We tried that once before
5.  It costs too much
6.  That’s not our responsibility
7.  It just won’t work

Do you recognize any of these?  Change is uncomfortable for many people, even if that change is beneficial.  So even when we are on the path to stagnation, or worse, the path to injury, we avoid taking the necessary actions and making the needed changes to improve the situation. 

We can all benefit from avoiding The Seven Steps, since investments in safety-related improvements pay us back many times over.  The cost of work-related injury is simply too high.  For more information regarding the estimated costs of workplace injuries check out a bulletin from the National Safety Council

Although people are reluctant to change, once they have adopted a new system or used a new piece of equipment for a period of time it becomes much more comfortable.  We should all strive to develop a safety culture that encourages ingenuity and does not tolerate stagnation. 

The next time you hear one of The Seven Steps used to prevent safety-related change, step back and take a critical look at the options available.  Is there a better or safer way to do the job?  Does everyone understand that we actually save money by reducing our injury rate?  In most cases I think you’ll find that not only can stagnation be avoided, but people respond positively when their safety is a priority. 

Lastly, change shouldn’t be made for the sake of change; and, resistance to change, just because it’s different, should not be automatic either.