The Dirty Dozen of Safety

The Dirty Dozen is not just a great movie, it’s a serious gang of predators that wreak havoc on your employees and your organization.  The worst part is that you might just be the leader of this gang, demonstrating negative traits around these key areas.  Reflect on each of these to see how you are doing and make sure your employees know the Dirty Dozen.

Lack of training

This is one of the most prominent issues in every person’s career.  Training is a must and here in the United States we just don’t dedicate the amount time and expertise to training that is needed in safety.  Doesn’t matter if it is due to budgets, unions or other forces, more training is needed.


We are all guilty of this. The reasons are numerous.  Getting home, the weekend, got better things to do.  Rushing leads to oversight and mistakes and injuries.


Again, we are all guilty.  Traffic, great TV and raising children all lead to hectic and chaotic lives.  We wear sleep deprivation on our sleeve as a badge, but being fatigued is like being drunk and that leads to poor decision making and a bunch of safety accidents.

Lack of communication

Know what to do and being able to clearly communicate are two different things.  Training is a form of communication.  Most of us don’t know how to actively listen and many more of us don’t know how to effectively communicate, which all leads to misdirection in safety.


iPhone, TV’s, radios, phone calls, meetings, and a million other things lead to distraction.  We all know about distracted driving, but working in an office or on the floor is no different.  When you are distracted, and our current world is built on distraction, the chances of safety accidents are much higher.

Improper tools

The proper tool makes the job so much easier.  A sharp knife.  A properly sized wrench.  The right hammer.  The perfect computer software.  Without it, mistakes and accidents are bound to happen.

Lack of inspections

Inspections reveal flaws.  It’s that proverbial look in the mirror.  And when you look in the mirror you can take steps to correct things, but why would you want to do that?  Failing to inspect leaves you working with hazards and faulty equipment, PPE and other hazards.


Been doing the job for awhile.  That’s right, it won’t happen here and I’ve done this a million times.  A million times shortcutted.  And finally, you get sucked in by the safety hazard.

Lack of responsibility

Fault versus responsibility is a big issue for most of us.  Learning to take responsibility for things even when it is not your fault is a major step in ensuring your safety.

Lack of authority

For whatever reason, people do not feel that they have the authority to speak out for their own safety.  A common problem in the aviation industry as well.  You must have the authority to stop an unsafe process.

Lack of teamwork

This ties to communication, but it also ties to how the organization is structured.  Is it a one-for-all and all-for-one or is it a win-at-all-costs environment?  Organizations that hold team-building exercises, encourage teamwork and reward teams do better in areas of safety and productivity.


Finding fault in others leads to not taking ownership of the issue at hand.  When you blame others you never look inside to see what you did to contribute to your own lack of safety.

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