Archive for the ‘Safety Culture’ Category

I do not understand WHY leaders chose not to support safety.  It is a proven fact that organizations with superb safety programs and outstanding safety results have better operating metrics (scrap, productivity, etc) than those organizations that don’t.   In other words – if you can get safety right, you will get everything else right.

Is it that leaders do not understand safety?   Is it that leaders do not see value in safety?  Is it that leaders think safety is a waste of time?   Is it that leaders think safety takes too much time?    Or is it a combination of all of these items?   As leaders, we have an obligation to provide a safe workplace to all of our employees.    Certainly leaders who chose not to support safety, chose not to take their obligations seriously.   Leaders need to understand that safety can be their key to driving world class results – if you can get safety right, you will get everything else right.

There was an old business saying that is very applicable here – “If you can’t change the leader, change the leader”.    If leaders chose not to support safety, it’s time change the leader.    WHY?   Because safety is the most important aspect of any organization!

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

Look around – can you SPOT one thing that is not safe?    What if everybody could SPOT one thing that is not safe each and every day?    Wouldn’t we be so much better off?

I find that employees do SPOT things that are not safe but typically do not say anything.   Why?  First, they believe that nothing will be done about it.   Second, they feel it’s not their job, and third, they feel that somebody else will take care of it.    How do we change this going forward?

If we have leaders (managers, supervisors, leads, etc) that will do nothing about something that is not safe – it’s time to get new leaders!    Safety should be the first priority of any leader.   We have an obligation to provide a safe workplace.   Any safety issue – no matter how minor – needs to be addressed.    We need to ensure that every employee feels comfortable reporting any safety issue that they SPOT.

We need to change our culture.   We need every employee to understand that safety is their job.   We want every employee to go home in the same condition that they came to work.  We want every employee to understand that it’s their responsibility to report any safety issue that they SPOT, no matter how minor.  We need to create a culture where it is unacceptable to not report it.

This is  a really a simple concept – it just requires trust and accountability.   I am going to encourage every employee to SPOT one thing that is not safe each day – what about you?

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

When it comes to safety – you need to have PASSION.   Employees know when you are going through the motions and “just complying” or “checking the boxes”.   When you inject PASSION into what you are doing – you are a believer and it shows – others start to become believers as well – others start to have safety PASSION.  This is how we create the right safety culture.

We don’t have to have all the answers – we just need the PASSION to find them.   How often do we come across the manager who knows everything?  The manager who has done it all?   This is the same guy who rules with an iron fist and employs the “my way or the highway approach”.   You will be hard pressed to find PASSION in this style of management.  Rather, this style of management is more prone to politics and excuses.

I encourage you to display true PASSION at your next safety meeting.   Watch out – it will become contagious!

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

The 2013 NFL season starts tomorrow.  Many people can’t wait for the season to start (myself included).   Safety is a lot like any of the teams in the NFL – you need practice, gameplans, leadership, teamwork, communication, protection, rules, PPE, etc to be successful.    If you are lacking any of theses items, you will not be successful.   Why aren’t we as excited about safety?

I want everyone as excited about safety as they are about the NFL – what do you think?

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

Last saturday morning I attended my son’s middle school football scrimmage.   There was a parent that was filming the scrimmage for our coach from the top row of the stands.    Evidently, the stands were not tall enough or there was a better angle to film the scrimmage from the roof of the adjacent gym.   The “film crew” from both teams managed to move and set up their cameras from the roof the the gym.   Now there were 6 guys standing on the roof – two filming and four helping.    I looked at these guys and immediately thought of FALL PROTECTION.   My first thought was not “That’s great that these guys are helping out the team” or “That’s going to be a great angle for the coach to review the scrimmage”.  No, my first thought was “There are these guys up 30 feet in the air with no railing or no safety harness – where is their FALL PROTECTION!”.   Further, I even pointed out to my daughter that these guys, the “film crew”, were taking unnecessary risks and breaking the new fall protection rules.   My daughter rolled her eyes and tuned me out – typical 19 year old!

