Archive for February, 2012

ROLE MODELS.   I was reading about Mike Rowe in a safety magazine this morning.   Mike Rowe is the star and host of “Dirty Jobs” on Discovery Channel and recently has been hosting Ford commercials.    A viewer of “Dirty Jobs” called him out for not wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE) on the show.  Here was Mr. Rowe’s response:   “It is not the objective of Dirty Jobs to conform to any particular set of safety standards, other than those dictated by the people for who I happen to be working at the time. I take my cues from them.”   Really?

Rowe went on to say that safety is important, but not more important than getting the job done.  “Making money is more important than safety — always”.   I had to re-read this again:  “Making money is more important than safety — always”.  Really?

Rowe then said: “When a business tells you that they are more concerned with your safety than anything else, beware, they are not being honest.  They are hedging their own bets, and following the advice of lawyers hired to protect them from lawsuits arising from accidents.”   Really?

Come on Mike Rowe – wake up!   Following the advice of lawyers?   Making money is more important than safety — always?  When a business tells you that they are more concerned with your safety than anything else, beware, they are not being honest?   Mike Rowe, or any anyone else who is a role model, needs to set an example – especially as it relates to workplace safety.

Come on Ford – wake up!  Is this the guy that you want representing your company?  Does Ford share the same opinions as its spokesman – Mike Rowe?   Is making money more important than safety at Ford?   I thought Ford took pride in its  vibrant safety program.  “Pulling together the leadership and resources of Ford, ACH, the UAW and MIOSHA creates a powerful team as we work together to improve our already-high standards of health and safety in our plants,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford Motor Company vice president, North America Manufacturing. “Ford is proud of its history in Michigan – particularly of our record of significantly reducing serious on-the-job injuries in recent years. We know that safety always must be top-of-mind…”

Safety should always be our first priority.  Above profitability, above productivity, above quality ….safety always comes first.   If it’s not safe – don’t do it.    I hope Mike Rowe realizes that he misspoke and publically apologizes for his boneheaded statements – what do you think?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

YOU EAT THE ELEPHANT ONE BITE AT A TIME!   I will continue to write about the importance of a vibrant safety culture in the workplace.   Today, I want to focus on four steps that you can implement immediately to start the positive  safety culture shift at your workplace.

  1. Model Safety – This really is the most important thing that you can do.  Practice what you preach, lead by example, and be a role model.
  1. Observe and Comment on Safety – When you walk around your workplace, observe both safe and unsafe conditions that exist and point out the good with the bad.  Ask your associates what they are doing to be safe and what can be done to make their job safer.   This will emphasize and reinforce the importance of working safely.
  1. Practice – If you expect your associates to exit calmly during an emergency or to properly use a fire extinguisher when a small fire occurs, you better practice, practice, and practice.   Your associates should feel comfortable doing these things when they are needed in an emergency.  Even if you feel comfortable using these items, don’t expect it to be second nature for everybody.
  1. Leaders Not Followers – Encourage your associates to be leaders, not followers.   They must have the ability to “go against the flow” if needed.   Many unsafe conditions are caused by the simple fact that people are just doing what others are doing instead of thinking “what should I be doing”.   You don’t want your associates to jump off the bridge because everyone else is doing it.

These four items are not items that you do once and think you are done.  These four items are things that you must continue to do every day, without fail.  It is not OK to break a safety rule, ignore someone who is breaking a rule, expect everyone to know what do without practicing, and allowing your associates to be followers.

The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.  You will never finish until you take that first bite.  I’m hungry  – What about you?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434


Posted: February 15, 2012 in Accidents
Tags: , , , ,

WHY?   Over the weekend, I was reading a news article that reported a baggage handler at the Phoenix airport was killed.   This man apparently became lodged between the upper and lower conveyor belts which move luggage at the airport.   As I read the article I immediately felt sad for this man’s family, friends, and co-workers.  I thought “How did this happen?  What failure took place in their system?”  As I continued reading I became outraged – the article said that another worker had their hand and leg pinned in the conveyor system during an incident in August, 2011.   Two major incidents in a six month period!  Really?

As I have previously stated and will continue to state: We have an obligation to provide a safe working environment, and I take this obligation very seriously.   Every workplace accident is preventable and avoidable.   Certainly, in performing any accident investigation, you have the benefit of hindsight.   But didn’t  US Airways have the benefit of hindsight after the August incident?  Shouldn’t proper guarding, training, procedures, etc have been in place to prevent another incident from occurring?   This is the source of my outrage – companies that take their obligation lightly.   And as a result, a worker was killed!

Nothing can be done to turn back time and prevent this particular incident from occurring, however we can learn from this incident and prevent any future, similar incidents from occurring.   Companies need to have an active, rigorous accident investigation process that determines the true root cause of all accidents.   Companies need to implement the corrective action to ensure another similar incident does not occur, and companies need to share this information to correct similar conditions in other departments or locations.

I will continue to take my obligation seriously – What about you?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

What works – COACHING or DISCIPLINE?    Which is more effective in changing your safety culture?    There is a fine line to walk between coaching and discipline.    In my experience, coaching is 10 times more effective than discipline in changing your safety culture.   Does this mean that we should never discipline anyone for violating a safety rule?    Don’t get me wrong, people should be disciplined and face the consequences for their actions, but we should always act like a coach first.   Discipline alone becomes a game of not getting caught.   It might make some people compliant, but it will not get people to go the extra mile in staying safe.    Isn’t that what we are striving for? A culture where people go the extra mile in staying safe?

As leaders, we should try to understand WHY safety rules are violated and educate our employees on the potential outcome of playing with fate.   We should focus our attention on creating a culture where employees understand the importance of safety and don’t want to break any rules.   When we get to this stage, discipline will not be necessary.

Discipline is easy – somebody breaks a rule and discipline is administered (warning, write-up, suspension, termination, etc).    Coaching is more difficult – you need to understand why the rule was broken, explain the potential hazards from breaking the rule, understand the true reason why the rule was broken and remove future barriers.    Coaching allows you the opportunity to have meaningful dialogue with your employees on the subject of safety.   It also allows you to understand why something happened and what corrective action can be implemented.

Here is another take on the subject:  The best athletes in every sport have coaches.   In general, I have never heard of an athlete being disciplined for striking out, dropping a fly ball, missing a free throw, missing a tackle, etc.     I will continue to coach – What are you going to do?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

I have said this many times:  “IF YOU CAN DO IT ONCE – YOU CAN DO IT A THOUSAND TIMES!”     If you have an accident free month, there is no reason that you can’t have an accident free year, or an accident free decade!   The question that we should be asking after an accident free month is:  “How do I keep the focus on safety so we can have another accident free month?”   Just because you had an accident free month, it doesn’t mean that it’s OK to take your focus away from safety – ever!

As a leader, you establish the tone and culture of your environment.   There is definitely merit to the age old saying “follow the leader”.   If you have the attitude that “This is a manufacturing plant and accidents will happen”, then accidents will happen.   You said it was OK, didn’t you?!?!    I am a firm believer that this attitude is unacceptable and it provides an excuse for leaders to take their eye off of the ball.   All accidents are preventable and we have an obligation to provide a safe working environment.   It is unacceptable for any employee to be injured at work – no matter how minor.

Is there a reason to ever take your focus away from safety? I don’t think so – what do you think?

STAY SAFE!   **   Jeff   **   214-215-2434