Cross Fertilization of Safety Cultures

Health and Safety Managers and Inspectors can learn a lot from Fire Fighters, Police Officers and Military Personnel.  Professions that work in high risk environments have one thing in common and that is a high regard for personal safety.  It may be that in some professions risking life and risking limb does not have the same psychological impact. Whereas fire, police and military personnel equate limbs with life.  A loss of a limb or injuries in public safety is a loss of life in many dimensions.  Public Safety personnel feel diminished if they can’t do what they love doing. Most people in other professions regard their environments as relatively safe and their vigilance toward safety is reduced.  You can see that most prominently when the fire alarm goes off and people fail to evacuate.

The focus of health and safety experts needs to shift to understanding what motivates people.  Sure you need to know what actions took place before and after the emergency began but understanding why do people do what they do may get at the heart of the problem more than actions?  Why do they take chances or cut corners that can result in injury or death?  Talking to highly threatened people can give one insight into that which is missing from the everyday worker.  Why have construction workers who die at a very high rate not improved their margins of safety overtime.  Why have oil and gas workers who have very high exposures to serious risks not improved their margins of safety? Is it because these types of workers do not see that the types of accidents that occur around them do not readily appear to expose their person to life altering experiences.  Is it because public safety and military personnel see so much death and destruction that these experiences have become mind and habit altering experiences?

Health and Safety Personnel should spend time interviewing people outside of their area of expertise to improve their understanding of how to better their organization’s safety culture.

If you need preparedness training or would like to have a preparedness discussion for your employees checkout my website and contact me via email at



About managingemergencies

I am a professional consultant with 30 years of experience in managing emergencies. My background and skills gave me the foundation to start Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants. If you need preparedness training or would like to have a preparedness discussion for your employees contact me via email at I held various positions in the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department until I retired in 2007. As a emergency planner and trainer in the Prince George's County Office of Homeland Security I planned exercises and training for government agencies and citizens groups. I was appointed Fire Chief of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department in 2009. I started Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants in June of that year. I had the opportunity to become the Assistant Fire Chief - Operations of the District of Columbia Fire/EMS Department and served for a year as the Interim Fire Chief. I am a trained mediator, mediator team leader and trainer. I also served as the Fire/EMS Department Equal Employment Opportunity Officer.
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One Response to Cross Fertilization of Safety Cultures

  1. Kathrin says:

    Remember to brush your phone any few weeks or alternatively more if was
    in need of. Stress builds quickly and you would likely accept stress as “normal” –
    it’s not.

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