Targeting Zero: Eight Questions to Ask Before Using Zero as a Safety Target
- Michael Burnham (Riggs Distler & Co.)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- April 2015
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 40 - 45
- 2015. American Society of Safety Engineers
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 110 since 2007
- Show more detail
- Although zero-injury safety targets are more common than ever, their underlying logic may be suspect in places.
- Achieving zero-injury targets requires the will to support perfection and the ability to recognize and change every factor that could lead to an injury. Organizational conflicts and inefficiencies, and the realities of human cognition limit the capacity to identify latent hazards, so each must be overcome if perfection is to be realized.
- This article examines several real-world issues that make achieving perfect safety problematic, and also offers alternate goals that may prove better at advancing a safety culture and its corresponding performance.
Great golfers do not set a target of making 18 eagles per round. Great hitters do not set a goal of batting 1.000 over a full baseball season. As terrific as it would be to shoot 36 or go 550-for- 550, standards of absolute perfection are not part of the professional sports landscape.
Yet, when it comes to safety and business, absolute perfection targets are common. Leaders follow logic that says if the company considers safety a priority it must be unwilling to accept even one injury and, therefore, it must set a target of zero. They believe that all injuries are preventable. They reason that if an organization can record one day without an injury, it can record 365 days without an injury. These leaders believe that employee effort and commitment may be the key obstacles to overcome when pursuing a perfect safety record.Zero-injury safety targets are easy to communicate and seem to be everywhere. However, such targets can be counterproductive to a company’s safety efforts if the context in which they are used is not thoroughly examined. Therefore, before setting zero as a safety target, a company should ask eight important questions.
|File Size||838 KB||Number of Pages||6|