Inspirational Safety Quotes and Safety Slogans

December 13, 2022 | Blog

Takeaways

  • If you’re brainstorming for 2023, these safety slogans and thought leaders’ inspirational safety quotes may get you thinking. 
  • External influence sparks innovation. Your next great idea might stem from someone you don’t (yet) know.

The beginning of the year is the perfect time to plan, set strategic goals, and prioritize. With the year ahead looming, where should you start?

Strive for an Open Mindset

The authors of Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work recommend “find someone who has solved your problem.” Those who have previously navigated a process provide much-needed outside perspective so that you don’t reinvent the wheel.1 For example, consult colleagues in your own organization in another department or a safety professional in another industry.

Another insightful book, The Necessity of Strangers mirrors this idea that strangers are vital to innovation and success. The author points out that organizations get set in their ways and begin to have a closed mindset. Some signs of a closed mindset in your organization include:

  • We know best
  • There’s a “best way” to do things
  • Internal brainstorming is the best way to come up with ideas
  • We should protect knowledge instead of share it
  • Rather than evolve, we tend to do more of the same
  • People we know are most important, as opposed to people outside of our circles2

Companies with a closed mindset feel that the next innovation will result from everyone isolating in a room to think or meeting together for a couple of days for a retreat.3 But often, as the authors point out, the best ideas build off of others’ (strangers’) ideas.

In fact, “99% of all new ideas are based on an idea or practice that someone or something else has already had.”4 Some of society’s greatest inventions were created on the shoulders of prior inventions by people they had never met.5

And people might not even be the source of inspiration. Nissan used schools of fish as inspiration for advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) technology because fish naturally avoid colliding while traveling in close proximity.6

Safety Leadership Quotes and Safety Slogans

With this in mind, we’ve compiled safety insights from safety leaders across industries. The No Accident safety podcast focuses on safety leaders’ experiences and wisdom, especially around the business value safety provides. Check out some of our favorite inspirational safety leadership quotes and safety slogans from the podcast.

Compliance or complacency?

“Complacency is human nature, and safety is never done. I refer to complacency as the hidden killer because I think it has killed and injured more workers than anything else.” – Jerry Roach, Director of Safety, Environmental and Facilities at Kimball Electronics; No Accident podcast, episode 1

“If you set your standard low, guess what? You get what you asked for.” – Jack Frost, Vice President-Environment, Health, Safety & Training at Heico Construction Group; No Accident podcast, episode 24

“I think that compliance is the bare minimum that regulatory agencies will accept for basic safety programs. So if you’re only going to shoot for compliance, then you often miss the mark. If the employees don’t understand the ‘why,’ the message is often lost.” – Kay Yoder, Vice President, Environmental, Health, Safety, Security and Business Continuity at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits; No Accident podcast, episode 11

“…Compliance is the bare minimum that regulatory agencies will accept for basic safety programs. So if you’re only going to shoot for compliance, then you often miss the mark.”

– Kay Yoder, Vice President, Environmental, Health, Safety, Security and Business Continuity at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Don’t just talk safety; live it

“The newest hire coming needs to know from day one that safety is the most important thing. And we’re not just going to talk about it we’re going to actually live it.” – Jerry Roach, Director of Safety, Environmental and Facilities at Kimball Electronics

“You can have communications people write up nice paragraphs and post them on your company newsletters and websites, but truly to develop the safety culture, you have to have everybody involved.” – Joseph Kopalek, Vice President Environmental, Health and Safety at UGI Utilities; No Accident podcast, episode 9

Safe doesn’t mean boring

“You can’t just have safety data by itself. You have to have visuals…You have to take safety seriously, but you can’t take yourself so seriously. Then you won’t allow safety to become fun and interesting.” – Jerry Roach, Director of Safety, Environmental and Facilities at Kimball Electronics

Roach gave examples of putting meme-style safety slogans inside restroom stalls to make safety interesting and fun. Training videos and other approaches don’t resonate with everyone. Use creativity to expand your reach. A master of this is safety professional Ed Davidson on LinkedIn who uses humor to make an impactful statement about safety.

