Archive for September, 2012

We create and produce our own safety training videos in-house.  We have a team that records the audio tracks from a script that has been written and we have various facilities shoot video at their location of the subject matter.   We bring all of this together, add titles, edit, and produce the video.  We presently have approximately 20 videos produced and posted on our safety website.   The intention of these videos is to complement our weekly safety training.   Most of these videos are three to seven minutes long and cover the basics of the topic presented.   My goal is to have 52 training videos (one for each week), which will send a consistent message across the organization.

Up until the past few weeks, we have asked for volunteers to shoot the video footage at their location.  We had approximately 10 different facilities volunteer and have started to have the same facilities volunteer multiple times.  Here is an observation on these videos – the 10 facilities that have volunteered have fewer accidents than the group of facilities that have not volunteered.   Further, the facilities that have volunteered multiple times have fewer accidents than the facilities that volunteered once and the facilities that have not volunteered at all.    Why?   It’s obvious to me – the facilities that have volunteered are the facilities that “get it”.   These are also the facilities where the  facility leader embraces our safety program and ENGAGES THE EMPLOYEES.

In in effort to “jump start” a couple of facilities, I decided to assign the filming for the next two videos rather than ask for volunteers.   I thought this would help the facility leader ENGAGE THE EMPLOYEES and promote safety.   I chose two facilities that are on “safety auto pilot” and asked if they would film at their location.   I explained that they do not need to worry about audio, editing, etc – we just need raw video footage of the subject matter.  I further explained that it was a great opportunity to ENGAGE THE EMPLOYEES at the facility and to have a little fun.   The first facility embraced the opportunity and was excited that they were asked to do this assignment.   The second facility shot me a note back declining the invitation.   The facility leader explained that he “asked around” and “no employees were interested” (red flag……red flag……red flag!!!).    I shot a note back to this facility leader, a little stronger in tone, explaining what a great opportunity this was to ENGAGE THE EMPLOYEES and this project wasn’t voluntary but an assignment.     The facility leader shot me another note back trying to get out of the assignment again (red flag…..red flag…..red flag!!!).   I decided to call this facility leader and discuss the opportunity to ENGAGE THE EMPLOYEES and how as a leader, he can use this as an opportunity to directly involve people in our safety program.   The call went about as expected – the facility leader said they would get it done and he couldn’t wait to get off the phone.

We have data that supports when you ENGAGE THE EMPLOYEES, your results are better.   There are thousands of books written on this subject.   I mentioned a Chinese Proverb on a previous post that I will use again here:  “Tell me, and I will forget; show me, and I may remember; involve me, and I will understand”!

I will always ENGAGE THE EMPLOYEES – What will you do?

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

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We completed compiling our annual SAFETY PERCEPTION SURVEYS this week.  Here is a summary of the results:

Overall, the results were good (not great  – just good).   We have made improvements over the past year and our employees perception of safety is shifting in the right direction.   This is further substantiated by our results in 2012.   When we drill down into the date further, we can see that we have some work to do at specific locations.    I promised everyone within our organization that I would use the results for analytic purposes only and to identify gaps in our system and identify areas that need training, procedures, etc.  I promised that I would not “beat anyone up”.   Therefore, it would not be fair for me to rant and rave about specific locations or about leadership issues.

We have an obligation to provide a safe work place.   How our employees perceive safety is an important piece of understanding if we are succeeding or not.  I will not be satisfied until we have all questions with favorable responses greater than 90%.  When we get there, and we will, we will raise the bar and not be satisfied until we have all questions with favorable responses greater than 95%.

I want to know what our employees think – is that important to you?

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

Why do employees take unnecessary risks and put themselves in harms way?   Let’s review basic behavior in a RISK vs REWARD model.   In simple terms, all behaviors can be placed in one of four quadrants as depicted here:

Our goal is to move all jobs / tasks from high risk to low risk.   When specific jobs or tasks can not be engineered to be low risk, we rely on procedures and humans to make the correct decisions.   We want employees to change their behaviors from high risk (right two quadrants) to low risk (left two quadrants).   Let’s reviews examples the high risk quadrants:

High Risk / Low Reward – In a manufacturing environment, an example of a high risk behavior with low reward is not following lock-out / tag-out procedures.   Why would someone want to do something that is high risk when there is little or no reward?   When you peel the onion back further you find the reasons for this behavior include lack of training or understanding, lack of readily available tools (locks),  and a belief that the behavior is not high risk.    Other examples of high risk behaviors with low rewards include running machinery without proper guards in place, not using fall protection when working at elevated heights, and not using proper PPE on a specific job.   All of these situations are completely avoidable with a robust safety culture and proper leadership.

High Risk / High Reward – An example of a high risk behavior with high reward includes firefighters, front line military personnel, bomb squad personnel and similar jobs.   These jobs require intense training and safety is continuously stressed.   Personnel in these occupations are continuously searching for a safer way to perform their jobs and continuously striving to mitigate risk and move into the low risk / high reward quadrant.  Positive safety culture and strong leadership are very prevalent in this quadrant.   In a manufacturing environment, I can not come up with an example of a job where a high risk behavior includes a high reward.

In comparing these two quadrants, it is very obvious what the major differences are – culture and leadership.   In taking this one step further, a positive, strong safety culture does not exist (or last) without leadership.

I prefer to operate in the low risk quadrants – what about you?

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

Do you perform SAFETY PERCEPTION SURVEYS?   Do you know what to do with the results?   I am a big believer in conducting SAFETY PERCEPTION SURVEYS and feel the results are invaluable to an organization.   I started doing perception surveys at the division that I was running at my company in1999 and have conducted an annual survey every year since.   This year we had 26 locations and approximately 1,500 employees participate.  This past week we spent time tabulating the results by location and entering the results into a spreadsheet which contains historical (or baseline) results.    Here are my basic rules when conducting a SAFETY PERCEPTION SURVEY:

Rule 1 –  Honest:   You want honest feedback, therefore the survey must be anonymous.

Rule 2 – Action:  Do something with the results.   If you are going to expend the effort to conduct a survey, you must do something with the results.   Hoping that the results will be different next year is not doing something.   Seeing that you are lacking training on a specific topic, creating an action plan, and executing such plan is doing something.

Rule 3 – Results:  The results can not be punitive.   Use the results to identify training gaps, culture gaps, procedural gaps, and similar items.   Do not use the results to beat anybody up – the employees, the supervisor or the manager.

Rule 4 – Analyze:  Compare the results to the baseline and prior year on a department by department or facility by facility basis (depending upon your structure and size).   What is the trend?  Did the group improve or decline?   What effect did a change in a supervisor or manager have on the employees perception of safety?

Rule 5 – Share:  Share the results.   Share the overall results for the organization with everybody.   Do not share individual department or location results with everyone – share those results only with the leader of that area.  Employees who participated want to know the results.   Don’t be embarrassed, ashamed, or disappointed in the results – use the results as an opportunity to improve.

Rule 6 – Support:  You must support that you are looking for year over year improvement and you must support that there is no end – you can always get better.

SAFETY PERCEPTION SURVEYS are a valuable tool to aid you in determining your strategy and prioritizing what issues to address.   There is tremendous value in finding out what your employees think.   For most, it is an eye opening exercise, that when taken seriously can yield tremendous results.   If our goal is to reduce accidents and provide the safest workplace possible, why wouldn’t you want to know what your employees think?

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