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Safety Bingo Is Insulting

I'm sorry; I must have misheard you. You really didn't tell me that your way of demonstrating how important safety is to your company is playing safety bingo, did you? 

Let me get this straight; you are trying to let every employee know that safety is your highest priority, and you use a bingo game to prove it?

I recently was speaking with a group of owners, primarily of manufacturing companies, and asked if any of them still were using safety bingo. Let's just say I was surprised by the response. About 20 percent of them still had safety bingo in their company. I asked them to think about the message this sends: that your company's idea of how to demonstrate to the people who work for it that their safety is your highest priority is... a bingo game. Do they think that somehow bingo will be the missing piece that will convince workers to do their jobs the right way? I think playing bingo has the potential to be insulting. I also think it doesn't work.

The only legitimate way to have fewer injuries is to create a safety culture where workers take responsibility for their own behavior. A culture where they perform their jobs the way they have been trained and the way that is the safest, and they take responsibility. A culture where they take pride in their safety record, where there is a sense of teamwork and a desire to achieve success in an area that is one of the company's highest priorities: SAFETY. Safety bingo undermines this. For many employees, the company is trying to trick them into not having or not reporting injuries. Any motivation it provides is short term, an often the game of bingo is no longer even related to safety.  It's just a game.

To have a strong safety culture is to have a workforce that's engaged. We encourage companies to have safety meetings that find ways to engage their workers and make them participants in the safety program. Find a way to make the meetings more dynamic, more interactive. Give recognition, celebrate success, have fun and make it a positive experience. Instruction is important, but think of training and instruction as the platform for safety behavior, because it's the behavior that will make a difference. Give workers a solid platform, and then create a culture where safety is the most important part of their job. Make it personal so that people are more involved and feel a greater part of the company. When workers, especially workers in jobs that require physical tasks, are being recognized and appreciated for being saf, and for making suggestions and for being a good teammate, they not only are safer. They are better workers and better employees.


Webinar: The Race to EHSQ Excellence - Winner Takes All

Date: Tuesday, April 27, 2021
2:00 p.m. EDT (GMT -5, New York)
1 Hour
Event Type:
Live Webinar

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Organizations regularly set objectives for safety and quality, and those objectives rarely target excellence or perfection. Instead, they target goals for reducing injuries, illnesses or quality-related incidents. However, W. Edwards Deming, the brilliant engineer and statistician who became a leading spokesperson for quality after WWII, taught that when an organization accepts a certain level of imperfection, that organization will always have imperfection. When it comes to reducing injuries and illnesses and achieving operational excellence, the goal must be zero negative events.

One of the key challenges to achieving operational excellence is having a siloed approach across safety and quality departments, which have historically run independent of each other. Technology can be a valuable tool to help break down these barriers and enable integration of processes, people and teams. This presentation explores the integration of technology with the 5 key elements of excellence that can unlock immediate value across your operations. Sign up now and learn about the following:

  • How to create goals that don’t support a tolerance for failure.
  • How to explain all goals in terms of an EHSQ process.
  • How to highlight the convergence of safety and quality as a means of success.



Mathis90wTerry Mathis, Founder & CEO, ProAct Safety, Inc.
Terry Mathis is the founder and CEO of ProAct Safety, an international safety and performance excellence firm. He is known for his dynamic presentations and writing in the fields of behavioral and cultural safety, leadership, and operational performance, and is a regular speaker at ASSE, NSC, and numerous company and industry conferences. He has been a frequent contributor to industry magazines for over 15 years and is the coauthor of STEPS to Safety Culture Excellence (WILEY, 2013).

Koehler90wDebra Koehler, Director of Solution & Industry Marketing, Intelex
Debra Koehler currently leads the Product and Customer Marketing functions at Intelex, where the focus is to enable successful customer acquisition and expansion, primarily through product launches, promotional campaigns, and programs designed to turn customers into advocates. In addition to keeping a pulse on the market, Debra and her team also serve as a channel into the product development process with market input and customer feedback gained from various outreach efforts. With a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and over 20 years in product management, Debra uses her education, experience and most of all her passion to help customers achieve more, be more with technology that makes sense.


Technical Details

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