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Safety & Health Management Systems eTool
Obstacles to a Successful Safety and Health Program

In the left column below are obstacles to a successful safety and health program which have been identified by supervisors and employees during several OSHA-sponsored workshops. In the right column are ways they recommend to overcome these obstacles.

Supervisor Identified Obstacles

To make a positive change in our organization, I must be willing to help eliminate the following obstacles: Therefore:


Fear of losing my job Trust in the system, do the right things and maintain integrity
No money for needed changes Management must support
Risk in spending money for safety I must trust & must support management
"What's in it for me" attitude I must take personal responsibility
Many people want change but are afraid to take responsibility for it I must stop worrying, trust and risk
No support from upper management Management must support
No time or follow-through from upper management Management must support & provide time & resources
Make it work or "can do attitude" I must take personal responsibility & operate within guidelines
Competing priorities - production is number one Management must balance
Work orders not completed even when signed off Management must provide resources then hold people accountable
Overwhelmed with workload Management must provide resources and balance competing pressures
Turnover too high Trust that it will decrease as culture and work atmosphere improves
Double standards Everyone must play by same rules
Lack of trust - poor ethics within organization I must take personal responsibility, stop worrying, trust and risk
Lack of open communication and listening I must be vulnerable and trusting

Employee Identified Obstacles

To make a positive change in our organization I must be willing to help eliminate the following obstacles: Therefore:


Fear and lack of trust Trust in the system and do the right things and maintain integrity
Supervisor not willing to listen and support Supervisors must support and be open while I must stop worrying, trust and risk
Communication is one way (top-down) Supervisors must risk being vulnerable and open up while I must not wait to take personal responsibility for my actions
Organization is not alignment on safety production is number one at the line level Management must support & provide time & resources
Supervisors not willing to hear problems and receive feedback Supervisors must risk being vulnerable and open up while I must not wait to take personal responsibility for my actions
Intimidation tactics If pressures are balanced and I stop worrying, trust and risk, my supervisor will respond
People not willing to take personal responsibility - too easy to shift blame I must take personal responsibility and operate within guidelines, and must also hold my supervisor and peers accountable
Production is number one Management must support and provide time and resources
Lack of consistency & follow through - past efforts fade away  Management must realize and commit that this is a long term effort. Excellence is a never ending journey. I must always be willing to examine myself, receive feedback, and be willing to improve through change
Them vs. Us attitude - Win-Lose Take responsibility for myself, operate from win-win.
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