Search Results for: Einspruchsrecht

SCnSP – Moving the Elephant


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.

Leveraging the whY factor to move the elephant.

Moving the Elephant

It’s all about the whY factor

sketch of an elephant and definition of purpose

Some of the most often asked questions I come across in safety are:

  • Why don’t people follow the rules?
  • Why don’t people engage with us?
  • Why don’t people use the system / PPE / safety equipment / … ?
  • Why don’t people use their common sense?

People know what to do. If they have been around for over six months, are competent and trained, they know what to do (this includes, when, where and who). They also know how to do it. The rules, procedures and standards exist.

The answer to the above questions lies in the whY factor. Once people understand and accept why something has to be done, the what and the how follow. The whY factor is what moves the elephant.

It’s not hard to do the right thing –
it’s hard to know what the right thing is.
Once you know, once you know what’s right –
it’s hard not to do it.[1]

Often, the O-generation does not understand the (wh)Y-generation = insisting on ‘knowing why’.[2]  But part of to know what the right thing is, is understanding why it’s the right thing. The whY factor is the emotional component of doing things. When one gives people einspruchsrecht, i.e. the right to partake in decisions which affect them, one inevitably provides the why.

We have to give people the purpose
in return for engagement and creativity,
even though we might argue that safety is common sense.


If you’re asking “Why don’t people … ?”, then you have a whY factor problem. You should be rephrasing your safety question to “Do my people understand and accept the purpose, the why, we have to do the right things?” This is a much tougher question, because it creates a shift from blame to action.

[1]   From the movie “The Confession

[2]   “O” = older and “Y” = younger / millenials


“Safety as a Value”

“The Best Audits”

“Safety Fever”


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SCnSP – Ukuhlanya


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.


(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

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.


  • 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)


[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.


Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

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SCnSP – Safety First … Really?


In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies. One of the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance is to assist our frontline managers as they strive to pilot for success on the wings of safety.


The Frontline Influence on Safety Culture

Wherever I go, I hear Safety First. I have yet to come across a company where people will say safety comes second or, heaven forbid, last. They all say safety comes first, because it is the right thing to say, especially in a formal audit. It is also the message that you find in the mission statements, values and other directives generated in the board rooms.

But, what happens, there, where the cookies are made and the rubber hits the road? Does safety come first at the coal face and on the shop floor?

Often, in reality, at the heat of the furnace or in the back alleys of the factory or at the thumping production press or deep underground at the end of the night shift, safety does not come first. For those people who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’ and those who directly manage them, it is a different story. Safety has to compete with many other issues and priorities.

You might be thinking, “Has Jürgen gone nuts? Is this man who lives and preaches safety making concessions?”

Let me explain.

In most companies, there are a multitude of thrusts (often 20 or more) pushed down the organisation to drive the business forward – output, costs, quality, productivity and continuous improvement, personal performance and empowerment, research and development, to name but a few. Then there are compliance issues, laws and regulations, systems and procedures and hundreds of rules and standards, plus the need for accreditation and branding. Each department in head office, including Safety, issues instructions, requests for information and sundry other requirements. All of this has a direct and overwhelming impact on frontline managers and their teams. One of the most frequent complaints I get from this level is that they are ‘forced’ to manage on their seats instead of on their feet and that output and costs are most important!

"First and second line managers are the critical links in bringing a company’s culture to life. At Pfizer, these frontline managers strongly influence the day-to-day working environment of about 80 percent of colleagues."[1]

I could not agree more, especially a company’s safety culture.

The best way to describe the job of the frontline manager is to compare it to that of a surgeon. The surgeon cuts open the patient on the operating table to remove a tumour. He/she has to keep an eye on the vital signs, watch out for bleeding, make instant decisions and balance all the options. There is no time to read the manual and there are no second chances.

In a similar manner, safety is just one of many concerns that the frontline manager needs to take into consideration. This means that we have a responsibility to help the frontline managers to manage the total risk and balance the priorities within the limited resources at their disposal. Why? Simply because, often, when safety is held in the balance against, for example, production, it is the safety ball that will be dropped as it is perceived to have the least direct consequences. This is a tough call for us safety professionals, especially when it comes to influencing and supporting the safety culture at the frontline.

