“Safety First”– Is Safety Your First Priority?

You’ve no doubt heard the slogans: “ Safety First ,” “Safety # 1,” “Safety is Our Highest Priority,” and a host of others that convey the same idea. Some companies go so far as to place this sloan on hardhat stickers or stop-authority wallet cards to drive home the idea that safety will not be compromised. These are well meaning efforts as their intent is to posture safety as the highest of all priorities to preclude anyone taking a shortcut on the job and placing himself at risk. But do these slogans really communicate the right message?

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Eric Svendsen

Eric Svendsen, Ph.D., is Principal and lead change agent for safetyBUILT-IN, a safety-leadership learning and development organization. He has over 20 years experience in creating and executing outcomes-based leadership development and culture change initiatives aligned to organizational goals, and he personally led the safety-culture initiatives of a number of client organizations that resulted in “best ever safety performance” years for those companies.


  1. […] but on very different grounds.  My reasons for rejecting the slogan have been covered in depth here, here and here, and they differ radically from Mike Rowe’s poorly thought-out rejection of […]

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