How Leadership Affects Proactive And Reactive Safety

Successful Leaders are “Proactive”

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Don’t Just React to Safety

It’s sad but true – some companies have adopted an approach to safety and health that emphasizes a reactive strategy. A reactive approach assumes that accidents just happen, and there’s not much that can be done about it. Consequently, the company places most of its effort into reacting to accidents after they occur. A reactive response occurs after an injury or illness and usually has the purpose of minimizing the costs associated accidents.

Reactive safety programs always cost much more than proactive programs: Always. Why? Because they aren’t implemented until an injury or illness has occurred. When management emphasizes a reactive approach to safety and health, it sends some negative messages to employees:

  • we don’t care about you, and
  • it’s all about money, not your safety.

Be Business Smart… Be Proactive

Successful companies adopt a proactive strategy that emphasizes the prevention of accidents. They will do whatever it takes to make sure accidents never happen in the workplace. They believe there are no excuses for an accident. A proactive response to safety and health in the workplace occurs before an accident has occurred. It anticipates and tries to prevent accidents.

By emphasizing accident prevention, management sends positive messages to employees:

  • we care about you, and
  • your safety is more important than profits.

Proactive safety strategies are always less expensive than reactive strategies because the company makes investments that result in potentially huge returns. Remember, proactive programs are implemented to prevent future injuries and illnesses.


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