As you consider the title of this blog, you might be thinking, “what does safety have to do with minimalism.” Or maybe, you are thinking; “ok you got my attention, explain more.” Hopefully, I have you thinking and intrigued about this.
When you think of minimalism, most people, think it’s all about getting rid of stuff. You know: material things, owning less, living in a smaller place, detaching, decluttering, paring down and simply just letting go. However, I think there is much more to minimalism than just simply getting rid of stuff or downsizing.
Minimalists don’t focus on having less. Instead, they focus on making room for more time, more passion, more creativity, more experiences, more contribution resulting in contentment. Minimalism gives a person(s) more freedom. It allows them to focus on what matters, what is essential and where their passion lies!
My wife and I are currently in the process of minimizing our life. From moving from a 4 bedroom home to a 1-bedroom condo, we are looking at ways to make life easier. As we move through this process, I began thinking about how I could apply the minimalist principle to my work. Then it hit me!
How can we take this concept and apply it to the safety profession and ultimately the cultures we create.
Many safety professionals pride themselves in creating extensive safety programs. We believe our performance is based on how many procedures we produce and how many pages each procedure contains. We want the process to be so complicated, that only a safety professional can interpret what is required and can poorly communicate how to maintain compliance.
That was me. I wanted to create pages and pages of information and processes to impress. I wanted the “safety” manual to be the “manual of all manuals.” For years I created policies and procedures that contained so much information, I didn’t know all the information I wrote. I just thought if it had at least 30 pages, then I covered everything needed to ensure compliance and the safety of employees. But then, I realized people weren’t reading the procedures.
In my description, “They were word massive!”
People just did what they thought was right or simply did what they wanted and never referred to the policy or procedure.
I started thinking: I hate to read. I hate to refer to documents. I am busy and don’t have time to look things up. Why would that not be the same for others?
The safety profession is embarking on a new age. With that, I think it is time to consider a minimalist approach to safety. Creating a culture where safety is easily and plainly stated, and employees are excited to embrace a clean, relaxed culture.
This blog is intended to provide the safety professional or others with ideas, thoughts, and processes to develop a minimalist safety program. It is designed to create a culture where people actively embrace the methods and are open to practical new ideas.