New Year New Me

worker with hardhat, excavator in background

As another year passes and we move into the new year with hopes and goals of being a better version of ourselves than the previous year, we set goals to be more organized, help our coworkers more, or to commit to focusing on safety more each day. Regardless of good intentions and the initial motivation, many people fail to achieve these goals. Throughout the year, focuses change and sometimes you get stuck in the same routines as the previous year. So, how do you avoid having your goals of working safely become another failed attempt at change?

Think about why you want to focus more on safety at work. What’s in it for you or your coworkers? Are you a leader and want to provide a safer work environment for your employees? Or, are you an employee who wants to focus more on safety for advancement? Are you a company owner who wants to build a safety culture that is the industry standard?

Think about what is important to you and why you want improvement and remind yourself from time to time. It’s easy to forget why we’re making a safe choice in the heat of the moment, especially when the pressure is on. Sometimes making safety personal can give you a reason to remember. Carrying a photo of your family or loved one could be a daily reminder to keep safety on your mind.

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Talk to your peers, employees, and coworkers about your goal to working safely and recruit their buy-in and support. Communicating your goals increase the chances of you sticking to them. Creating an environment where your peers encourage you and understand why you’re doing things differently will not only help you stay focused, but may also positively influence their decisions, which is a win-win in the long run.

Take a different approach than the previous year while still incorporating what worked. Sometimes the reason we fail is because of the way we think. Self-doubt and negative thinking habits quickly undo our good work. Take for example the thought “I don’t know why I bother wearing all my required PPE, no one else is doing it”. It may be true, but safety is about doing the right think even when no one is looking. Setting the example and being the standard on all matters of safety should be the norm.

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If you don’t already have one, come up with a safety routine for your day. The brain likes to work on auto pilot and if you can make safety routine or automatic you have the advantage. Some helpful behaviors could be checking your PPE after every break. You could ask your team for feedback on risk assessment.

Having a daily safety briefing before work and routine toolbox talks is one way to keep safety fresh in everyone’s eyes and thought processes.

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Sticking to a resolution or goal isn’t easy, but its realistically attainable. With good planning and a positive mindset to drive your behavior change, you can achieve your goals.

Mike Flowers is Director of Safety, Training and Education for National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA). Tags: ,

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