Repeat after us: Primum non nocere.
If you’re not up on your Latin, you might be unfamiliar with those words, but chances are you’ll recognize the English translation right away: “First, do no harm.”
That testament to safety has been associated with the Hippocratic Oath since at least the 17th century, and it has served the medical profession well as a not-so-subtle reminder that patients come first.
With OSHA’s first Safe + Sound Week approaching (June 12-18), we realized it was a great time to offer up a safety pledge of our own for organizations to commit to.
“First, do no harm” is an excellent place to start as it speaks directly to companies’ duty to ensure that workers can perform their jobs in a safe working environment. The problem is that, at least in the medical field, it also means that there are times when doing nothing is the better course of action.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t work as well in the workplace setting since being proactive with equipment maintenance, training, safety procedures and implementing safety tools and solutions almost always trumps doing nothing at all.
In our search for a workplace safety oath, we also found heady advice in an unlikely spot: the first rule in Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, which says:
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
While the law of the land already says that a human cannot intentionally harm another human, it’s a good reminder for companies to ensure that technology doesn’t lead to injuries. By using predictive analytics and regular maintenance, companies can help ensure their workers’ safety. Of course, if a replicant goes rogue in the future, we’re not sure reading the bioengineered android the Three Laws of Robotics will do much good. Best to dial up Rick Deckard in that scenario. But we digress.
On the other hand, the National Safety Council has an enticing SafeAtWork pledge for workers. Employees who sign the pledge promise to:
- Never compromise my own safety or the safety of my co-workers to get the job done.
- Actively look for hazards, promptly report them, and take appropriate action to warn others.
- Be a good safety role model for my friends and family even when off the job.
These are great words for workers and businesses to operate by, but we believe companies can do more.
So to get Safe + Sound Week off to a great start, here is Sphera’s Employer Oath for Workplace Safety.
- A company will do everything in its power to keep workers safe and never compromise on safety.
- A company will train and encourage workers to record and report incidents, hazards and near-misses.
- A company will provide workers the necessary tools to record and report incidents, hazards and near-misses easily.
- A company will use the data at its disposal to help mitigate risks.
- A company will remind its workers that there is always time to do it right. When in doubt, stop and ask someone with the right knowledge and expertise before proceeding.
Ready to take the pledge? Great! Let us know on social by using the hashtag #SpheraSafetyPledge.