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Cheapskate safety

By Terry Mathis

A safety-professional friend moved from a major petrochem to a smaller, family-owned business. When I asked him how he liked his new job, he said he really liked the family atmosphere and more casual business climate, but found it very difficult to get budget for needed safety equipment. Having come from a rich, safety-first oriented company that spent whatever was needed to promote safety, this was a shocking change.

Certainly, it is not wise to blindly spend money nor to teach employees that classifying a purchase as "safety" should ensure automatic approval. But failing to provide needed safety equipment sends an unmistakable message that safety is not a value or even a high priority. In today's climate, a business that can't or won't afford an adequate safety program will have a difficult time competing with businesses who do. Leaders, re-think your strategic spending priorities!

Terry Mathis

Terry L. Mathis is the founder and CEO of ProAct Safety, an international safety and performance excellence firm. He is known for his dynamic presentations in the fields of behavioural and cultural safety, leadership and operational performance. For more information, visit
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