Posts Tagged ‘safety program’

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

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We have kicked off a risk assessment tool at a couple of our facilities over the past few months.   This tool is very powerful and allows us to take a laser approach to safety.    I have decided that we will kick off a little friendly COMPETITION between a couple of our facilities.   This COMPETITION will create a little excitement and rivalry amongst the participating facilities.

The risk assessment tool takes a targeted job and assigns a score (1-25) based upon severity and frequency.   Improvements are brainstormed and a new score is assigned to the targeted job.   The goal is to move the meter on the targeted job and eliminate risk (severity x frequency).   The COMPETITION between the facilities will enable us to target risky areas and make them safer.   The winning team will receive a cookout for all employees at that facility.    If we have the COMPETITION once per month between two facilities – we will reduce 24 targeted risky jobs in one year.

I’m all in favor of a little friendly COMPETITION – 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

I read a safety article this week that discussed accountability.  There was one sentence in the article that said:  “Accountability needs to evolve to focus on safety PERFORMANCE, not safety results”.   That statement made me pause and think.   What is the difference between safety PERFORMANCE and safety results?  Can you have poor safety PERFORMANCE and good results?   How do you focus on PERFORMANCE?

First, I want to start by saying I agree completely with the author of the article and the sentence.   Yes – you can have poor safety PERFORMANCE and good results – it’s called luck.   PERFORMANCE is the culture and actions – it’s the “proactive” view rather than the “reactive view” you get when you focus on results.   Our efforts are better spent preventing accidents (PERFORMANCE) than conducting an accident investigation (results).   As I have mentioned in numerous other posts – safety culture is the most important aspect of any safety program.   There is no switch to flip that changes culture.   It can not be changed overnight.

I am going to continue to focus on safety PERFORMANCE, not safety results – what about you?

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

GHS

Posted: May 8, 2013 in Communication, Safety Jouorney
Tags: , ,

By now, I assume that everybody has heard about the upcoming change from our traditional Hazard Communication Standard to the world recognized Global Harmonized System (GHS).  OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard has been revised to align it with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). This update to the Hazard Communication Standard provides a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets.

You might have heard about the change, but have you started doing anything about it?    By December, all employers with hazardous chemicals in the workplace must conduct new training for workers on the new label elements and the new safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding.   Chemical labels will now include a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided on the chemical label.    New Safety Data Sheets (SDS), that will replace old Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)  will now have a uniform 16-section format.

If you have not thought about your training plan and your conversion plan – you need to start.   The deadline for GHS is less than 6 months away!

I am going to make sure our conversion plan is set and our materials are ready to go – what about you?

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

I recently came across the following HIERARCHY of safety that makes complete sense to me:

SAFETY PROGRAM

The most effective safety program is when safety becomes a value to the organization.  It’s easy to say that your organization values safety – it’s another to walk the talk and truly have safety as a core value of your organization.    The second level is when one becomes the owner of safety – it creates accountability.   A safety program with engaged employees is more effective than a program with involved employees.  A program with involved employees is more effective than a program with interested employees, etc.

In my experience – many organisations become complacent with their safety efforts.   Avoidance is another failed safety strategy that many companies have tried.   The wait and hope safety effort is a ticking time bomb.   It’s time for companies who operate with these ineffective safety efforts to wake up and climb the ladder.

We will continue to climb the ladder until safety becomes a core value of the organization.   Where is your organization in the HIERARCHY of safety?

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

The most important aspect of any safety program is LEADERSHIP.   One could argue that participation, compliance or teamwork are more important – but I would disagree.   LEADERSHIP sets the tone for creating the proper safety culture.  As you embark upon your safety journey, you must be committed to LEADERSHIP.   

I will compare and contrast two facilities – let’s call them facility A and facility B (by the way – this is a real example).   Both facilities operate with the exact same safety program (rules, training, resources, etc).   Both facilities manufacture the same products with the same equipment.   Both facilities have the same number of employees.   Facility A has been accident free for two years.   Facility B had 3 accidents last year and 1 accident this year so far.   What is the difference between these two facilities?   Only one answer – LEADERSHIP!   The individual at facility A is a leader who embraces the safety program and drives for improvement.    The individual at facility B is not so much a leader and goes through the motions.    Which facility has better financial performance, customer satisfaction, etc?  You got it – facility A. 

I will continue to push for safety LEADERSHIP – what about you?

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