Posts Tagged ‘Accident Free’

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

I was on my way back to Dallas from Denver last Friday and was taking the train to my terminal.   A gentleman jumped on the train as the doors were closing – he was wearing GOOGLE GLASSES.   A couple of weeks before this, I saw a news article about this technology and how doctors are using this during surgery.   They are able to see the patients vital signs without looking away from their task at hand.   I asked this guy on the train about his GOOGLE GLASSES.   He told me that he was in the technology field and loves them.   He told me he can voice text and see everything right in front of him.

My brief conversation got me wondering how GOOGLE GLASSES  will make our world a safer place – how distractions will be eliminated.   People will never have to take their eyes off the road to talk, text or e-mail.   While I don’t agree with texting or emailing while driving, it is exponentially better and safer using GOOGLE GLASSES rather than the traditional method.

I’m a supporter of technology and GOOGLE GLASSES as it relates to safety – 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

It’s definitely summertime and it’s definitely hot!  Every year, thousands of workers become sick from occupational heat exposure.  These illnesses are completely preventable and everyone must recognize the symptoms of HEAT RELATED ILLNESS during hot weather.    The types of HEAT RELATED ILLNESS are Heat Stress, Heat Cramps, Heat Exhaustion, and Heat Stroke.   Below is a description of the symptoms of each and treatment recommendations:

  1.  Heat stress is a buildup of body heat.   Heat stress, without proper precautions, can develop into heat exhaustion or heat stroke, a potentially fatal condition. As the internal body temperature increases, the heart rate rises and the body becomes overwhelmed.
  2.  Heat cramps are caused by dehydration and are the mildest form of HEAT RELATED ILLNESS.  Symptoms include muscle cramps, which can lead to muscle spasms.  Dehydration is usually coupled with heat exhaustion.  Treating heat cramps is as simple as drinking water and getting to a cooler area.
  3. Heat exhaustion is caused by strenuous activity, like working outdoors in the heat.  Symptoms of heat exhaustion and dehydration include headaches, sweating, irritability, nausea, chills, weakness, vomiting, fainting, a rapid weak pulse, flushed or pale skin, confusion, blurred vision, and dizziness.  The best way to prevent and treat heat exhaustion and dehydration is to avoid it from happening in the first place by drinking enough water throughout the day that you never become thirsty. Approximately 1 cup every 15 – 20 minutes is recommended, even if you are not thirsty. Avoid large amounts of caffeine or sugar in sports drinks because they can accelerate dehydration if not properly balanced with water. Take more breaks in extreme heat and humidity and take breaks in the shade or a cool area when possible. To treat severe heat exhaustion, elevate legs, pour cool water over the skin and drink water or other liquids that will replace electrolytes.
  4. Heat stroke is the most serious HEAT RELATED ILLNESS.  It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down.  Symptoms include red hot dry skin, confusion, fainting, or convulsions.  Treatment for heat stroke is similar to the other heat-related injuries, but emergency paramedic services should be contacted and efforts made to cool the person’s body temperature. One quick effective way to bring the body temperature down is to put a cool wet cloth behind the neck and soak their clothes with cool water.

By changing work practices, such as increasing work/rest cycles, drinking more water, drinking an occasional sports drink to replace electrolytes, and knowing what to do in case of a HEAT RELATED ILLNESS, lives can be saved.    I will ensure that we cover HEAT RELATED ILLNESS at our next safety meeting – 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

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

Typically, Safety is measured using incident rates – this is a lagging indicator not a leading indicator.  I am trying to come up with a system to measure safety in a different way.   I want to take into consideration participation, safety perception surveys, self-assessments, and other tools in addition to incident rates.   I feel that this will provide a more accurate look at safety rather than a incident only view of safety.   Here is a draft of the MEASUREMENT system that I am working on:

Safety Score System

Why look at safety this way?   Some facilities are very lucky and have no accidents – therefore we think they are safe.  Some of these facilities do not participate, have poor leadership, have a poor culture and are not committed to safety but their incident rates look favorable.   Some facilities have poor incident rates but have very good participation, very good culture, are committed to safety, and have good leadership but have had incidents.   Which facility is better?    In my opinion, I will take the facility that has incidents but good culture, commitment, leadership, and participation over the facility that is incident free but lacks these characteristics.   I believe that the latter is a time bomb waiting to explode!   We don’t have a system in place to identify the time bomb by looking at incident rates only.

