Column: Ending Vestigial Practices in Safety
There is more to culture change than doing things differently. It also means ending practices that you have done for years, practices that many of you cherish and will defend with all the mettle you can muster. Organizations typically develop organically—they evolve as they transition from small entrepreneurships to professionally managed companies to giant philanthropic concerns. Along the way, many organizations create the procedural equivalents of evolutionary dead ends—policies that make little or no sense, rules designed to protect workers from hazards that no longer exist, or ways of doing things that are archaic. Often the practice might still seem like a good idea (and may, in fact, be so) but, under closer scrutiny, may clearly need updating. Other practices never were all that good idea to begin with and (should) leave us scratching our heads and asking what we were thinking when we implemented them.