Rules Only Protect People If Everyone Follows Them
By Phil La Duke – read it all here.
Thou shalt not kill. People have been using rules to protect people since man left the primordial forest and walked up right for the first time. For people some rules are sacred—they are worshipped for their own sake. For others, rules were meant to be broken. Irrespective of your view of rules, they form the foundation of society of all levels. But when we rely on rules to keep workers safe we delude ourselves into thinking that rules alone can protect workers (or anyone else, for that matter) we imperil workers, customers, vendors, and ourselves.
People don’t follow the rules. I’ve written and spoken extensively on why we don’t follow the rules (http://www.fabricatingandmetalworking.com/2011/05/why-we-violate-the-rules/) so I won’t prattle on about the whys here. The fact that people don’t follow the rules really isn’t the problem. The real problem lies in safety professionals and Operations officials expecting people to follow really burdensome and in, many cases, stupid rules when they know that they won’t. For rules to be effective there must be a reasonable expectation of compliance. In other words, if you know in your heart of hearts that nobody in their right mind will do what is prescribed, then irrespective of you employee handbook, it really isn’t a rule.