News & Information Blog

Do You Have a Safety Silo?

By Susen Trail | 06/12/2019

Do you have a Safety Silo?

When safety is seen as something separate from the company, as the job of the guys on the Safety Committee and/or the Safety Manager, then you have a Safety Silo.  Here are some diagnostics:

  1. If employees refuse to follow a safety practice because “I don’t get paid to ____. I get paid to make widgets.” 
    • You might have a Safety Silo
  2. If your employees report an unsafe condition, you fix it but don’t tell them. Then, they report the same unsafe condition to OSHA resulting in a full inspection of your facility
    • You do have a Safety Silo
  3. You look back over 10 years of Safety Committee Monthly Meeting Minutes and see "Develop a Lock Out Tag Out Program" on every agenda because you could never get someone who should be currently using a Program on the Committee
    • You might have a Safety Silo
  4. The reason there are no Unsafe Condition reports submitted is that no one knew they could do that
    • You do have a Safety Silo
  5. Looking back over the same 10 years of Minutes you notice that the membership only changes when someone dies or leaves the company
    • You might have a Safety Silo
  6. If you are the Safety Manager and you are working really hard but no one seems to know what you do
    • You have a Safety Silo


Answer key:

  1. The employee’s refusal to participate or comply Indicates that there are no positive or negative consequences and no sense of personal responsibility for workplace safety.
  2. This is a two part causation
    • The employee had no reason to expect their complaint had been heard.
    • Caused by the Safety Manager not getting back to the employee that the unsafe condition had been abated in the past and in this case....lack of necessary transparency.
  3. When even really good ideas can’t get out of the committee room it creates a feeling of apathy resulting in lack of productivity.
  4. Either previously productive lines of communication between the Safety Manager and the rest of the company have broken down or they never existed. When this happens only the people in the Safety Silo know what’s going on and are doing all the work.
  5. Stop serving coffee and donuts, etc. and take away the chairs at the meeting. Each member gives a 5 minute update on their project status.  Those that have completed their project pick up a folder for a new project before leaving the meeting.  After four projects are completed a celebration is held separately from the Safety Committee meeting.
    • Better yet, drop the folders and work from the shared information available with Simple Safety Coach!
  6. See Answer 4.

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