What Does It Take to Be a Safety-First Company?

by / Tuesday, July 03, 2018 / Published in Safety

This article wraps up our special 3-part series on Workplace Safety. Part I dealt with the introduction of basic safety measures during the industrial revolution. Part II focused on the additional improvements that came about due to legislative action and the costs associated with catastrophic incidents. In this article, I describe the fundamental aspects of a Safety-First company.

A Safety Culture Must Be Nurtured

I’ve delivered over 5,000 speeches in my career. Many have been focused on Workplace Safety, with audiences representing Oil & Gas, manufacturing, communications, transportation, construction, engineering and more (click here to read testimonials). Some of these companies have been truly excellent at promoting Safety for decades. Others have had to learn about the importance of job site Safety practices because of accidents or near-misses. Though these companies are on different parts of the safety journey, they are all critical to developing better safety practices across industries.

Because I work with event coordinators at Client sites long before my speaking engagement, I get to learn a lot about their organizations. This gives me the opportunity to tailor my presentations to where they are and what they need most from me.

One lesson that has stood out for me over and over is that Safety is like education. Education is never “done”. Just as life-long learning should be important for everyone, a Safety Culture can only be realized through constant learning and practice. It’s not a matter of “buy-in,” but of inter-personal communication and accountability.

Is Safety just as important as Profit in your Company?

We’re long past the days of businesses operating under the idea of “anything for a buck.” Up until a hundred years ago, employees were “expendable” in many industries. Since then, that has changed dramatically. Corporations can no longer harm workers, damage communities or pollute the environment. Nor can they cheat customers or collude to manipulate markets. In the last year, we’ve seen that even the idea of Customer Privacy should be protected by law so that companies can’t obtain or use our data in ways we haven’t authorized.

So when it comes to business operations, Safety rightfully belongs among the cornerstones of a modern corporation. After all, a Safety-First mentality addresses possible health and occupational hazards, prevents catastrophic incidents, and minimizes disruptions.

That makes Safety instrumental in:

  • Profitability
  • Business Continuity
  • Employee Retention and Recruiting
  • Skill Retention and Development
  • Productivity and Uptime
  • Reputation Management
  • Contract Opportunities
  • Community Goodwill

Can you think of any excuses for not developing a top-tier Safety mindset at your company, whether you have 5 employees or hundreds of thousands?

It’s Time to Instill a Safety-First Attitude

One of the fundamental truths I strongly believe in is that there is ALWAYS room for improvement. Think of legendary athletes like Michael Phelps, Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus (I could go on forever). These and other extraordinary athletes never stopped pursuing excellence. They forged their remarkable skillset through constant practice and competition. They knew that others were always just a lucky shot away from taking the win, so they prepared every aspect of the game that was theirs to control.

A company should also be aware that catastrophe is always creeping around the corner. They must prepare workers through skill-building and practice. Safety strategies aren’t hard to comprehend, and their value is not difficult to perceive. However, all employees need to “run the drills”. That is, “Safety Procedures” shouldn’t just be the title of a chapter in the handbook. It must be a part of every team’s daily operating instructions.

As a Workplace Safety speaker, I am in a unique position to inspire audiences to action. After all, I was nearly killed in a workplace explosion that killed many of my co-workers. I barely survived, and had to learn to cope with living paralyzed from the chest down, with no core balance. I live each day with constant pain. However, I found reason to live and new purpose when I became active in wheelchair sports, where I became a world champion and Paralympian. Success inspired me to give back, as a motivational keynote speaker and safety speaker. I don’t want anyone else to have to live through the ordeal that I survived. Nor do I want you to have to experience my level of disability just to overcome this type of adversity and thrive in your pursuits. I was lucky. You shouldn’t count on luck, but on preparation and prevention.

If you’re interested in having Kevin speak at an upcoming event, please call us at: (713) 686-0077, or tell us about your event.

Keep Going for the GOLD! Never Give Up!
Kevin Saunders, motivational speaker
Kevin Saunders


Kevin Saunders is a World Champion Paralympian, motivational speaker, athlete (with multiple gold medals) and author. Kevin Saunders was the first person with a disability appointed to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness Sports (only 20 people are selected for this nationwide) by the President of the United States. Kevin Saunders was first chosen to be appointed to the prestigious Council by President George H.W. Bush and was the only person reappointed by to this Council by President Bill Clinton and he was reappointed again by President George W. Bush as a constituent expert to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports. Learn more about Kevin’s story and accomplishments.


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