Safety Versus Compliance

Too often we mistake compliance for safety. Although safety and compliance are complimentary and are both important components of a safety management system (SMS), our primary focus should always be on safety. Safety is defined as the freedom from danger, risk, injury or loss. Compliance by contrast is the act of conforming, acquiescing, or yielding.

Regulatory compliance standards prescribed by MSHA/OSHA?DOT/EPA etc are great resources. We should use these guidelines as inputs to our Safety Programs. After all the government spent and continues to spend billions of dollars to provide us with the basics on how to avoid injury in the workplace. No need to reinvent the wheel right?

So, if the government has spent all this time and money writing and enforcing the standards and essentially “helping us” stay safe, why do we often feel achieving compliance is like using a hammer to turn in a screw?

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