The New Year's Resolution We Should All Make

Many people make a New Year’s Resolution, but that’s the easy part.  Actually accomplishing the resolution is another matter. 

We usually want to lose weight, get a better job, manage our debt, or exercise more.  These are commonly made, but rarely accomplished.  How about making a 2015 resolution that would benefit not only yourself, but all of your coworkers?  That might be easier to keep, especially if everyone on the job works together to accomplish it.  Workplace safety is a topic that affects everyone, no matter your industry or job title.  How about we all resolve to reduce the number of workplace injuries this year? So how do we accomplish this resolution?  First, make sure your resolution can fit into the SMART goal model.  The odds of reaching a goal are better if it is defined by this acronym:

S - Specific

M- Measurable

A - Agreed upon

R - Realistic

T - Timely

Simply saying we are going to be safer at work just doesn’t meet the criteria.  This statement is too vague and can’t be measured or time-framed.  It would be difficult to see progress, hard to get people to contribute, and isn’t specific enough to provide behavioral guidance.   So how do we turn the desire to be safer into a SMART goal?  Here’s one example of how it might work:

Reduce recordable injuries in the Shipping Department by 10% by the end of 2015. 

Assuming we have the agreement of all interested parties, we now have a goal that does fit the model.  It is specific, realistic, and can be measured within a time frame.  But just like that resolution to lose weight, we can’t just sit back and hope it happens.  Once the goal (our New Year’s Resolution) has been set, we now have to conduct specific activities intended to help us reach the goal.  Here are a few activities that might help:

  • Conduct a job hazard analysis (JHA) to determine what the hazards are and control measures. 
  • Conduct regular site inspections to improve housekeeping and identify hazards.
  • Develop specific safety related responsibilities for each position.
  • Delegate weekly safety talks to supervisors.
  • Incorporate safety related criteria into individual performance evaluations.

Setting a New Year’s Resolution to improve workplace safety is a great way to kick off 2015.  The benefits are significant, both financially and personally.  After all, no one wants to be hurt, and no one wants to see a coworker injured.  But remember, it will take a SMART goal and a good amount of work to make it happen.  Doing the same thing year after year and hoping for a different outcome just doesn’t work very well.  To find out more about how to improve your safety culture check out the resources within the MEMIC Safety Director