Search Results for: Accidents

SCnSP – Peppers and Safety

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Feb 2017
     

Peppers and Safety

(harness the power of your mind)

Picture: Bell peppers - red, green, yellow, orange

     

What have peppers to do with safety? The answer is, really, nothing, except to demonstrate that the way we look at something can (and does) make a huge difference.

Ever since I can remember, I hated bell peppers, the green variety, because they were the only ones I had been exposed to. Whenever we were served a salad containing peppers, I would carefully pick out the pepper slices and put them to one side. For more than 40 years of my married life, peppers never entered our house, until a few months back, that is, when my wife, Heidi, asked me to buy her some red and yellow peppers.
I was taken aback, but, being a wise husband, did as she asked.

Later that day, Heidi cut one in half and asked me to just try a bite. My reaction was predictable: No! Never! Forget it! Eventually, after some persuasion and with my eyes closed and my breath held in, I tentatively took a small bite. It looked like a pepper. It felt like a pepper. It even smelt a little bit like a pepper … but it didn’t taste at all like the peppers I knew! It tasted slightly sweet, crisp and juicy. After that first bite, I happily ate the rest of my half of the pepper. It was wonderful. Since then, we have been eating red and yellow peppers on a weekly basis.

This is a typical demonstration of the power of a made-up mind, of a fixed mindset that is closed to change and opportunity. Until I was prepared to step out of my comfort zone and try something different, all peppers, be they green, red, orange or yellow, were the same. I was so wrong!

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

Examine your safety mindset.

Are you also suffering from the “peppers” syndrome ?
Are you doing what you’ve always done ?
Are you stuck with a safety perspective of
   compliance ‹-› corrective action ‹-› punishment ?
Are you fighting the same battles, over and over again, year after year, whilst hanging on to the illusion that you are slowly winning the war against accidents and incidents ?

Maybe it’s time to seriously consider trying out the red and yellow peppers.  If you want to lift your safety game to a new level, then speak to me – I have the fresh angle you need to make a difference.

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GM – Walking the Circle of Safety

♦♦♦  VEHICLE & CHILD SAFETY  ♦♦♦
May 2012
     

Walking the Circle of Safety

Picture depicting walking vehicular circle of safety

     

What is the Vehicular Circle of Safety?

Pretty much what it sounds like … circling your vehicle as a safety check before you drive off.

The ‘Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety’ website has a comprehensive checklist and a diagram of what to check for. Although it is directed at company vehicles, the Circle of Safety is definitely not limited to that – we all learnt about the circle check when we prepared for our driver licence tests. Ergo, this is something we should all be doing with our personal vehicles too!

Why do it?

Well, apart from the obvious, i.e. is the vehicle in a fit state to be on the road, doing this has the effect of increasing driver safety awareness. Some companies insist on the positioning of traffic cones around their vehicles so that drivers are ‘forced’ to ‘walk the circle’ as they remove the cones.

The example below is a VERY good reason for at least checking that there are no children or animals anywhere near your vehicle.

Source unknown, but thanks to Morkel for bringing it to my attention!

If you’re not already walking the Circle of Safety, why not start today? It’s the SMART thing to do.

RELATED READING

Childsafewebsite for the campaign of the Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Southern Africa (CAPFSA) and Safe Kids Worldwide

Driveway Run-over Injury Prevention Videosmade available by the New Zealand chapter of Safekids

Prediction on child road fatalities in Africa by 2015

ESSENTIAL LINKS

The Safety Guru  –  delivering your safety message powerfully, purposefully and permanently for real safety, health and wellness results

The S.H.E. ATM – search the ATM for information

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D1STEM – The New Normal

♦ SERIES ♦    DO ONE SAFETY THING EACH MONTH    ♦ SERIES ♦
Aug 2016

THE NEW NORMAL:

For worse … or for better?

