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A “Safety Atmosphere” may be best described as the collective work attitude (shared by all on a project) which promotes and cultivates safety through intent, thought and deed.

It is not a myth.


A successful “Safety Atmosphere” can yield generous results of voluntary compliance and, overall, more congenial attitudes.

It may be attained simply by the tenacity of one solitary individual. The safety ’leader’ must resource the support of the safety staff as well as the supervisory staff. All they need to do is their job…follow the safety rules and practices completely, whole-heartedly and willingly. When the rest of the employees experience their leaders following the procedures and correcting others to the set standards they will copy that attitude for themselves, almost to the man. The result is an entire company practicing and promoting safety basics and doing it pleasantly.


Sounds simple, doesn't it. It really is. All you need to do is touch the attitude of the masses—it’s a relatively a simple thing to do. You can affect the attitude of all that are exposed to you by being a leader. Yes, by leading. YOU said it must be done this way. Then YOU must do it that way, every time, all the time. Exactly as it should be done. No exceptions. After all, what you preach at meetings and in person every day, to everyone you interact with, is the same stuff everyone has already agreed to do in order to be allowed to work. Everyone knows we need to do these things and compliance is always in everyone’s best interest.


This is also how you must sell the attitude to the Project manager and to the Supervisors and to the Foremen and to the Leads as well. The logic that compliance is inevitable, enforced by your testimony of unwavering support, is the only real attitude winner. Conversely, any non-compliance by you, the ‘safety guru’, will likely kill any possibility of success. Also, the Safety position you hold gives you an upper hand almost all the time. Dislike it as much as most do, the safety person is almost universally recognized as the person to kiss up to. They know they have to listen to you… so you use that microsecond of advantage to further your ends and cajole them into a safety habit-friendly attitude.


PPE use… Tool use... Driving standards… Everyone has agreed to utilize these programs and standards or they aren’t allowed in the gate, remember? So they are already motivated and when you do it ALL THE TIME you are providing the supreme example for everyone to see and recognize. Even if they don’t realize the respect they are fostering for your compliance – you and the entire management team doing as you say and ask of them -- the respect is building. That respect is the tool that tears down their wall of resistance to compliance and they are already becoming fosterers of the “Safety Atmosphere” we each want on our jobsite.


So, now you are affecting everyone on your job. Everyone. That includes the supervisory personnel too. Always direct individuals (or groups of select individuals) in a positive manner, offering safety suggestions for support in the quest for compliance with the established safety standards. The supervisory staff must comply as well, and they know it. And since they must do as you say and do, they have to make the effort to be as righteous as you are in promoting safety by their actions – they must really lead by example. Since you are already setting the example their task is not too difficult. They just need to get in line and follow.


When you are totally compliant and the supervisors are totally compliant, the hands will be too. They can’t help but to be, as everyone else on the job is working properly. The hands will give reminders and support to all their co-workers because everyone else is doing it.


This “Safety Atmosphere” can be felt in an entire project, touching all that are exposed to it.

It isn’t magic and it won’t happen in one day but it can and will happen in a short period of time where the proper attitude and a sterling example has been established. Be that example and promote the safety staff and the supervisory staff to do the same.

Things are good. Safety is in the air and it’s contagious, so go and infect everyone.


Robin Ryherd

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Email here


Want to develop your Safety Atmosphere and rack up continuing education credits in the process? Warriors 4 Safety offer complete on-line training programs:

Introduction to Osha & the Osha Act

This course gives a basic overview of OSHA, OSHA act, and OSHA’s role in prevention and elimination of work-related illnesses and injuries. It includes information about employer and employee rights and responsibilities, and a very brief look at the inspection process, reporting and record keeping. This course will prove beneficial for those who are directly or indirectly involved with OSHA and OSH Act.



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