Safety Change Management Motivational Speaker Mike Hourigan

Change Management Speaker

Safety Change Management Speaker

Change Management Speaker is critical when it comes to safety. As I deliver keynote speeches and lead breakout sessions to organizations on navigating safety change, I know the challenges but ultimately the benefits that change can bring.

As opposed to many issues that affect companies, as a former production worker myself, I know what happens if safety regulations are ignored. Disregarding safety directly affects lives. Change management might be a “nice concept” to marketing or finance, but on the factory floor, warehouse, highway or laboratory, ignoring safety can bring catastrophe. Managing safety change is critical.

Why are companies resistant to safety change?

There is no “happy news” when it comes to workplace injury statistics. In 2017, nearly 900,000 workers filed Workers Compensation claims.

In 2018 the top 10 reasons for injuries were released. They included falls, failure to communicate hazards, scaffolding failure, respiratory problems/improper equipment, ladder injuries, dangerous use of forklifts, improper face and eye protection and carelessness on power machinery. The vast majority of reasons cited for deaths and injuries by OSHA were avoidable with proper training and education. 

However, many companies become careless and don’t train their employees, or train them unequally. 

Small Business Chronicles (March, 2019) pointed out that “untrained workers are more susceptible to injuries. This happens when workers lack the knowledge and skills required to use equipment and supplies safely. It isn’t enough to have established procedures and protocols…employees must receive training on the appropriate procedures and how and when to use them.” 

Why aren’t workers getting safety updates and changing their safety attitudes? It could be that rather than change, some corporations consider safety training as something to plod through.

Be a mentor, not a jerk

EHS magazine, July 2017, ran an excellent piece entitled, “Safety and Performance Excellence: Dictating Change.”  It stated something I have supported ever since I was a young worker.  Rather than mentoring and managing their workers through safety change, organizations push it through like a dictator.  The article said, “Leaders persist in thinking they can accomplish change simply by commanding it to be so. Like generals giving orders…, they assume their entire organization clearly will understand what they want and know how to accomplish it and will do so unquestioningly.”

If safety changes are to occur, there needs to be a plan in place and a reason for safety, not just reactions to new regulations.

Forcing change without understanding and addressing the existing influences seldom results in sustainable transformation. People do things for a reason. If you don’t change the reason, it will influence people to return to their former practices.

Therefore, dictating rather than mentoring change will accomplish very little. We all know that it takes a sustained effort to change an unsafe practice. Change can happen if the manager keeps stressing, not dictating the benefits of safety.

The article also talks about culture. Does your organization have a safety culture? If the safety culture is “OK” for some, but not for everyone, it is hard to lead by example. 

“Dictates from leaders or managers almost always are considered forced changes and the source of the force typically is considered to be outside the culture. Simply trying to push change from outside the culture is doomed…”  

Therefore, safety change management is everyone’s responsibility — from the newest employee to the CEO. As the article stated, management must motivate “the difference between grudging compliance and willing cooperation.” 

Safety change management is a long process, not a casual exercise. It cannot be forced and it cannot be selective. It is an ongoing commitment that will ultimately save lives.


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Mike Hourigan, Safety Change Management Motivational Speaker

For more information on Mike Hourigan’s important, insightful and funny Safety Change Management keynotes and breakout session training, call him today at: (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.

Safety Speaker Mike Hourigan

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    Mike does much more than present one-of-a-kind keynote speeches - he provides fun and fact filled breakout sessions as well as dynamic training programs for numerous organizations like Marriott, Disney, Harley-Davidson and even the U.S. Army.