Picture: Quote: Steven Covey: Leave the world a better place

The senseless killing we have seen over the last couple of years seems to be getting worse and worse. Now anyone (even teenagers) with one or other ideology or grievance and a gun, knife or explosives seems to think it’s okay to follow these “acts of terror” examples that are being set by groups and lone wolves. I can’t predict the future, but I fear it’s going to get much, much worse before we see an end to it. I don’t think there’s an instant solution. Even world leaders are at a loss as to what to do.

As unfortunate and worrying as this situation is, it needs to be put into perspective. The reality is that, in spite of the horror, these attacks remain isolated and involve the killing of a few people, not unlike lightning strikes. Without in any way downplaying or ignoring the pain suffered by the families and friends of those affected, I have to say that the way the media report on these events, you’d think we’re dealing with hurricane Katrina, which, by the way, caused hundreds of deaths and untold destruction. I’m not an advocate of SABC-like censorship, but some “breaking news” broadcasts tend to distort our perception of reality and significance. Another example in this category are air crashes. The number of deaths caused there pales into insignificance when compared to the approximately 3,500 people killed daily, worldwide, on our roads [1]. That reality isn’t making the headlines often enough, which says to me that we have just grown to accept that this is the way it has to be.

I don’t believe there are magical solutions to any of these problems. However, I am a strong believer in concentrating on your circle of influence, rather than your circle of concern [2]. So, my link to safety is this: Let’s not spend too much time pondering and discussing what we can’t change. Rather, let’s focus on the “everyday” mass killers – the road accidents and fatigue, HIV/AIDS, TB, diabetes, malaria, stress and depression (suicides), and the like. These are wellness issues where we can make a difference, right now. With the right life skills training at schools, I’m confident that we can re-establish a culture of tolerance amongst our children. Let this be our “new normal”.

ACTION

This month, look into how much effort, time and money you are directing towards wellness education at your company and in your community. A little can go a long way to making a real difference and showing that you care. It’s also well within your circle of influence and nothing is stopping you from spending a good portion of your budget on wellness [3].

[1]  “Number of road traffic deaths”, WHO 2013 GHO Data.
[2]  “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Steven Covey.
[3]  Green Card (recognition) goes out to Assmang Khumani Mine (and Susan Fourie in particular), for doing just that with their Peer Educator’s TB play.
[Picture]  Source: wikicourses.wikispaces.com

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GM – VW Deception

♦♦♦   CURRENT AFFAIRS   ♦♦♦
Oct 2015

VW Deception

(Lessons About Measurement)

The VW deception[1]  is unforgivable. Yes, we should denounce this kind of behaviour and yes, heads should roll.  It leaves one discomforted, distrustful, wondering if it is happening, as yet undiscovered, in pharmaceuticals, medical care or health & hygiene, especially in food processing. (Mind you, a while back it did, with the horse meat scandal[2].)

I see this behaviour as a direct consequence of a culture where measurement becomes the end in itself and not the means to an end. It’s what happens when we ‘cook the books’ to reflect the result we are looking for, instead of assessing the results so as to ensure quality, safety, health, risk control or environmental protection. True measurement goes way beyond compliance to a minimum standard. Proper measurement is a tool for continuous improvement.

What VW did is similar to what is being done by many companies. Whenever a company ‘sets up’ or ‘spring cleans’ or ‘prepares’ just before an audit or alters statistics in order to meet audit criteria to keep the record intact … it is committing fraud by deception. It is defrauding its personnel, or the public or both.

We tend to feel quite justified in making our own amendments to figures. So did the guys directly involved at VW. But now VW is in trouble, because the company was caught out and it has customers who can vote with their wallet. As a top brand there is only one way – down.

Misrepresenting or selectively using data is a world-wide occurrence. Why did we find it necessary to put so much time and effort into the King Commission on corporate governance[3]?  Surely not because there is no problem in our backyards?

ACTION

This is between you and your conscience. Look into the mirror and ask yourself how often and by how much you adjust the figures on emissions, effluents, performance, waste, recycling, accidents, observations, near miss reporting, performance, costs … ? If you are in a leadership position, you might not be directly involved, but you are accountable for the culture which breeds this kind of behaviour in your organisation!

