Do More With Less
After 12 years working for OSHA, I left for the private sector.
I had convinced a regional medical clinic system to hire me.
Right away, I found my first hazard—a fall protection issue on the roof of its multi-story headquarters.
I applied what I thought was the right thing to do.
I wrote an email to the clinic administrator.
I laid out my case for why it was a hazard, who was exposed, how often, how to mitigate it, how much that would cost, and noted that it was a violation of an OSHA regulation.
It was a beautifully crafted email.
The Attorney General’s office I used to work with would’ve loved it as a slam dunk, solid case…or so I thought.
The response I got was swift, with one statement and one question.
The statement: “Next email, one sentence with three bullet points, max.”
And then he added, “I only want to be on the curve”.
What a shock! I had no badge and no attorney general’s office to turn to support corrective action.
In the end, I did not get that roof hazard abated because I couldn’t convince the administrator the hazard had been corrected at similar clinics.
What I did gain was knowledge. It was a defeating lesson, but I learned four things:
- Only we safety professionals need to know or care about the details of our practice.
- We have to be great at saying more with less, arming our leaders with just enough to make smart business decisions on our way to being their trusted advisors.
- Make your ask or state the problem in the first sentence whether written or spoken.
- Use bullet points to support your claim or need.