MRO Magazine

ASSE’s Professional Safety Journal: The Challenges in Achieving Perfect Workplace Safety

By Business Wire News   


Zero-injury safety targets are easy to communicate and seem to be everywhere, but such goals can be counterproductive to a company’s efforts if the context in which they are used does not go beyond slogans and good intentions, according to the lead article in the April issue of the American Society of Safety Engineers’ Professional Safety Journal.

“Achieving zero-injury targets requires the will to support perfection and the ability to recognize and change every factor that could lead to injury,” writes author Michael Burnham. “Organizational conflicts and inefficiencies, and the realities of human cognition limit the capacity to identify latent hazards, so each must be overcome if perfection is to be realized.”

In fact, Burnham recommends companies answer eight important questions before embarking on zero-injury safety programs with the first one being: how will zero as a target motivate employees? If the odds of reaching a goal are less than 50 percent, the article states management is trying to fool employees into performing and it will not work.

“When goals challenge employees, require skill learning, provide feedback and create in the performer a sense of personal control, optimum motivation can be reached,” Burnham writes. “If a goal does not motivate employees to continue current levels of performance or to improve performance, its very purpose is defeated.”

To read more about what questions company executives should be asking, go to:

For more than 50 years, ASSE’s Professional Safety journal has been sharing the latest technical knowledge in SH&E—information that is constantly being developed through research and on-the-job experience. Each issue delivers practical guidance, techniques and solutions to help SH&E professionals identify hazards, protect people, prevent injuries, improve work environments and educate management that investing in safety is a sound business strategy. For more information please visit

Founded in 1911, the Park Ridge-based ASSE is the oldest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 37,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information please go to

Willy Medina, 847-768-3404


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