[1]   “Volkswagen: The scandal explained“, by Russell Hotten, BBC News, 7 October 2015

[2]   “2013 meat adulteration scandal“, from Wikipedia

[3]   “King Report on Corporate Governance“, from Wikipedia

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GM – World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2012

WORLD  DAY  for  SAFETY  and  HEALTH  at  WORK
28 April 2012
Mar 2012

 

Theme:

 Green Jobs:
Promoting Safety and Health
in a Green Economy

 The ILO celebrates its annual ‘World Day for Safety and Health at Work’ on 28 April to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. It is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on emerging trends in the field of occupational safety and health and on the magnitude of work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities worldwide.

It is also the day in which the world’s trade union movement holds its International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers to honour the memory of victims of occupational accidents and diseases …

… In many parts of the world, national authorities, trade unions, employers’ organizations and safety and health practitioners organize activities to celebrate this date. We [the ILO] invite you to join us in celebrating this significant day and share with us the activities you organize. 

  This year’s theme

 … There is a shift in the world to a greener and more sustainable economy. However, even if certain jobs are considered to be “green”, the technologies used may protect the environment but not be safe at all.

… A true green job must integrate safety and health into design, procurement, operations, maintenance, sourcing and recycling policies, certification systems and OSH quality standards. This is especially relevant for sectors such as construction, waste recycling, solar energy production and biomass processing. 

Content courtesy of ILO.
More information is available on their website.

ON OFFER

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SCnSP – Illusion/Paradox of Control

♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies and the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance. It’s time we re-examine the “power to influence” (control) as opposed to the “capacity to have an effect on” (influence) with respect to Safety Behaviour.

The Illusion / Paradox of Control

(Are we in control of Safety Behaviour?)

Illusion and Paradox of Control text as a graphic

I have written about this before – the issue of control and influence. It is such an important aspect of our work in safety that, when I read Seth Godin’s post[1] on the subject, it stimulated me to put a safety spin on what he wrote.

We have this “idea that we are in control“, that through policies and procedures we can ensure zero harm. It drives our Safety Management efforts. It fuels our “compelling belief” that this year we will reach our safety targets. It opens the door to consultants who try to convince us that if we just use their system, we’ll get exactly the silver bullet we have been looking for.

It’s like we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. I mean, the reality is that “we’re never in control, not of anything“. Instead, we should strive to view all our efforts as a means to try to influence safe behaviours. As in the “service business“, this is “a tough sell” for the safety professional.

Seth ends his post with these punchlines:

  • When the illusion of control collides with the reality of influence, it highlights the fable the entire illusion is based on.
  • and
  • You’re responsible for what you do, but you don’t have authority and control over the outcome. We can hide from that, or we can embrace it.

I would like to end my post with these thoughts:

  • Control contains a peculiar paradox. The more you impose control, the less control you have, because it removes accountability from someone who should own the responsibility in the first place. [2]
  • and
  • When you no longer push the buttons or use the tools, you should become a servant to those who do! [3]

ACTION

Think about what you do.

How much of what you and your team of safety professionals do is:

  • Tell, command, prescribe, lay down the rules / policy / procedures, set the standards, …
  • Audit / police against the above.
  • Collect, report on information to justify what already has happened.
  • Reactive to incidents, accidents, near hits (misses), short cuts, …
  • Sitting in your office behind a desk.

Or are you

  • Embracing the reality of influencing with trust and integrity.
  • Listening, supporting, helping, caring, recognising, respecting, empowering those you serve.
  • Encouraging them to take responsibility for their own safety at work and at home.

[1]  “The Illusion of Control“, by Seth Godin

[2]  from “Beyond Management“, by Etsko Schuitema

[3]  from “Life EduAction“, by Jürgen Tietz

RELATED READING

“Year-End Take Safety Home Message”

“Influence of Frontline Personnel”

“Your Safety Dream”

“People”

“Safety as a Value”

“Fire! Fire! Fire!”