Do you always think about safety?    Are you aware of risky behavior of others?   Do you look at safety outside of work?

Isn’t this what we are trying to achieve in the safety world?   I am proud of myself for thinking like this – what about you?

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

I have looked at our historical safety statistics and see a trend that I don’t like – the SUMMER BLUES.   Each year we have experienced our most incidents during the months of July and August.   We still conduct our new hire safety orientation, our weekly safety training, and enforce all of our safety policies and procedures.   Why do we have the SUMMER BLUES?   When you peel back the onion, the type of incident is all over the board – Slip Trip and Fall, Ergonomics, Cuts, etc. – there is no one type of incident that is driving this.   Incidents are occurring at facilities in the North as well as the South, East as well as the West – there is no specific geographic location that is driving this.   Incidents are occurring at facilities that are not working overtime along with facilities that are working overtime.

The only way I can explain this is safety awareness.   We have become distracted with increased volumes, vacations, heat, etc,  that we create a self-induced SUMMER BLUES.   We need to double our efforts to heighten safety awareness.   We need to work safety awareness into everything that we do.   We want each of our employees to think about safety as much as they are thinking about their vacation!

I will ensure that we eliminate SUMMER BLUES and heighten safety awareness – what about you?

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

Someone recently asked me WHY BOTHER WITH SAFETY?    It hit a chord with me and I went on a rant….here we go:

1.   We, as employers, have an obligation and responsibility to provide a safe workplace

2.   It is unacceptable for anybody to be injured at work, no matter how minor it is

3.   Other than being tired, everyone should return home each day in the same condition that they came to work

4.   I can’t handle the sight of blood, broken bones, etc

5.   If you can get safety right, the rest of production and operations is easy

6.   Our employees should expect to be safe

7.   When we do safety right in the workplace, it carries over to employees personal lives

I am passionate about safety and truly feel that these items are the answer to WHY BOTHER WITH SAFETY?   I take safety very seriously and feel that it is a worthwhile cause.    It is unacceptable of any employee to be injured at work – regardless of the circumstances.   I think its pretty straight forward – what about you?

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

I had a discussion recently with a colleague regarding the importance of leadership in safety.   Too often leaders want to preach safety but send a conflicting message by violating safety rules themselves.   Leaders need to WALK THE TALK!   When employees see a leader violating a safety rule or regulation, they are basically being told that it is OK to do this.    I read a safety story about 15 years ago that sticks with me relating to the non-verbal messages that leaders send employees.   The story goes something like this:  An employee was standing on the top rung of a ladder and did not have a spotter (two safety violations).  This employee’s supervisor was late for a meeting and walked by the employee on the ladder on their way to the meeting.  The supervisor chose not to stop and correct these items and continued on to the meeting.   A few minutes later there was a panic call over the radio that an employee had fallen from a ladder and was being rushed to the hospital.   The employee was killed that day by head injuries sustained from the fall.    By walking by and choosing to do nothing – the supervisor was “non-verbally” telling the employee that it was OK to be standing on the top rung of the ladder and that it was OK to not have a spotter.    How do you think the supervisor feels knowing that they could have prevented this death by just stopping and correcting the situation?

It is so important that leaders WALK THE TALK.   Employees are constantly looking at leaders for direction and guidance.   Leaders need to completely understand that their non-verbal communication is just as important as their verbal communication.    I am going to reinforce the importance of WALK THE TALK at our next safety leadership meeting – what about you?

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

It’s that time of year when the weather heats up and employees wonder why they cant wear SHORTS to work.   As an employer, we have an obligation to provide a safe working environment.   We have an responsibility to conduct a hazard assessment and protect our employees.   As such, many of our facilities handle thin aluminum and steel sheets and fabricated parts and we have determined that there exists a moderate cut hazard.   Therefore, SHORTS are not permitted.

