Proactive Prevention Safety Culture – Twelve Ways to Reduce Injuries in the Workplace

July 27, 2010


By John Baumann

As a follow-up to my presentation, here are the 12 Tangible Takeaways:

Injuries are a result of well-trained employees making poor decisions. An example that everyone can relate to is the chance of a car accident any particular time you are in your car is extremely low, but when it does happen, wearing a seatbelt can be the difference between life and death. Employees tend to take risks at work when the chance of injury is extremely low. You wear a seatbelt every time you are in a car because it is the smart thing to do. In the real world, I doubt that many, if any at all, injuries have actually been avoided as a result of someone saying, “if I do this safer action instead of that less safe action I will get a safety award, our division will keep a “no lost time injury” streak going, or because a safety slogan is posted in the work area.” How many “injuries” have, in fact, been covered up or not reported to keep an “injury-free” streak alive in a company or division of a company? Safety is a culture – its about making better decisions every time EVEN WHEN NOONE IS LOOKING. You need to create a safety culture of proactive prevention.

1) First step in creating a safety culture of proactive prevention: Knock’em down one at a time – Simple question to ask every time an accident occurs: “What can be done to prevent this, or something similar to this, from happening again?” To get to the real root cause, ask why five times. More training is not a silver bullet. Proper training and real management commitment are a given. “Employee carelessness,” “inattentiveness” and “human error” are overused cop-outs.

2) Investigate every injury as if it were a death.

3) Investigate every “close call” (formerly near miss) as if it were a death.

4) Engineer a corrective action to not allow carelessness to occur.

5) Corrective Action Implementation thought process should exceed decision thought process.

6) Have SAFETY MANAGEMENT STYLE focused on why you are “insisting on seatbelts” (because you care about your people as opposed to going to punitive measures right away).

7) Safety Ownership/Awareness Hierarchy – Limbo: How low do you go?

Corporate Safety Manager (one pair of eyes) –

Top Manager (Another pair of eyes) –

All Managers (X pair of eyes) –

ALL Supervision (X+Y pairs of Eyes) –

All supervision plus safety committee (X+Y+Z pairs of eyes) –

ALL EMPLOYEES (Max coverage – complete ownership)

8) Explain that it is in each employees SELF-INTEREST to reduce injures to all employees:

–      not have to clean up mess

–      lower future premiums

–      equity returned

–      not have to deal with lawyers

–      not have to search files for documents

–      not have to search computer for emails

–      not have to be deposed

–      not be called as a witness

–      not have to find a replacement

–      not have to clean up mess when replacement is injured, etc.

–      not have to train a replacement

–      not have to fill out a report

–      not have to explain what happened to a spouse

–      not have to pay out a settlement

9) Conduct (surprise or planned) mock OSHA inspections (internal or hire contractor).

10) Use the non-enforcement, educational department in OSHA to perform informational inspections (if state has such a program)?

11) Implement a legitimate, not-meant-to-punish return-to-work program.

12) Provide supervisors with regular training on the signs of drug use.

The goal is not to save costs, avoid OSHA citations, etc. The goal is to prevent accidents and injuries from occurring in the first case.

Feedback from Safety Workshop:

  • · Liked the way he took a lot of miscellaneous ideas, perceptions, attitudes about safety to focus and spotlight the real source to develop programs.
    • · Member participation – motivational – clear & concise – belief in what way presented – underlying sense of humor in presentation kept me interested.
    • · Wonderful speaker – made some very good points to ponder
    • · Great – engaging, fun and informational
    • · Excellent – very sincere.
    • · He is a great speaker.
    • · Very good message.  I am not a fan of the small group thing, but it worked.
    • · Very Good Topic and Message was presented very well.
    • · Time flew by, I thought that John did a good job.
    • · Good Information – informative.  John was a good facilitator.
    • · Very good ideas, tips, etcs.
    • · Great Ideas, comments / made you think of others ways to help promote safety
    • · Good interactive, enjoyed the small groups.
    • · Good introduction, very knowledgeable speaker.
    • · Will put to good use.
    • · Good Speaker, Good content and entertaining.
    • · Good, Thought provoking.

