Just Say No to Safety Slogans

Nov. 2, 2017
The right slogan coupled with engaged leadership can improve a company's safety culture.

A slogan in the marketing world typically is a short, catchy phrase that tries to convey the benefits potential customers can expect when choosing a company’s product or service. Ideally, the slogan helps customers remember a company’s product or service when they have a need to buy.

Because a clever slogan significantly can increase product sales, one might jump to the conclusion that the utilization of safety slogans actually improves safety performance.  However, have we uncovered any credible data that links safety slogans to incident reduction?

Safety slogans are easy to come by, and they make managers feel good. Some companies fall into the trap of thinking that if they come up with a safety slogan and plaster the slogan everywhere, that workers will believe management is concerned about their safety and safety performance will improve.

When many workers are asked to recite their company’s safety slogan from memory, many of them cannot do so. Those who can recite the slogan often have something negative to say about the slogan, the company or both.

If your organization’s leadership team truly wants to communicate their dedication to safety, leadership should lead by example, exhibiting the type of behavior they expect from their workers.

Start every meeting with a short safety briefing. Invest in training so that employees know how to complete their tasks safely. Reward safe behavior and employ the company’s disciplinary program when unsafe behaviors are observed.

Achieving safety, the result of having successfully managed risk, is not easy. It takes hard work and commitment at every level of the organization. Employees see right through the propaganda of safety slogans, but they will respect leadership by example.

So, while safety slogans alone may not improve safety performance, coupling them with leadership by example may just give you the winning safety combination you need.

View and download a list of 500 safety slogans here.

About the Author

Eric Aubrey | President

Eric Aubrey is president and managing partner of Intelivert. For the past 25 years, Eric has been helping organizations measurably improve their performance. Drawing on well-honed expertise in process optimization, change management, strategic planning, workforce safety, web and application development and e-learning, he has developed enterprise business solutions for clients that have included PSE&G, Covanta Energy, Waste Management, KPMG, Aramark, Nestle and Heineken USA.

Prior to joining Intelivert, Eric held the position of director of enterprise corporate communications at Canon Technology Solutions, a division of Canon USA, where he was responsible for developing innovative web and application software for Fortune 500 companies. Solutions he delivered represented significant advances in web-based education and communications and organizational performance. Eric held the position of director of marketing for his last five years with the organization.

Since joining Intelivert in 2010, Eric has focused the company’s efforts on development, delivery and support of a safety and performance web platform. Eric obtained a BA in Business Administration from Wilkes University. He is the author of Tools for New Times published by Hal Leonard Books, and is currently authoring his next publication, which will focus on effective and sustained change management.

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