Search Results for: Meetings

SCnSP So Many Meetings, So Little Time

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Aug 2012

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety is an Issue for Most Companies, or, putting it differently, Things we Must Address if we Want to Improve our Safety Performance. Under the microscope today is our effective (or not!) use of time, in particular when it comes to meetings.

     

So Many Meetings, So Little Time

Picture: Panel of experts in a meeting

     

All of us have to deal with meetings in one form or another and, to a larger or lesser extent, for all of our lives. Especially in safety, meetings seem to be a primary mode of operation for many companies. If they have a safety issue / problem / incident, they organise a meeting.

Meetings can be a blessing or a curse. A blessing, if they are well run, productive and achieve the results we are looking for and cannot otherwise achieve. A curse if they are not necessary, turn out to be a waste of time, involve mostly hot air (talking), create confusion and do not lead to people taking responsibility, especially for ACTION.

Most people suffer from the meeting paradox: “We don’t have time to prepare for effective meetings, because we spend too much time in ineffective meetings.”

Time is the most precious resource we have and, the more senior your position, the more precious it becomes. We all have this finite resource of 24 hours, relentlessly ticking by. That is why it is such a tragedy that people waste it in unproductive meetings. If you do not believe me, have a look at this short video for some horrifying facts and figures around meetings.

I believe that every company would greatly benefit from employing a

meeting “PIMP” = “Performance Improvement and Measuring Professional”.

In terms of the law (OHAS ACT 85 OF 1993 S17 – S19 and MHAS ACT 29 OF 1996 S25 and S35) we have no option. We MUST have safety committees and therefore meet. However, how we do this and how well we use this time is up to us.

The biggest problem is that we do not prepare for these meetings and that the members of the safety committees (this applies equally well to other committees and meetings) do not play their proper role in these meetings.
As a general rule, 50% of the time should be spent preparing for the meeting (including thinking time), 20% attending and partaking in the meeting and the remaining 30% to take action and follow up on and close out agreed actions.
Furthermore, we do not make it crystal clear who owns the action, what the result should look like and by when the action should be completed. Often, it is not even clear who owns each item on the agenda.

ACTION

Resolve TODAY to take the necessary action to transform your meetings from a curse to a blessing.

My guidelines for effective meetings will assist you with this.

free
Download

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Graham Edwards for planting the seed and so inspiring me to write about time vs meetings in relation to safety.

ON OFFER

Picture: COOL TOOL Facilitation Playing Cards
COOL TOOL™ Facilitation Playing Cards

These playing cards encourage thinking and participation by all during meetings and when planning critical work. Cards are a fun medium with which everyone is familiar and do not require special skills, thus removing barriers to use. The 52 cards cover Communication and Understanding, Thinking and Shortcuts, Attitude and Recognition, Responsibility and Planning.

Enquire here

Why not let me be the “Meeting PIMP at your next safety committee meeting at the EXCO level.   To take advantage of this offer, answer my 10 Questions about your operation’s safety needs and send them to me.

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SCnSP – I wanna lend a hand, send me

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Feb 2018
     

“I wanna lend a hand: send me”

(Matemela’s Call)

I wanna lend a hand send me

     

I have yet to find a company which doesn’t put “Safety First” or something similar, like “Zero Harm / Injuries”, as one of its core values. They all do – nobody disputes that safety is central to running their business. However, when it comes to putting these slogans into practice, it’s a different story.

Imagine you are an H&S Rep who volunteered or was appointed, without compensation, to represent the workers in terms of safety. Amongst others, your functions are to inspect the workplace, identify potential hazards, investigate complaints and link up with management. You’re really keen and you “wanna lend a hand” to improve safety in your work area, but all you can do is inspect the work place, report the safety issues and attend safety meetings. Other than that, most of the time, you have to go back to your co-workers empty-handed, armed with just the excuse of: “We don’t have the time and /or the money” … to fix this or improve that, implement that suggestion, do more training, or a litany of other issues which co-workers may have raised.

What does that say to your H&S Reps and their co-workers?

In leadership, honesty and complete integrity are absolutely critical, because people only follow someone they trust and respect. To earn trust and respect you have to show honesty and integrity. People know and see the truth. They can handle the truth, even if it isn’t good news.

Employees look at the time and money you spend on safety to judge how serious you are. Don’t say “Safety First” and then in the next breath “We are freezing our safety expenses”. Admit it. Companies always find the time and the money for what is truly “first” or important to them.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

Heed the call of your H&S Reps, which our new president, Matemela Cyril Ramaphosa, has so aptly verbalised in Parliament: “I wanna lend a hand, send me“.

Give them the “balls and tools” they need to make “Safety First” a reality. Get them educated and empowered with our in-house workshops.

ESSENTIAL LINKS

Icon: Jurgen-Antzi with a mike

The Safety Rep’s Survival Guide  –  what it is and why you need it

Let me help your staff reflect upon, recommit to and be responsible for championing your safety culture.

