Archive for August, 2012

Way to go Starbucks!!!   It  is refreshing to see a company stand up and take action over what it believes in.  Starbucks announced this week that they were stopping to do business with one of their suppliers, Sensient Flavors,  due to safety conditions at their factory.   In a statement Starbucks said: “We have decided to cease future business with Sensient Flavors while we examine whether the company is operating at the high ethical standards we expect of all of our suppliers, including providing safe and healthy working conditions for all employees.”  Starbucks has CORE VALUES and stands behind them!   Again – way to go Starbucks!

Why can’t every business have CORE VALUES and act upon them like Starbucks?   Why?  In my opinion, it’s because most companies don’t live by those CORE VALUES – they are just words.   The words sound good in the company newsletter or on the company website.  The words keep the shareholders happy, the board of directors happy, and create a false hope for the employees.   What these companies are missing is the benefit of having CORE VALUES and living by them.  Why is Starbucks consistently ranked as a top place to work?   It’s not because the customers are any different than other food vendors.  It’s not because Starbucks is overpaying their employees.   It’s not because the employees get better working conditions than office workers.   It’s because Starbucks has CORE VALUES and stands behind them!

I will continue to support Starbucks – I will go out of my way to buy a coffee from them this week.   What about you?

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

I read an article this week where an employee was killed and OSHA fined the company $9,420 for three serious violations.   Really?  $9,420?  What’s going to change their behavior?  Certainly $9,420 is not going to change the behavior.   What’s worse is the owner of the building is refusing to pay the fine calling OSHA ““the BIGGEST BULLY there is”.   He further said “[OSHA’s] system is way broken. They need to fix their system before they try to fix mine.” Last time I looked I did not see an employee of OSHA killed!

It’s time that business owners step up and take responsibility for their actions (or lack of actions).   Businesses have the responsibility to provide a safe work environment.  No employee should be hurt on the job, no matter how minor.   I am NOT a big believer in governmental rules and regulations, nor am I a big believer that the government should tell anybody how to run their business, but I also take my responsibility to all employees very seriously.   I understand why the government, or more specifically OSHA, must establish rules and enforce such rules – it’s for the businesses who don’t care about their workers and don’t take responsibility for their actions.

I don’t know all of the circumstances around this accident other than what was explained in the article.   However, based upon the limited information that I did read, the owner of the business should go to jail and be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars, not $9,420.   In this situation, the government needs to be the BIGGEST BULLY there is and set an example.  In my opinion, sometimes it’s OK to be the BIGGEST BULLY.

I support OSHA being “the BIGGEST BULLY there is”.   What about you?

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


Why is it that people don’t follow simple safety rules?   Why is it that we have to wait for an incident to occur before people GET IT?   As leaders, it is our responsibility to provide the safest workplace possible.   It is unacceptable for anybody to get injured, no matter how minor.   How do we get people to care (GET IT = Get people to care)?

We have to create a safety culture where people GET IT – they care, they look out for others as well as themselves, the become proactive and seek potential safety issues before any incidents occur.   We  accomplish this by creating a positive safety culture through leadership, communication and personal accountability.   Leaders need to walk the talk, follow all safety rules, consistently enforce all safety rules, become active in the safety program, and lead by example.   If a leader allows for people to violate safety rules, no matter how minor, he/she might as well hang up a banner at the facility that reads: “Safety is not important here”.   Leaders must also communicate both the positive messages and the negative messages.  When they learn that an employee addressed a safety issue with a co-worker, they need to praise that employee.   When they see an employee violate a safety rule, they need to coach that employee.  If a leader is always discussing safety in a negative light – the safety culture becomes one of compliance only.

I’m going to push for people to GET IT?  Are you?

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

If you asked me “What is the single most important thing any safety program must have?”   I would answer PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY.  My initial reaction was to say “a positive, robust safety culture”.   I started thinking about this further.  How do you create such culture?   Leadership and PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY.   If you have good leadership but no PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY then the safety culture will fail.   If you have PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY but poor leadership, the culture will still succeed.      In other words you can’t have a positive safety culture without PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY, that’s why I changed my answer from culture to accountability.

What exactly is PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY?   I describe it in two ways:   Taking responsibility for your own actions, and how you act when nobody is watching.   If your employees have PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY then they will always follow the safety rules, even when the supervisor is not there.     You employees will always wear PPE, always lock-out a machine when performing service, and always go the extra mile to ensure that they are safe.

I am going to reinforce PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY this week – what about you?

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

I recently came across a safety blog which contained an on-line survey that I found very disturbing (not the survey but the results).  The survey had the readers select one of three answers to the following statement: “Workplace Injury is an Inevitable Part of Life”.   The three answers were: “AGREE – no one or no company is perfect – accidents will always be a part of society”, “SOMEWHAT AGREE – accidents will always be a part of society but we can work on reducing the most tragic accidents” or “DISAGREE – every accident is preventable”.

The disturbing part:  38% of the respondents AGREE or SOMEWHAT AGREE with the statement!  That’s over 1/3 of the people who responded feel that accidents will happen!   The even more disturbing thing is that this safety blog is geared toward safety professionals.   Over 1/3 of the people who establish safety programs, teach our workers about safety, conduct safety self-assessments, etc do not feel that every accident is preventable!   With this type of  feelings toward accidents, how are we ever going to set our self up for success?   We are already accepting the fact that accidents will happen and it’s OK!

In my experience, when leadership believes that every accident is preventable and conveys this message, accident rates are significantly reduced (leaders create culture).   For example, a Facility Leader that believes every accident is preventable, and he/she conveys this message, the safety results will be significantly better than the Facility Leader that believes accidents will always be part of society and feels that safety is somebody else’s job.

I can speak with a Facility Leader and tour their factory and pretty much know what their safety results are.  There is a direct correlation between leadership, culture and safety.  As long as we allow our leaders to accept that accidents are part of society and safety is the responsibility of someone other than themselves, we are going to have accidents.   When our leaders believe (not just say, but believe) that every accident is preventable, we will see an improvement in the safety results.

I am going to change the AGREE’s and SOMEWHAT AGREE’s to DISAGREE’s – what about you?

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