I’m curious to obtain your opinion on a MEASUREMENT system like this – what have I missed?

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

This week I reflected upon the first quarter of 2013 and reviewed our Q1 safety record and data – WE DEFINITELY HAVE SOMETHING SPECIAL GOING!    We have 34 facilities operating across the world in 6 countries.   When we started our safety journey our statistics were “average” as it relates to the data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.    We created a program that focuses on compliance, awareness, accountability, and participation that was very easy to use.   We dropped our TCIR (Total Case Incident Rate) from the mid 5’s to 1.0 for the first quarter of 2013.   That is in the zone of “World Class” being measured with DuPont, Alcoa and others that are very respected in the safety community.   Further, our North American workers compensation claims were less than $12k (paid and incurred) for the first quarter.   Before we started our current journey, our workers compensation claims exceeded $1.7 million dollars on an annual basis!

I am a firm believer that even one accident is too many.   Every employee should return home each and every day in the same condition in which they came to work.   We, as employers, have an obligation to provide a safe working environment.    I take this obligation very seriously.

I am very proud of where we have taken our safety program – WE DEFINITELY HAVE SOMETHING SPECIAL GOING! – what about you?

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

I had a conversation this week with a Workers Compensation Insurance Representative and an Insurance Broker regarding safety and accidents.   Both of these individuals have 25+ years of experience in occupational safety – therefore I consider them EXPERTS.   It was interesting to hear their perspective on accidents, culture, and various safety programs.   The one thing that was loud and clear from my conversation with the EXPERTS – you must involve your employees.

When you involve employees in your safety program you create ownership, buy-in and participation.    These items lead to a positive safety culture where employees do the right thing even when nobody is watching and employees look out for one another.   Isn’t that what we are trying to achieve?   All it takes is involvement – just ask the EXPERTS.

I will continue to involve all employees in safety – what will you do ?

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

I recently had a discussion with another safety individual over safety perceptions.   This individual cited an article which discussed the five most dangerous safety perceptions that an organization can have.  Here are these perceptions:

  • Zero accidents – It’s not possible
  • Safety excellence is “Not getting hurt”
  • Safety is not my job
  • It wont happen to me
  • We are already good

I am of the opinion that you must find the root cause of these perceptions in order to solve the perception problem.   In my opinion, these perceptions are caused by a lack of leadership, a lack of a proper safety culture, and a lack of a systematic approach to safety.

Every organization must have a ROBUST SAFETY PROGRAM in order to succeed.   A ROBUST SAFETY PROGRAM is not a well-written thick binder that sits on the shelf collecting dust.   It’s not a series of super technical documents that nobody can understand.   A ROBUST SAFETY PROGRAM is a fully supported system that incorporates rules, regulations and guidelines with training/education and creates a participatory ownership environment.   When you have this – you have created a ROBUST SAFETY PROGRAM.  This program has proper leadership, culture and a systematic approach to safety.

When you achieve the ROBUST SAFETY PROGRAM – employees will believe that zero accidents is possible.   They will believe that we can always improve and get better.  They will embrace safety and understand that safety is everybody’s job.  In a ROBUST SAFETY PROGRAM every employee knows that they are vulnerable and anybody can get hurt, they know that safety excellence is way beyond not getting hurt – it is creating a culture that eliminates hazards and employees are looking out for one another.

I will continue to create a ROBUST SAFETY PROGRAM that will eliminate the dangerous safety perceptions – what will you do ?

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