In the July 2018 issue of Safety+Health, the Official Magazine of the NSC Congress & Expo, Phil McIntyre, Managing Director for Performance Solutions, was featured in the Workplace Solutions column. Experts from the safety equipment manufacturers and service providers answer “from the field” questions. In this Q&A article, we discuss leveraging safety and health operations. Below is an excerpt from the article.
Q: How do we build a culture of problem-solving with our safety and health processes and tools?
A: “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” – Archimedes
Archimedes of Syracuse was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor and astronomer. In this oft-repeated quote, he was talking about the concept of leverage, which essentially means that through the proper use of tools, you can do significantly more than you could using brute force.
Many words are tossed around when the topic of safety and health is explored. Among them: ownership, engagement, accountability and behaviors. Rarely do you see the word “leverage” used in the same context as Archimedes’ quote when mentioned in a discussion of operational safety and health. Leverage, in this case, is implementing the people, processes and methods that effectively create the culture of continuous problem-solving in your safety and health operations.
Leverage is an important concept in physics and the baseline for a multitude of engineering principles, but in operational safety and health it likely can mean the difference between long-term success or exhaustion and failure.