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care

“Like the old saying says: Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. When you show people that you care, and they’re interested in what you know, they perform the work well — with quality and they do it safely.” – Chris Moulden, Vice President of HSE-Utility Segment Primoris Services Corporation; No Accident podcast, episode 3

“It doesn’t matter how proficient I am at creating a safety rule. It doesn’t matter how much technology I deploy. It does not matter how much structure I follow. If it doesn’t start with … ‘I’m doing this because I care about others and I do not want to see them get hurt,’ then we will often fall short of the mark.” – David Galloway, author of “Safety WALK Safety TALK” and the Founder and President of Continuous MILE Consulting; No Accident podcast, episode 6

Everyone owns safety

“Safety starts at the top, but it’s built from the bottom. You have to get that — the tired, old expression — ‘buy-in’ from everyone.” – Brent Sanger, safety leader formerly at Western Flyer Express, now Regional Safety Supervisor at PODS; No Accident podcast, episode 7

“As you’re educating individuals, there’s usually some smirks, some heckling in the crowds, real quiet, lack of participation. When you get that participation of a hundred percent, the employees become active. They bring things to you. They start to get more and more involved in the actual process…If they have input in the whole process, then we get a hundred percent buy in.” – Travis Post, National Director of Safety at Petersen-Dean; No Accident podcast, episode 5

“…It all goes back to the culture of our organization. When you take care of people and, you empower them to take care of the business. Good things happen.” – Shawn Mandel, Vice President of Safety and Risk at Waste Connections; No Accident podcast, episode 19

“Safety starts at the top, but it’s built from the bottom.”

– Brent Sanger, safety leader formerly at Western Flyer Express, now Regional Safety Supervisor at PODS

Be a solution-maker

“For an operations role … be the solution maker. Find them a solution. Don’t just be the safety police force that goes out there and says, ‘you shall do this and you shall do that.’” – Joseph Kopalek, Vice President Environmental, Health and Safety at UGI Utilities

Safety promotes profit

“By having a proactive safety program versus a reactive, it drives that cost code down and therefore it’s not passed on to the customer…You can’t really look at safety as ‘go out there and be safety cops and catch people not doing what they’re supposed to do and make them do it.’ What my safety department does is protect profit.” – Travis Post, National Director of Safety at Petersen-Dean

“It’s really important for safety professionals to understand what drives their business and to speak the language of the leadership team versus trying to teach them our language, which is a little bit less familiar. … Put it in terms that they understand and can see what their return on investment is.” – Kay Yoder, Vice President of Environmental Health and Safety at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

“In the safety field, we haven’t done a great job as far as tethering safety and financials. In the past, I felt they were mutually exclusive. You’d talk about safety, but not the financial aspect of it. I think they should be married together because safety does have a direct financial impact.” – Jack Frost, Vice President of Environment Health Safety at Heico Construction Group

Your safety is our WHY

“That truck can be replaced. The freight that it’s hauling can be replaced. But we cannot replace the person that is the driver.” – Brent Sanger, safety leader formerly at Western Flyer Express, now Regional Safety Supervisor at PODS

“How do you put a price on life? I know the insurance company does a very good job at that, but for people that are our family members in our Terminix nation, it doesn’t matter to me if that cost was $1 or if it was $10 million. All I care about is the children of the fathers and the mothers that drive our vehicles, the brothers and sisters of the people that drive our vehicles and certainly the friends of everybody that operate our vehicles.” – Mike Letters, Fleet Safety, Terminix; No Accident podcast, episode 12

“Being a leader in safety is an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of others … assuring employees return home safely to their families every day.” – Kay Yoder, Vice President of Environmental Health and Safety at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Several leaders mentioned hiring and/or enlisting the help of employees who had previously had work injuries to help amplify the safety message. Every six weeks, Kay Yoder’s team shares a new story of an employee who was hurt on the job; they explain how their injury occurred and what led to the situation. Travis Post started hiring employees that had previously been injured to teach training classes. He added, “The guys actually listened to them because they’re active employees in the trade.”

