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Are You an Administrator, or an Owner?

Do you matter to safety at your facility?

We’re not asking if you meet your safety responsibilities (which you almost certainly do).

We’re asking if safety is better there, because of you.

At SafePath, we advocate ownership, but many people find it difficult to discern it in application. So, perhaps the best way to define what we mean by ownership is to present its opposite: Administration.

Administration is how you do your job when following procedures set for you. With respect to safety, this might look like making sure an investigation is done, and the report is submitted on time when there’s been an injury. When it gets to you, you review it for completeness, sign and send it on.

This is administration. Understandably, most G.M.’s and Health and Safety professionals work hard at being good at administration.

But in this case, you are not an owner, and you don’t much matter. You’re just one cog in a vast machine. You turn, and in doing so you turn other cogs, but you are not driving the machine. An outside motor is driving the machine and you, while determining the rate and direction of motion. Without you, the machine certainly stops, but that does not make you important. Cogs are interchangeable. If one breaks, you simply remove it and replace it with another one just like it.

Most leaders do own parts of their job. It would be hard to argue that as a business leader you would not drive top-line results or impact the bottom line through personal effort. Most leaders understand they are being paid to drive and positively impact these issues, but many don’t feel that same responsibility for safety. They have a safety department that handles that stuff. They let them do their jobs, while the leader does his or hers. That leader is irrelevant to safety outcomes.

At SafePath, we believe personal safety is as critical to business as the top and bottom lines. In fact, we believe it’s the necessary foundation to achieving excellence in those areas. If you don’t demonstrate that you have the best interest of the people who run your business in mind, it will be difficult for them to have your best interest in mind. And if you don’t demonstrate ownership of all aspects of your job, it will be impossible to expect them to take ownership of theirs.

When the entire company is comprised of owners – when every team member (previously known as “cogs”) are self-driven in concert – that’s when you have the potential for greatness, and the chance as a leader not just to do your job, but to make a difference.

Tony Orlowski

Co-Author of Safety Beyond The Numbers


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