Choices, Choices

“The history of men is never really written by chance but by choice.”  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower


That second it takes to make a choice, right or wrong, can be the difference between success and a loss. That choice is yours and your employee’s to make. Whether you like it or not, as a supervisor, once clocked in, the choices they make are your responsibility. 


In the event of an injury, consider what drove the choice(s) that caused the event. What changed to cause the injury? Could it have been production volume, environmental or working conditions, fatigue? Or, just staff becoming more comfortable, perhaps too comfortable, with their job and working conditions? Though these reasons may be uncovered in the accident analysis, they are all normal evolutions of our work climate, which can be anticipated and controlled. How can you influence the choices that caused the event? Here are some questions to assess:

  • What did you do early on in their employment to affect the choices made by your staff?
  • Have you continued repeating the message(s)? Are they still listening?
  • How ingrained is the safety message/culture you want to have?
  • Have you observed the behavior of the staff in the field compared to the expectations?
  • Have you thoroughly discussed and analyzed the targeted losses from your company with your staff?
  • Have you been able to focus the discussion on the choice that caused the event, or the conditions that drove the choice?

Influencing choices and changing behavior starts with developing policies and procedures that address expected job performance while prohibiting behaviors that are not essential for the job, or are excessively hazardous. This is a necessaryand criticalpart of managing work-related risk.  


Take a minute to review what you do to affect the daily choices of your staff. Start with the policies and procedures, then move on to how you communicate the expectations of the job. Can you be more effective at influencing the choices your staff members make once they punch the clock?