Stop, Think, Act - achieve standout safety results with this simple approach

May 17, 2016

Driving farm equipmentIn collaboration with Imperial Oil and its network of Esso branded bulk fuel suppliers, WSPS is piloting a simple, easy to remember outreach message that has enormous potential to prevent injuries. Just ask Peter Szmidt, an Imperial Esso safety expert.

"Our experience has been that focusing on people's behaviour when they undertake a task is really where the opportunity lies to improve safety performance, and as the farming industry is one of the industries we serve, we thought it would be great to share some of our safety success. That's why we're reaching out - to create awareness in the farm community about this simple to use tool called Stop, Think and Act."

Essentially, the goal is to

  • Stop long enough to think about what you're about to do
  • Think about how you're going to do it. Is it the safest way? If not, how can you do it better?
  • Act in the safest way possible

WSPS consultant Steve Zronik concurs with Szmidt's remarks. "If you can just get yourself and your workers to think for only a few seconds before doing anything, you can prevent a lot of injuries."

"The time you save by acting impulsively is minuscule compared to the potential consequences. A good example is stepping over an operating power take-off shaft instead of walking around the tractor. The amount of time you save walking over instead of around is only about three seconds. If you do that 100 times in a season, you're only saving about 5 minutes. You could get torn apart just for trying to save a few seconds."

"Look at Stop Think Act as an opportunity to do things better and smarter," he continues. "Imagine if you could get all your workers and supervisors thinking about safer ways to do things."

4 ways to apply Stop Think Act now

These suggestions from Steve Zronik take only moments to implement but offer lifelong benefits:

  1. Start with yourself. Develop your own Stop Think Act habit so that you're keeping yourself safe and constantly demonstrating the desired behaviour.
  2. Build it into orientation training so that everyone hears the message from the beginning.
  3. Reinforce it during your weekly or daily meetings. These meetings are an ideal opportunity for everyone to discuss hazards and how to stay safe.
  4. Coach workers one on one. Before someone starts a new task, work through the Stop Think Act process together. "Watch for people acting impulsively," adds Zronik. "They may not be taking into account what could go wrong. They start at Point A and don't think of consequences that may occur at Points B and C."

How WSPS can help

  • Raise your own awareness of hazards in your operation by using WSPS' How Does Safety Rate on Your Farm hazard checklist.
  • Download any of WSPS' 45+ agriculture safety topics in English and Spanish to raise awareness among your workers.
  • Train your supervisors so that they demonstrate safe behaviour and know what to watch for in others. "Attitudes and behaviour change when you put people through our Supervisor Responsibilities and Due Diligence course," says Zronik. "It's just a half day".
  • Invite a consultant to deliver a 2-hour onsite health and safety awareness session. These sessions raise everybody's awareness of how they can work safer, creating a solid foundation for a vibrant health and safety culture.

Watch for more on the Stop Think Act campaign in future issues.