See Something, Say Something By Gregory Martin, CSSS/CSST

Published: June 1, 2021

We know what the title means – if you see something unsafe happening, report it to a leader – but are we actually doing it? Jobsites are fast-paced environments where workers are continuously on the go to get their work done. For most companies, Safe Production is the #1 goal and the top priority. If the concept of “See Something, Say Something” so important on the job, then why are there often problems when putting it into practice?

Reasons why employees may not report unsafe acts:
  1. Fear of punishment from the Supervisor.
  2. Fear of being looked down on or having conflicts with employees.
  3. Being labeled a “Snitch” or “Distrusted” employee.
  4. Fear of stopping production of the project.
  5. Fear of job loss.
  6. The mindset that the person performing the unsafe act must make mistakes and learn from them.
  7. The employee is the Apprentice/Rookie on the job & feels that what they say doesn’t matter.

As organizations, it is important to understand how to avoid these pitfalls and create a culture where reporting unsafe acts is encouraged and where corrections are learning opportunities, not punishments. Some ways for leadership to enforce the desired behaviors include:

  1. Taking action when an employee brings you a concern. Make them feel heard and appreciated.
  2. Using positive reinforcement for reporting – A simple “kudos” goes a long way.
  3. Encouraging regular discussions about safety reporting and lessons learned.
  4. Creating an avenue where employees can report – include a way to report anonymously.

The main goal is to make sure we never harm ourselves or others in the workplace. Taking a stand against unsafe work activities and knowing that your decision is supported will bring more confidence and peace of mind for doing something right. If you are unsure or don’t understand something, stop work and seek help from a co-worker and/or Supervisor.

Always remember if you “See Something, Say Something”.