For many years I have used the analogy of an airplane to illustrate to the people who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’ how all these business elements, including safety, need to work together in order for the company to prosper.

picture of an airplane showing how various business elements work together for prosperity

The engines are those things which drive the business forward and result in profit. These are normally Output, Costs, People, Continuous Improvement and the like. Depending on the kind of business, sales & marketing, research & development and customer service & support also add to the profits. The key message here is balance in the thrust provided by all the engines. You cannot fly if you put all the power on say the Cost engine and throttle the other engines in the process.

The airframe consists of the wings and the fuselage. The wings represent safety and support the engines. The wings have to be strong and flexible at the same time. In addition to that, the wings provide the lift, critical for the plane to remain airborne and reach a safe cruising level.

Safety does not directly contribute to profits,
but it supports all those activities that do

The fuselage consists of those items which you will normally find in the company’s values and mission statements. These include Quality, Care & Respect, Fairness, Honesty & Integrity, Communication, Teamwork, Excellence, Accountability & Reliability, Innovation & Creativity and Recognition & Rewards.

The dashboard of the airplane shows the pilot (frontline manager) the target – what is the destination, cruising height & speed, direction, as well as other critical parameters. In order to use this information, there has to be constant measurement and feedback to the pilot so that appropriate action can be taken timeously to ensure a safe flight.


  • Use the above analogy of an airplane to explain to all employees why safety plays such a key role, but that it also has to be balanced with all the other priorities.
  • Organise facilitated workshops with the frontline managers to ask them what you, as safety professionals, should be doing to help them with SAFETY. Give them “Einspruchsrecht”[2].
  • Change your approach to toolbox / safety talks. Rather than glossing over safety for a few minutes every day at the start of shift / production meetings, hold a specific session once a week or once every two weeks and dedicate half an hour to focus purely on safety. Prepare a number of specific toolbox talks for the frontline manager to use to focus on safety.[3]

[1]    “Shape your culture, shape your company’s future“, Ian C Read, Pfizer.
[2]    “Einspruchsrecht” – a person’s right to partake in decisions which affect him/her.
[3]    DIY Safety


Put on An Overall

Under the Knife

Toolbox Talks – Ask me for help with these, in need.


Your feedback and comments are always welcome! Drop me a line!

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SCnSP – Vote for Safety


In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies. One of the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance is to get employees to fully commit to safety because they know they are empowered to make a difference when it comes to safety in the workplace. COOL TOOL™ Vote For Safety™ is a most effective process to achieve just this.

COOL TOOL™ Vote For Safety™

A Process of Engaging All Your Employees

Now is the right time to ride on the wave of election fever. Political parties of all shapes and sizes were abuzz trying to woo voters. The streets are still plastered with papers, posters and promises; flags, banners and T-shirts could be seen everywhere; campaigns, rallies and toyi-toyi were the order of the day; manifestos, interviews and empty rhetoric in the media. More than enough.

However, there is a positive spin-off for us safety practitioners. We can use this political model and the energy created and channel that into safety.

Why do we vote?

Each one of us believes it is our right and civil duty to contribute to who and how the country is run. Most of us trust our vote will make a difference. This is the springboard for safety. Employees must be empowered (and know they are empowered) to make a difference in safety. The best way to empower people is to give them Einspruchsrecht – the right to partake in decisions which affect them, especially in safety.

picture of Cool Tool Vote for Safety with people at the voting booths
picture of Cool Tool Vote for Safety with people at the ballot boxes

The COOL TOOL™ Vote For Safety™ is a most effective process to achieve just this.

We don’t have to train people how to vote. The IEC has done that for us already. We can engage everyone, from the shopfloor to the boardroom. People know that each vote carries the same weight, whether it is the CEO’s or the janitor’s.

Voting is the ultimate way of hearing the people’s voice. The cherry on the top is that, through voting, we can get commitment to safety“We voted for this!”

