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Navigating the Legal Risks of Safety Messaging

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Photo by Giammarco Boscaro on Unsplash

Key Takeaways

– Safety messaging can have legal implications, so businesses should be cautious.
– Avoid using absolute terms like “always” or “never” when discussing safety.
– Emphasize shared responsibility for safety and creating good conditions.
– Safety is important, but businesses also need to focus on profitability and quality.


In today’s world, safety is a top concern for businesses and individuals alike. With the increasing awareness of potential risks and the need for protection, it is no wonder that many companies prioritize safety in their messaging. However, recent legal developments have shed light on the potential pitfalls of using phrases like “safety is our number one priority.” This article aims to explore the complexities surrounding safety messaging and provide insights on how businesses can navigate this issue effectively.

The Legal Risks of Safety Messaging

While it may seem harmless to proclaim that safety is the number one priority, businesses need to be aware of the legal implications that can arise from such messaging. Defense lawyers are anticipating an increase in lawsuits as businesses reopen, and plaintiffs’ lawyers may use safety messaging against them to drive up damage awards. By positioning safety as the ultimate priority, businesses may inadvertently create a higher standard of care that can be used against them in court.

The Importance of Language

One of the key factors that can impact the legal implications of safety messaging is the language used. Absolute terms like “always,” “top,” “first,” or “never” can create unrealistic expectations and set businesses up for failure. Instead, it is crucial to use language that emphasizes shared responsibility for safety and creating good conditions. By focusing on reasonable efforts to ensure safety, businesses can avoid setting unattainable standards and mitigate potential legal risks.

Creating a Culture of Safety

While safety is undoubtedly important, it is essential to recognize that businesses have other priorities as well. Profitability, quality, and customer satisfaction are all crucial aspects of running a successful enterprise. By acknowledging these priorities and striking a balance, businesses can create a culture of safety without compromising their overall objectives. This approach not only helps manage legal risks but also ensures the long-term sustainability and growth of the organization.

Strategies for Effective Safety Messaging

To navigate the complexities of safety messaging, businesses can adopt several strategies to ensure their messaging is both effective and legally sound.

Focus on Education and Awareness

Rather than making grandiose claims about safety being the number one priority, businesses can focus on educating their employees and customers about potential risks and the steps being taken to mitigate them. By emphasizing the importance of shared responsibility and creating a safe environment, businesses can foster a culture of safety without making unrealistic promises.

Highlighting Continuous Improvement

Another effective strategy is to emphasize the commitment to continuous improvement in safety measures. By showcasing ongoing efforts to enhance safety protocols, businesses can demonstrate their dedication to creating a safe environment for all stakeholders. This approach not only helps manage legal risks but also instills confidence in customers and employees.


While safety is undoubtedly a critical aspect of any business, it is essential to approach safety messaging with caution. By avoiding absolute terms and focusing on shared responsibility, businesses can mitigate potential legal risks while still prioritizing safety. It is crucial to strike a balance between safety, profitability, and quality to ensure the long-term success of the organization. By adopting strategies that emphasize education, awareness, and continuous improvement, businesses can create a culture of safety that aligns with their overall objectives. Remember, safety is important, but it is not the only priority.

Written by Martin Cole

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