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EHS OutLoud Blog

Going with Your Gut

decision.jpgWhile contemplating a recent decision in my personal life, I made a big mistake: I didn't follow my gut.

My decision involved a large purchase that would consume quite a lot of time and money. I had two choices. From the beginning, Choice A just felt right. I had already mentally settled on it when Choice B came up -- a seductive option with some flashy benefits, but also some major problems. Even as I tried to talk myself into Choice B, my intuition was sending me clear warning signals: Uh oh. And yet, because I can be stubborn and am not afraid of a challenge, I went for Choice B -- which turned out to be the wrong decision and left me regretting not trusting my initial gut reaction.

Fortunately, my wrong turn only cost me some time and a little bit of money, and I was able to return to Choice A -- what a relief. But this experience made me think about what happens when we ignore our gut instincts in more serious situations, the ones that add up to more than just money. Like workplace safety.

Almost every year, I come across an America's Safest Companies application that in some way addresses "going with your gut." If workers at these companies feel for any reason their work could put them in harm's way, they're authorized to stop the process immediately. Supervisors and company leadership also use our America's Safest Companies application to address "doing the right thing" in their safety programs. In short, they put their workers' safety and well-being first.

We could all do better, both in our personal and professional lives, if we followed our instincts more often. If we listened to those warning bells that tell us something is off, and if we have the confidence and courage to do what's right.

So I urge you to trust your gut, whether you're at work or off the clock. And if you feel your company deserves the honor of being named America's Safest -- by demonstrating strong management support for safety, employee involvement, low injury/illness rates, solid communication about the value of safety and comprehensive safety training/education programs -- please submit an application by July 15.

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