“Ukuhlanya”

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GM – Out of the Blue

♦♦♦   ROAD SAFETY   ♦♦♦

Out of the Blue

accidents are caused

I have been preaching: “Accidents don’t just happen – they are caused by someone choosing to do the wrong thing or choosing not to do the right thing“. This could be via design, maintenance, use, disposal, or an outright, deliberate choice to break the rules or to take a short cut.

But, what if you are the victim of such action, an innocent passer-by, in the wrong place at the wrong time? Here is a story of a young couple on holiday in the USA:

“Tonight we had a really, really close shave. I was driving and we’d just pulled up to a petrol station, when, I kid you not, literally a few seconds later, an out of control car came hurtling out of nowhere from the intersection, smashing us into the petrol station pump. The driver, it later turns out, was very high, drunk and out of his mind. Some very nice gentlemen from the Louisiana State Troopers got hold of and arrested him a bit later.

We got out of the car ok. Jess, being on the passenger side, is a lot more bruised than I am, but luckily no battery sparks or the like and luckily the pump’s fail-safe kicked in and the flow of petrol, except that from our car’s tank, was automatically cut off immediately.

It was very close though … the terror of having yourself and your wife slammed into a petrol pump by an oncoming car. Also, I can now fairly confidently say, never rent the cheapest cars that are short a safety feature, airbag or reinforced side door here or there; and please award a Nobel Prize for the person who invented side airbags.”

Photo showing the vehicle smashed into the fuel pump at the gas station

Accidents happen every day. The reason this particular accident touched me deeply is because the young people involved are my son and his wife.

As with so many road accidents, natural disasters / events or crime incidents, they can (and do) happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone, for no reason at all. There is little that the ‘victim’ can do about it. Well, let me rephrase that: there is little the ‘victim’ can do about preventing the random event.

You can, however, take pro-active measures to minimise the impact of an incident and the ‘luck factor’ [1]. Unfortunately, unless you’re with the Navy Seals or have access to sophisticated behaviour modification training, there is little effective training to deal with being a victim of such an event. Thinking and being aware are your best defences. Of course, there is no fail proof solution, but here are a few things we all, as individuals, can do:

ACTION

  • Think about ‘What If’ scenarios, the consequences and what you can do to minimise the risk should any of those scenarios materialise.
  • Look at your ‘Near Hits’. Ask what happened, why it happened (dig down by repeating this question a number of times) and, most importantly, what you can do to prevent it from happening again – or at least to reduce the damage or injuries.
  • Be alert to your surroundings and actions. Use the traffic light rules:
    • Be aware of your green = safe situations, like being at home and relaxing in a safe environment.
    • When leaving home and getting onto the roads your awareness level should change to amber = pay attention, slow down and look for possible danger.
    • When drawing money at an ATM or approaching a hijacking hot-spot or in a crowded area, you should be at a red level of awareness = eyes in the back of your head.
  • Don’t be merely a ‘passenger’ – speak up when you see someone taking a chance or breaking the rules, like going down the killer road of F-S-D = FATIGUE-SPEED-DEVIATION (including drink / drugs).  
    “The mirror we hold up to the person next to us is one of the most important pictures he / she will ever see.”
    — Seth Godin
  • When buying or renting or merely borrowing someone else’s stuff, consider the safety features of that piece of equipment – guarding, trips and fuses, alarms, isolation features, air bags, etc.

In a future safety tip, I will deal with due diligence, HIRA and the topic of building safety into the design of plant and equipment.

 

[1]  Luck and safety don’t belong in the same equation. You cannot drive your safety efforts by relying on luck.

RELATED MATERIAL

Taking your eye off the ball / road / task

It’s My Mistake

Road Safety – Take Safety Home

Walking the Circle of Safety

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D1STEM – Prevention rather than cure

♦ SERIES ♦    DO ONE SAFETY THING EACH MONTH    ♦ SERIES ♦

I like to “Keep it simple” and this is often part of my advice. For this month’s activity, I strongly recommend you do keep it simple or else you may find yourself caught in analysis paralysis.

