The Art of Stalling

A Safety Management Approach

Bob Lapidus, CSP, CSMS

Monday Morning, 8:00am
The main facility is due its weekly inspection. I have too much paperwork to do. I will skip this week’s inspection and do it next week.

Tuesday Afternoon, 2:00pm
I really need to talk to my boss about getting increased funding for training, but she seems never to have time for me. I will wait to see when I think she might be more open to my request.

Wednesday Noontime
The safety committee is supposed to meet. If only a few show up I will cancel the meeting. We all have so many other things to do and we rarely get anything finished at these meetings.

Thursday Morning, 10:00am
We need to review all our safety programs. I wonder if I can get by doing the review at the beginning of next year.

Friday Afternoon, 3:00pm
It’s personal protective equipment (PPE) check time, one of the most boring jobs that I have. I will postpone this task to see if someone else might be willing to do it.

Stalling to do what needs to be achieved is a human condition. There are activities we love to do while there are other activities that bore us to tears or include monstrous obstacles, mountains we would just rather not climb.

It is called procrastination, from the Latin words, pro (forward) and cras (tomorrow) meaning putting something off until another day (or sometimes another week, month, or even another year). Sometimes what we put off never happens.

In safety, putting something off could be disastrous. Truly, procrastination could be the reason a job is performed unsafely, or a piece of equipment is not maintained, or a safety policy or procedure is never written.

Some examples include:
1. The monthly fire extinguisher check is not carried out – in the event of a fire, a fire extinguisher is not fully charged and fails to provide an employee with sufficient fire extinguishing agent. The employee could then be vulnerable to engulfment in a fire.
2. A PPE assessment has never been accomplished resulting in employees not wearing safety protection, and leaving them open to sustaining an injury.
3. No policies and procedures are in writing. Nothing is documented on how to work correctly or what has been done to implement proactive programs.
4. How to do a job correctly is not taught so employees fail to know how to do their tasks in a safe manner, let alone efficiently, productively, and without error.

Stalling means procrastinating, postponing, delaying, dawdling, dragging one’s feet…putting off until another day that never comes. Very few things in life work out for the good that are left until another day. We need to prioritize what needs to be acted upon, and then move forward moment by moment to get things completed as soon as possible.

For More Information:
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After completing this nine-day program, graduates may take the exam to achieve the Certified Safety Management Specialist (CSMS) designation. Recipients of the CSMS receive a beautiful plaque and become part of an elite group of safety specialists who have achieved this recognition. Once this certification is attained, successful candidates keep it for the rest of their lives without any additional requirements or fees.