It sounds magical, almost Hollywood-like: to have the power to change the outcome of an event simply through the conviction of influence and willpower. Imagine arriving at an incident scene and possessing the keen ability to play it backwards. Imagine moving the person a quarter inch to the right or that rotating blade a half inch to the left or flashing that fated employee a blinking, fluorescent sign that says: “Stop and think or you will never see your family again!”
Now imagine playing this scene again with the corrective measures in place and watching the alternative scenario develop before your eyes: the one where no one is injured, and the one where the process, by design, systematically accomplishes the mission without risking life, property or the environment. In reality, you shouldn’t have to imagine this because you do this professionally every day.
While the hands of time are unrelenting and absolute in moving forward, they are not particular in the path they undertake to get there. We EHS professionals are the magicians of eventuality. We foresee what will happen to whom, what, when and where. We instill roadblocks down the paths that we know could lead to an undesirable event. We are soldiers fighting the war on rationalization and we are the keepers of the foresight to do so.
So why can’t we change the course of time every time and prevent every injury, every environmental event and every property disaster? Likely, the answer is because most of us are not masters of implanting the sense of inevitability within the organization.
Instilling the Sense of Inevitability
What is the sense of inevitability? It is the EHS professional’s sixth sense. You know you possess it when your predicted outcomes are transformed into recorded history. The sixth sense is not organizationally inherited, but it can be deeply embedded within the DNA of an organization by skillful practitioners.
Working toward helping your organization eliminate rationalization as a decision maker (by replacing that approach with the foresight of eventuality) will instill a culture focused on molding the inevitability of predictable, productive, efficient, protective and safe processes. Sometimes all it takes is moving organizational thoughts a quarter inch here or a half inch there to dramatically influence the outcome of its decisions for the better.
So how do you instill the sense of inevitability into your organization, you ask? Perhaps the answer can be found within another one: How do you not?
The EHS Professional’s Sixth Sense