Slowing down for Safety


Aphorisms to guide you to a safe outcome

Hundreds of sayings, slogans and catch phrases are out there reminding us to SLOW DOWN. Some are more colorful, artistic, philosophical or inspirational than others. The variations are many but the message is the same: slow down! Why? This simple act not only leads to a better outcome, it can lead to a safer one, too.


The desire to finish jobs as quickly as possible seems to be human nature. However, rushing a job can create many problems. Hurrying can lead to overlooking hazards, taking unnecessary risks, working with faulty equipment or shortcutting safety rules and procedures. In other words, rushing often results to carelessness and carelessness can lead to accidents. Carelessness can also lead to poor workmanship and the need to repeat work that was not done correctly the first time. Doubling the workload doubles the risk of something going wrong. Do the best job you can, not the fastest job you can.


A quick internet search indicates this phrase probably originated in the military. It comes from the practice of moving slowly, carefully and deliberately—as fast as you can without increasing risk to you or those around you. The faster you go, the more rushed you are, and the chance of missing something dangerous increases. With speed comes inattention to details, and one moment of inattention can have lifelong consequences. Slowing down will give you the opportunity to look around and be aware of things that could go wrong, check the condition of your equipment, review directions or plans and get it right the first time. In this way, slowing down can actually speed things up.


Just like any other skill, practice slowing down to improve and master this challenge. A couple of methods to identify and reduce hazards by slowing down are to write down out a Job Hazard Analysis, a Task Hazard Analysis or holding a quick safety briefing or tailgate talk with team members before beginning a task will provide time to plan out the work and anticipate the hazards and solutions before the actual work begins. Choosing one of these slow-down practices will increase the odds that everything will go smoothly, ultimately getting the job done as fast as it should be.


Although this might not be as universally well-known as the previous phrases, it should be very familiar to JT4 employees. It is the motto of JT4’s SafeUp program, which is designed to maintain the safety and well-being of our workforce. Use the program’s tools and annual training to embrace superior safety performance both on and off the clock.