I had a lengthy discussion with a couple of safety experts that have been in the safety field for over 20 years each.   Both of these individuals are in consulting roles and have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses.   In their opinion, only companies with weak safety programs allow SHORTS in the workplace.    Further, their recommendation is for us to not wear SHORTS  based upon the materials that we work with.

We have made some leadership changes in our Human Resources department over the past few months.   The new individuals in this department are traveling to all of the facilities learning about our business and talking to employees.   One of the items that has been coming up consistently is SHORTS.    After their first visit, we explained how we conducted a risk assessment and had discussions with safety professionals on the subject.    Rather than explaining this to the employees, the human resources leadership is telling employees that they will look into it.   Why?   They are providing a false hope to the employees and, in my opinion, undermining our safety program.

I take my obligation to provide a safe working environment seriously.    It is unacceptable of any employee to be injured at work.   Further, in conducting a hazard assessment of the workplace, it has been determined that SHORTS should not be worn.  I think its pretty straight forward – what about you?

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

My friend – JK – sent me this article about a Schindler elevator employee named Whitey who was killed during the construction of the new San Francisco 49ers stadium.  I am a firm believer that all accidents are preventable and, as employers, we have an obligation to provide a safe work environment.   It’s always easy to be a “Monday Morning Quarterback” when investigating an accident or reviewing program failures to determine what could have prevented the accident.

After the article, there are many postings where people make comments about the article.   There were many comments on safety and LOCK-OUT / Tag-Out.    One particular posting caught my eye.   Here is an excerpt from the posting:

I am an elevator mechanic. I knew “Whitey”. After reading a lot of these comments two things come to mind. First, lot of the safety first comments come from the heart but are clearly misguided. Second, for someone to post midget jokes and any joking at all are sick and should be deleted (what if it was your friend or brother or father?)

Lock-outs are used mainly when the elevator is unattended (to keep the other trades from using it to transport their parts, supplies or tools). Or when electrical work is being done. During the day they are unlocked in the morning and locked again at the end of a work day.

Also elevator work is usually done with a mechanic and a helper (apprentice). It is common for the helper to be doing one thing (stacking counterweights) and the mechanic another thing entirely (wiring switches in the pit.) The platform must be able to go up and down, even slightly, to enable the work to continue. Otherwise the workers would need a third person to stand next to the disconnect and constantly lock-out the disconnect. Because in a situation like that the helper would be going to the machine room locking out, going back, doing something (stack a few counterweights), and unlocking, going back, move the platform, then going back etc. Very little is accomplished using this method.

From what I can glean from these versions of events I will go with the one that has the helper stacking rails at the middle of the hoistway, he loses control of the counterweight, it drops and strikes the mechanic on the ladder. Even if the helper screamed to look out, there is just not enough time to climb off of a latter to get out of the way.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and loved ones. I hope the 49ers find a way to honor him. The brothers of local 8, Schindler Elevator and all that knew “Whitey” have lost a truly classy individual and he will not be forgotten. -Robbie Novoa

Misguided – Really?  I completely disagree with Mr Novoa and the brothers of local 8.   LOCK-OUT should always be used whenever any work is being performed – not only to keep the other trades from using it.   I don’t care if you need a third person on the crew or if the job is going to take longer.  Whitey would still be alive if he followed proper LOCK-OUT protocol.   Mr Novoa and the brothers of local 8 should use this as a wake-up call and not defend the carelessness of this 26 year veteran or of their profession.   To me, this is a classic example of an employee who has been doing something for a long time and had never been injured – therefore they felt it was OK to “bend the rules”.

We need to keep employees from feeling invincible and from circumventing safety rules and regulations.   We need to use this unfortunate incident as a wake-up call.  We need to re-emphasize the importance of  LOCK-OUT/ Tag-Out.   We need to heighten safety awareness.

I can’t stress enough the importance of LOCK-OUT.   It’s time to do some re-training – what about you?

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