Most companies do want to keep their employees safe and it’s great to say “Safety First,” but often when the rubber meets the road, production can easily take precedence. After all, without production, why would we need to worry about safety? Right! So it's easy to see where many companies put their true focus, and that is production... that's where the money is.
No Production -- No Product
No Product -- No Income
No Income -- No Business
Don’t get me wrong -- managers and supervisors are concerned about safety. It’s just that it is hard to balance safety and production. We lose focus because we get so caught up on the production side and start to take shortcuts or forget things, like not performing an inspection prior to startup. This can result in accidents with injuries.
When an accident does occur, it quickly becomes the focus of managers and supervisors -- how did this happen, and why? Now we have to stop production, get the injured person medical care, investigate the accident, and determine the root cause. Many times, the accident occurred because of the failure to make safety first priority.
I recently saw a slogan that gets it right: Production First, Safety Always. We should not just think of safety first; it should be on our minds all the time.