July 12, 2017 | by Steve Lawrence

Safety Is in Changing Attitudes

Going home safe each night is not about “how to”.

Fred Rine, the keynote speaker at this year’s MSCI Safety Conference at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, says he is not going to tell you “how” to be safe at work. “Workplaces are in better physical shape than they’ve ever been,” he says, “workers are better trained, but unfortunately they are still getting hurt on the job.”

The founder and CEO of FDRSafety in Franklin, Tenn., Rine insists we have to be a lot more interested in why workers make bad choices, why they endanger themselves and their colleagues, and what motivates them to take the risks that can be fatal. More than 500,000 workers have received his company’s Attitude-Based Safety Culture Training at companies big and small across the country.

“We are risk takers by nature from day one,” he says. “You probably touched that hot stove, even though your mom told you not to. Do you speed when you drive? Of course you do, and you know it when you are doing it. You made a choice to take that risk,” he says. “You probably thought you were saving time. But when you actually do the calculation you realize it really wasn’t worth it.”

Same thing with wearing safety gear. “Yes some of it can be uncomfortable, so you just skip it,” he says. “People just make bad decisions. But we want to help them stop and realize why, and understand why it is just not worth it.

“We want them to be safe at work, not because they have to, but because they want to, because they want to go home to their families each and every night,” he says. “And that is based on a change in attitude, way beyond just knowing the safety rules. Changing attitudes is how you develop a truly effective safety culture in your workplace.”

At the same time, FDRSafety also helps companies with OSHA compliance problems and with meeting federal safety standards. “But you know true safety professionals don’t really worry about the minimal standards that OSHA sets,” he says. “If they have an effective program, that will reach way beyond federal minimum compliance.”

Rine does, however, see OSHA under the Trump administration as becoming more employer friendly. “For the last eight years the agency was much more pro-employee and seemed to think that every CEO ought to be in jail. That will certainly be changing to a more cooperative stance now.”

Learn more about MSCI’s Safety Conference.