Using Vote For Safety™, we empower the SHE Reps to become active safety employees. The outcome of the voting lays a powerful foundation to develop a set of non-negotiables and / or for input into a safety improvement program / strategy.

picture saying Take Action and showing a Cool Tool Vote for Safety poster
  • Go to the S.H.E. ATM to watch the COOL TOOL™ Vote For Safety™ video clip and get more information. See what participants have to say about it while you’re there.
  • Brief the management about the concept of Vote For Safety™ and ensure their buy-in. This includes the need for them to take this effort seriously, for absolute transparency and their unconditional acceptance of the results of the voting.
  • Set an election date and ensure that people are given time to go and vote on that day.
  • Brief all employees about Vote For Safety™ – what is the purpose and management’s commitment to the process – WHY, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHO and HOW.
  • Appoint a champion / owner who must assemble a team of election officials, observers, etc. and thus drive the process. This is best done by empowering the SHE Reps to elect the “Chief Safety Election Officer” and “Safety Election Officials”. The safety officers should take up the “Safety Election Observer / Advisor” role.
  • The ballot paper is critical to the voting process. Agree on the outcome of the voting process and how to structure the ballot paper.

    Contact me to help you** facilitate Vote For Safety™ and empower the “Chief Safety Election Officer” (She Rep) to present the ballot paper to management for sign off.


Your feedback and comments are always welcome! Drop me a line!

Copyright: Jürgen Tietz
** COOL TOOL™ Vote for Safety™ Process: All rights reserved.

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GM – Your Safety Nkandla

♦♦♦    Your Safety Nkandla    ♦♦♦

ANC (Always Neat Cover-up) LESSONS


I don’t want to go into the politics of Nkandla, as there are already so many (in)competent politicians and sideline spectators commenting on this fiasco. Thuli has done the detailed investigation and has put the cat amongst the pigeons.

There are, however, some basic lessons to be learned from the Nkandla debacle with respect to Safety Improvement Plans. What Nkandla is highlighting for us is the lack of 101 in Project Planning, or to put it differently, how not to run and manage your safety improvement efforts.

a view of Nkandla

A useful checklist to ensure you don’t end up with your own Nkandlagate:

  • Do you have a detailed Safety Improvement Plan in place and are you, in fact, using it?
  • Are the overall objectives of your plan crystal clear and have they been translated into requirements, together with constraints, dimensions and limitations? Do you really need a chicken run, cattle kraal or swimming pool to improve (your) safety?
  • Have you done the 4R‘s test of goal setting?
  • Is the plan broken down in clear and detailed steps / milestones and sub-projects?
  • Have you done a  R-A-C-I  for your plan?
    • Are the Responsibilities clearly defined and accepted for each of these sub-projects?
    • Who ultimately owns / is Accountable and given full Einspruchsrecht**, especially those who have a vested interest in the outcome?
    • Have all the stake holders of the plan been Consulted for the plan – where does the buck stop?
    • Have all those who are affected by or involved in the implementation of the plan been Informed about the W-W-W-W-W-H**?
  • Is there ongoing review of progress against milestones, including cost reviews, so that timely action can be taken to rectify deviations from the plan?

** Einspruchsrecht  =  The right to partake in decisions which affect you.
** W-W-W-W-W-H  =  What, Why, When, Where, Who, How


Review your Safety Improvement Plan (and other plans too) against the above six steps to avoid an Nkandlagate in your safety department.


Your feedback and comments are always welcome! Drop me a line!

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D1STEM – Your Safety Monument


If you do just one thing a month to change the safety mind-set, in one year you will have done 12 things to raise safety awareness. Every month you will receive one such SAFETY TIP.


Safety is an ongoing journey, along stepping stones, towards your goal. A safety monument is a practical and visual way to get the message across that every person’s involvement is important and required in order to achieve that goal.

It can be a wall, or a path, as long as the stones remain visible.

Stepping stones to safety

I favour a “pathway of stepping stones”, taking you towards your goal. And whether a path or a wall or some other monument is used, what is KEY is the concept of involving all employees by getting them to bring one stone from home to add their bit to SAFETY at their place of work. They can even write their names on their stone.