Prevention
Rather Than Cure

Think. Accidents are avoidable.

Analyse your safety efforts – how much of it is policing, rather than pro-active prevention and improvement?

A good safety approach constitutes a balance between systems and procedures, safety equipment and people’s actions and behaviour. Compliance and corrective action are less effective than prevention and pro-active action.

Improve the design and operation of safety efforts to reduce the remaining risk, before an incident forces you to do it.

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SCnSP – Ukuhlanya

♦♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦♦

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies and the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance. It’s time to tackle the  safety dilemma / paradox  of our times with a  disruptive approach to safety.

UKUHLANYA[1]

(Safety Paradox and Disruptive Safety)

How do you review your Safety Plan?

Let me give you some essential background before I suggest the actions.

It started when I realised that, for most of our plans, it is a case of insanity i.e. doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result[2].

Expectations have changed drastically, both for employers and employees. Employers expect more skills and competencies and at the same time more engagement and contribution from employees. Employees want more freedom in how they fulfil those expectations. It’s time to “acknowledge that the old method of productivity, of being a good employee by obediently doing what you are told, is obsolete. Our job is to figure out what’s next and to bring the ideas and resources to the table to make it happen.”[3]

graphic depicting lack of einspruchsrecht i.e. consultation

In addition, people have a much shorter attention span in these times of hashtags, selfies, iPhones and iPads. We have distorted the priority scale with the habit of responding immediately to the ring / tweet / vibration of the hand-held device. We have developed an attitude of “I want it and I want it now!” and people’s behaviour has changed accordingly. People are tired of posters, pamphlets and papers. The old systems of toolbox talks, presentations and preaching procedures no longer work that well. There is a new generation of employees who demand “einspruchsrecht”[4] and full engagement.

The Safety Dilemma.

In this age of disruptive change, we have to do things better, faster, cheaper and safer or risk going out of business. We have to have people on board who think and create safety improvements. We have to let them experiment – try it, fix it and make it work. We have to make information-enabling technology available so as to free them up to do what they do best, like thinking, creating, etc. The technology must engender independence not dependence, dependence being when you get what I call the “auto pilot syndrome” = pilots who can no longer fly themselves out of an emergency.

At the same time, we want people to manage the risks and to not take chances. We want people to look-to-see and listen-to-hear. So, we have to enforce our cardinal or lifesaving rules and, in the process, pile on a myriad of procedures, instructions and standards. For example, to avoid traffic accidents, keep to the left, drive a road worthy vehicle, be a competent, licensed driver and obey the road signs are non-negotiable!

Ultimately, for most, safety becomes a compliance issue: measure injury rates, deviations from procedures, near ‘misses’, non-compliant behaviour, etc. When the fear-based compliance manifests, we are unhappy. We want people to do the right thing because it is the safe thing to do, not because they’re going to be caught and / or fined.

We want to keep it safe and simple but we still need to be in control. It is a tough balance to strike.

Control contains a peculiar paradox.
The more you impose control, the less control you have,
because it removes accountability from someone who should own the responsibility in the first place
.”[5]

The Safety Plan.

In most organizations, there is a fear of failure and thus things take too long, changes are analysed to death, projects are too intimidating and the approval levels are far too high up the hierarchy. The end result is that people get ‘busy’ with activities like meetings, investigations, proposals, etc. which do not actually produce an outcome. At the end of the day, the “big change” project on the safety plan just gets stuck – the ‘elephant’ cannot move, despite the best efforts of the ‘rider’. The ‘path’ becomes muddied.[6]

To get around this, we need to shrink the changes into smaller, bite sizes and rally the herd to drive safety forward. If we can invent, launch and complete projects in days, instead of weeks or months, its way more likely that these projects will be more relevant at the plant / team level.