The smartest people in the room are the employees

“The smartest people in the room are the employees. They’re on the front line doing the work. They can tell you what the risks are.” – Dr. Timothy Ludwig, author, safety consultant, and professor at Appalachian State University; No Accident podcast, episode 8

“It’s not just about safety. It’s about how you develop the corporate culture. If you want to be successful … you’ve got to rely on your people and you’ve got to trust them.” – Joseph Kopalek, Vice President Environmental, Health and Safety at UGI Utilities

“The smartest people in the room are the employees. They’re on the front line doing the work. They can tell you what the risks are.”

– Dr. Timothy Ludwig, author, safety consultant, and professor at Appalachian State University

It’s not if but when

“It’s not a question of if something’s going to happen, but when, and, if you make it (safety) a value, it becomes something that’s near and dear to your heart.” – Brent Sanger, safety leader formerly at Western Flyer Express, now Regional Safety Supervisor at PODS

“An evolved culture does not wait for things that happen. It works hard to prevent things from happening.” – Acho Ulu, Director-Risk Management, Environmental Health & Safety at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, Inc.; No Accident podcast, episode 26

It all starts with leadership

“So how is it that one company has superior numbers and another company is struggling significantly? It all starts with leadership. You can have the best programs in place. You can have the best processes in place, but if you don’t have the leadership commitment driving it at the very top, then it’s simply not going to happen.” – Jack Frost, Vice President of Environment Health Safety at Heico Construction Group

“Safety — from my perspective — is an individual’s responsibility and value, but it needs to also be bolstered by an extreme commitment from leadership within that organization.” – Chris Moulden, Vice President of HSE-Utility Segment Primoris Services Corporation

“Safety is a team effort. It’s something that has to be lived by your employees, and your leadership team has to set the example.” – Jerry Roach, Director of Safety, Environmental and Facilities at Kimball Electronics

Be relentless

“Safety, like anything else in business, is a process. It’s a complicated, interwoven, interconnected process.” – David Galloway, author of “Safety WALK Safety TALK” and the Founder and President of Continuous MILE Consulting

“We’ve got a variety of different communication tools and none of them capture 100% of the audience. And that is not the fault of anybody in our company. … It’s just simply reality. You’re not going to be able to capture everybody in one fell swoop. And so whenever I’m rolling something out … my strategy is to socialize, socialize, socialize at every level.” – Mike Letters, Fleet Safety, Terminix

“You have to be relentless, relentless, relentless because there are people who don’t see it, but you can’t give up because eventually there’s going to be something that happens in that person’s life or in the life of a coworker or a family member or some example that you give them that is going to hit home.” – Kay Yoder, Vice President of Environmental Health and Safety at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Safety is no accident

The former VP of Communications and Advocacy at the National Safety Council, Kelly Nantel, said, an effective safety program “requires consistency and ongoing care and feeding – it simply is not a set it and forget it kind of thing.” Intentionality and persistence is half the battle.

Thanks for reading. For more inspiration, listen to full episodes on YouTube or our website.

Sources

  1. Heath, Chip & Dan Heath, Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work (New York: Crown Publishing, Kindle Edition, 2013), location 1041. 
  2. Gregerman, Alan, The Necessity of Strangers (San Francisco: Wiley Publishers, 2013), pg 45.
  3. Gregerman, Alan, The Necessity of Strangers (San Francisco: Wiley Publishers, 2013), pg 62.
  4. Gregerman, Alan, The Necessity of Strangers (San Francisco: Wiley Publishers, 2013), pg 64.
  5. Gregerman, Alan, The Necessity of Strangers (San Francisco: Wiley Publishers, 2013), pg 64-70. 
  6. Gregerman, Alan, The Necessity of Strangers (San Francisco: Wiley Publishers, 2013), pg 71.
  7. All quotes from the No Accident Podcast.

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