Some good ideas to use.


What a wonderful presentation, John! You were wonderful and I am so grateful you shared your story. We were receiving excellent feedback in the chat too:

That was fantastic information, thank you for your candor and humor! Awesome 🤩 talk and info ! Thanks much. It’s hard, thanks for sharing. Thank you for sharing your story and for your positive attitude. It’s important to hear this message. This was just what I needed. Thank you so much. you are an inspiration, thank you!

As we stated, we hit 100 participants at 3:09!

Thank you again,

Eden Feldman, LCSW Associate Director, Community

I do not have the words to thank you enough for making the trip to Dallas to do two presentations for us at CC young. You truly are special and a rockstar and clearly touched many lives today. It is a victory! I was able to run all over campus and welcome guests and host you. It was a victory. Thanks to you for helping me think that way. We will catch you on the next round. Get some rest my friend. Safe travels. And know we love you from CC Young and Dallas!

Patty CC Young and Dallas

“After two years of not being able to hear speakers in person , I was thrilled to have John Bauman as a speaker at our “ Living Well With Parkinson’s’ Gala!. Not only was John engaging and inspiring to get to know off stage , on stage he truly drove home the theme of empowerment to our audience and left our growing community of attendees with several “ aha “ moments and desire to hear more. He spoke from personal experience as a Parkinson’s patient ,inspiring the audiences motivation to truly wish to make a difference and uniting us all in our humanity. Attendees after listening to John , felt inspired to make a difference in the world and do their part to create change for those living with Parkinson’s. My only regret was not being able to spend more time with John and I look forward to having him speak again to our audience.”

Naomi Wong WPP Program Manager

John’s message of hope, inspiration and laughter was ideal for anyone living with PD. He was extremely flexible and a delight to work with.

Leisha Phipps, MSW Program Director - Dallas Area Parkinson Society

We all felt inspired and enjoyed listening to your presentation. Even though we are not living with Parkinson’s, we felt boost of motivation to continue helping those who are living with this disease. I am motivated to make more personal phone calls to people living with PD and asking how they are doing. Sometimes that “extra” bit of kindness truly makes a difference to someone. I am also motivated to research program ideas and partner with other organizations that may have similar values.

I learned that life is unexpected and that you cannot control it. What matters is your attitude!

-Great way to end the day, brave man, thank you very much!

-Good, excellent, great, outstanding speaker, very moving!

-Inspirational who just “gets it”

-Positive thinker and very funny!

-Honest speaker but also humorous!

Parkinson’s Society of Southwest Ontario, Canada, Symposium Keynote Presentation

“whatever hand life deals you, whatever life changing adversity you have to endure, you still have some control over it.” “You don’t have to just to live well,” he advises,” but live an Amazing Life.” The formula he proposes: Faith in yourself, discipline, determination, desire, intensity, and inner strength.


Yes, you touched every person at our conference, who will in turn change and impact so many others. The feedback from our participants was overwhelmingly positive. You are the only speaker to ever receive a standing ovation. Thank you for taking time to share, motivate and inspire. We are blessed to know you.


I will be honest. During the first 10 minutes of your presentation, I started reading work related material on my laptop. For surely, I had watched your You-Tube and seen your videos and knew what to expect. Surely, as a therapist I had studied this disease, the pathological components, the psychological components, the treatment alternatives……..Surely, I understand it.

Not so much. You caught my attention and I was enthralled. You were able to couple the impairments you experience with the emotions felt. You walked us through your life with the disease through “your eyes”. A perspective that a therapist/nurse rarely has the chance to hear. We get so busy telling patients how to deal with x, y and z, but our eyes are blurred by the science of it all most of the time.

You did it through truth, Through your humor, humility and determination to tell your story. One that most deservedly needs to be shared.

I will advocate to have you share your story. I appreciate your determination, diligence and dedication.