Previous: Instead of Safety First We Should Be Saying ...
“Hey Jon, what’s the matter with talking about safety?” Good question. It’s not enough, that’s what. We need to move this discussion and our language forward. We need to discuss safety culture instead—each and every time. Instead of a safety committee, it’s a safety culture committee. Our safety efforts become our safety culture efforts. And safety training is now safety culture training. Language matters, and repetition leads to referential validity (the more it’s said, the more real it becomes).
It works. I did this at a previous position. Granted, my role facilitated it, but it was my choice to turn every phrase into an opportunity to say, “safety culture.” At first, it seemed a bit unnatural, even forced – and I suppose it was. But after a while, it was perfectly natural – for me and others. It rolled right off my tongue, and I noticed that others were using it, too.
And why not? If we want to advance to a way (a zen?) of safety culture, we need to use every opportunity to discuss it – to make it real for people. As much as safety culture represents group norms and behaviors, it won’t just happen independently. It takes purposeful effort on our part. Or parts – all of our parts. We all have to be in the game, helping to make it happen.
Do your part. Instead of just safety, try using safety culture. See what happens.
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