If you want your employees to get enthusiastic about safety, give them something ‘they can take home’ and be proud of = something they accomplished. One hundred small projects, completed at this level, are worth much more than one big project battling to get traction.

ACTION

  • Instead of a grand revision of your safety improvement plan, go for a  Just Do Something SAFE™[7]  safety culture. Get your teams / plants to create their own safety projects. Carry out campaigns themed on “any cause, anytime, anywhere” that are safety-related, within their means and can be completed within days.
    I am not going to give you a template or a hundred examples, as that defeats the object of you owning this disruptive safety approach. I will, however, share with you a few trigger ideas: paint the workshop floor, erect a handrail, review and renew safety signs, clean out the store room, spring clean ‘my own work space’ week.
    Your challenge is to rally the herd using suitable encouragement and recognition.
  • If the above approach is too disruptive for you, then review your safety plan, but do not use the “Moses Approach”.[8]
    Consult your key stakeholders in safety, including SHE Reps, at their place of work – a kind of “Road Hear” (not “Show”) or “lekgotla”. Get them to tell you about their safety expectations, key safety issues, any quick hits and what they want to see happen. These sessions should be facilitated by a skilled, independent person and the outcome should be communicated back to all stakeholders, within a week or two.

ps. I am able and willing to facilitate either of these actions for you and to share some tools and techniques to manage the process. (T&C’S apply)

REFERENCE

[1]   “Ukuhlanya” = “insanity” in isiZulu

[2]   Albert Einstein, German physicist (1879-1955)

[3]   Seth Godin – sundry, thought-provoking posts

[4]   “Einspruchsrecht” = “the right of people to partake in decisions which affect them”, a German expression

[5]   “Beyond Management”, by Etsko Schuitema

[6]   Analogy from “Switch”, by Chip and Dan Heath

[7]   Spring-boarding on DoSomething, which is a stellar success, a fast-growing non-profit that’s engaging with millions of young people around the world.

[8]   “Moses Approach” = where leaders huddle together in the boardroom to work out the new vision, strategy, plan or some other directive, based on assumptions, and which they expect the troops to eagerly embrace without having been consulted about what is actually required.

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GM – Road Safety – A Year-End “Take Safety Home” Message 2 – Let’s Save Lives

♦♦♦    Road Safety    ♦♦♦

Year-End Take Safety Home Message #2

The problem of texting whilst driving is of such concern to me that I simply must send a plea for driver mindfulness, not only for year-end, but for every day!

Let’s Save Lives

It’s a toss-up, nowadays, as to which is the more important message: “Don’t Drink & Drive” or “Don’t Text & Drive” or should we now say “Don’t Drink & Text & Drive” ?

But, since the former is virtually a cliché these days, my plea revolves around cell phone usage whilst driving (which even sober drivers are inclined to do).

graphic of vidclip snapshot with link to vidclip You may have already heard of or watched this documentary, “From One Second To The Next” by Werner Herzog. It’s about texting and driving. But if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth checking out. The documentary is well done and drives home in a personal way the pain and anguish texting and driving can cause.
graphic of vidclip snapshot with link to vidclip Mobile (cell phone) use is now the leading cause of death behind the wheel.

ACTION

Organise safety sessions to be held just before the majority of personnel take to the roads for their year-end break. Show them the video clips and hand out Road Safety Cookies to bring the message home.

RELATED MATERIAL

Road Safety – Year-End “Take Safety Home” Message
Manslaughter or murder?

ON OFFER

Road Safety Cookies

graphic of Road Safety Cookie with stop road sign

Unusual (and tasty) handouts to bring the Road Safety message home to your personnel and their families. They are branded with road safety signs and the cookie inserts contain road safety messages. They can be customised to suit your needs. One idea is to make up a small parcel of Road Safety cookies for each employee to “Take Safety Home” for the holidays.Road Safety Cookies™ have been specifically branded with road safety signs and the cookie inserts are road safety messages.
There are many ways to use this COOL TOOL™.

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