To make it a living monument, this could become part of the new employee safety induction, where each new employee brings a stone to add to the path or wall.

This could be taken even further by involving the Safety Reps in shaping and owning this process and keeping it alive – give them Einspruchsrecht[1].

[1]   Einspruchsrecht = inspraaksreg = the right to partake in a decision.


Isibopho whistle and green card - safety - recognition

… goes out to Francois Du Toit of Sasol Polymers for the idea of building a safety monument out of stones.
… and also to Trevor Naicker and Gert Kriel who built on the idea and came up with the concept of making it a wall or a pathway, so that the stones remain visible and a person can point to “his” / “her” stone.


Get loads more SAFETY TIPS when you buy my KNOCK-OUT SAFETY TIPS! CD from my DIY SAFETY COOL TOOL™ range of products. More info available here.

Ask me about the ISIBOPHO Whistle and Red-Green Cards.


As always, I welcome your comments and feedback!

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Vote for Safety™ Process



Vote for Safety by Jurgen Tietz

In order to make the motto “Safety First” a reality in an organization, employees must be empowered (and know they are empowered) to make a difference in safety.

One of the ways to empower people is to give them “Einspruchsrecht” – the right to partake in decisions which affect them, including safety.

COOL TOOL™ VOTE FOR SAFETY™ is a registered process by means of which management provides all employees with the opportunity to add value to safety efforts. It starts with a poster campaign and culminates in a voting day where all employees cast a vote for safety.

The VOTE FOR SAFETY™ process gets all employees engaged in safety. It is driven by elected safety representatives and the key is the ballot paper.

GM – SAFETY FEVER! – Let Nature Guide You


When I stood in the garden this morning, I marvelled at nature’s awesome ability to renew itself. Nature shows us the power of taking a rest in winter, of cutting out dead wood and shedding leaves and converting it all to compost. Nature puts all its energy into new growth, into refreshing the environment with a splendour of colour and fragrance, getting everyone excited and engaged in life once more.



— Let Nature Guide You —

There are important safety lessons to be learnt from nature’s spring spectacle: Take a rest. Consolidate what you already have in place. Go back to basics. Make sure the foundation is sound. This is an audit approach with a twist.

I am not an advocate for spring cleaning because I believe that one should clean up after each job and on a daily basis. Neither do I support the ‘spring fever’ approach – a BIG fanfare, with lots of paper & posters and little ACTION. These often are a ‘flavour of the month’ and short lived. What you do need is a program of stepping stones for the coming season.

Spring is in the air

Doing novel and unique things as part of your program of stepping stones will make a sustainable difference. Vigorously add freshness and colour and get everyone engaged. Hold work stoppages to show your employees that leaders are serious about safety. Celebrate your safety champions and share the pockets of excellence throughout the year, not only during spring time!

Cut out dead wood. Purposefully search for those systems and procedures which are no longer relevant, or which never served a purpose in the first place, or where there is too much complexity. Keep it SIMPLE.

Talk and listen to the people who you expect to follow your rules, procedures and standards. Give them “Einspruchsrecht”(a). Check if employees understand, accept and adhere to rules, procedures and standards. Make sure your book of rules does not merely serve as shelf decoration.


Nothing will get done unless you make it a full time job, make somebody (like one of your safety officials) responsible for getting rid of deadwood and for setting up a timetable to review all safety systems, procedures, rules and critical job instructions. Give those who are affected by all of these the right to partake in decisions which affect them. This goes way beyond the traditional job observation approach.

The appointed person should also identify gaps and shortcomings of existing operations which should be embraced by suitable safeguards. The overall purpose should be to SIMPLIFY, not to add to the complexity, rules or regulations.

(a)  Einspruchsrecht”  =  A person’s right to partake in decisions which affect him/her.


Safety on a Shoestring Budget – Addressing Problems

Safety as a Value

Safety for Safety’s Sake


Your feedback and comments are always welcome! Drop me a line!

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