Search the S.H.E. ATM  –  for safety and wellness answers, tools and methods

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SCnSP – The Snooze Button

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Jan 2018
     

The  Snoo-zzz-zzz-e  Button

Delaying action

clock ticking countdown tick-tock

     

Growing up in Namibia, I spent many of my holidays on my grandparents’ farm, which is in the arid areas of the country. There was no electricity and every drop of water had to be pumped from a borehole. This didn’t worry my grandfather in the least. Regardless of the season, he was up every morning before sunrise, when the old cuckoo clock struck four, and in the kitchen making coffee, before heading out to attend to the work of the day.

He didn’t press a snooze button. In fact, I doubt he ever set an alarm clock. His motto was: “Today, Not Tomorrow”. He knew that when it’s time to plough, that’s what you do, because the rains don’t have a snooze button. The same went for the cows. When they came into the kraal in the early morning, it was milking time. No hitting the snooze button.

The snooze button is an invention which encourages the poor habit of delaying unavoidable action. Pressing the snooze button buys one a few extra minutes’ sleep, but doesn’t make a difference in the long run. Instead of hitting the ground running, we fall prey to this folly of delayed action, which often results in things taking longer in the end. Every time we choose “I-can-do-that-later”, we waste time picking up the thread and re-focussing.

In safety, there are a number of things that, like the rain and milking cows, don’t have a snooze button. Opportunity and risk are two examples. Opportunity normally has a short timeframe and if you press snooze, in most cases, you will lose. The expression: “There will always be another opportunity” is loser’s language. The same goes for risk. Once you have identified it, you have to deal with it, because you can’t put a risky situation on hold. Actually, if you don’t take swift action you will likely create an even bigger risk by breeding complacency.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

Take time NOW to think about your personal snooze buttons.

Questions you can ask yourself:

  • What (and why) will you put off this year?
  • How often do you say to yourself: “I don’t have time now, I’ll do it later”?
  • How often do you allow your work to be disrupted?
  • How frequently do you allow yourself to be distracted from what you are busy with?
  • Have you ever taken note of how many times you use your Inbox, or phones, or meetings as snooze buttons, thereby delaying making decisions, taking charge, seizing an opportunity and choosing to take action?

ESSENTIAL LINKS

Disruptive Safety™ and The Safety Rep’s Survival Guide  –  what it is and why you need it

Let me help your staff reflect upon, recommit to and be responsible for championing your safety culture.

Search the S.H.E. ATM  –  for safety and wellness answers, tools and methods

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SCnSP – Running Like Hell and Panting Like Crazy

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Nov 2016
     

Running like hell, panting like crazy

What it takes to be a “top dog” …
… doing instead of talking

Picture: panting like crazy

     

Do you feel like you’re running like hell and panting like crazy … and getting nowhere? Then this one is for you, whether you are a CEO or a frontline manager. At each level, you are a leader in your own right. In fact, at home, in your family and in your community you are a leader, without appointment or position – merely by your actions.

There are thousands of books, written on leadership.
My take on leadership is simple and practical.

Leadership is what you believe, what you see, what you hear, what you read and learn, but, most of all, what you do:

  • the movement you create by the action you take (because words rarely change things);
  • the trust you create – envision, change, simplify, know and innovate;
  • the integrity you show – listen, respect, recognise, care and relate;
  • the way you deal with accountability – fix, coach, build, help, empower and expect results.

Leaders don’t wait for instructions – they provide direction.

If you are spending your time in meetings, instructing, prescribing, following up, chasing, checking, reviewing, supervising and, in general, trying to control what other people are or should be doing, then you are not leading, but managing [1]. You are most probably running like hell and panting like crazy.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

Do work that matters.
Care about how what you do impacts on others.
Protect and grow your people, balance priorities with resources, empower your people, make them think and then get out of their way.

Stand back, take a helicopter view, educate and empower and move your people from dependence to interdependence.
Why? There’ll be less running and panting and definitely more positive results.

[1]    You manage/handle horses, not people! Manage comes from manege ‹ Italian maneggiare to handle, train (horses), derivative of mano ‹ Latin manus hand. Present use, to be in charge of, run, be head of, head, direct, control, preside over, lead, govern, rule, command, superintend, supervise, oversee, administer, organise, conduct, handle, take forward, guide, be at the helm of.

RELATED LINKS

Purpose” from the series “Safety on a Shoestring Budget

Safety as a Value – Leaders’ Roles and Responsibilities

Safety, for Safety’s Sake

Gupta Lessons

Action Speaks Louder Than Words

The Politics of Safety

Discipline and Passion

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SCnSP – What’s your real job?

♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
May 2016
     

What’s Your Real Job?

(as a Safety Professional)

graphic with text I'm just asking

     

Frequently, when I contact safety professionals, I am told: “We are busy with audits” or “I still have to do the monthly report” or “I am in a safety meeting” or “We are preparing for the EXCO”.
So, my challenge to you, as a safety professional, is:
Describe your real job in a paragraph or two, as if you were a safety consultant and had to sell your services to interested parties.
Now ask yourself: Would you pay a safety consultant for only doing audits, collecting figures, sitting in meetings, producing reports and being a safety accountant?

I know. You have to satisfy the needs of senior management, because they control the resources – pay your salary and approve your budget. Yes, there are legal stipulations which you have to comply with, in terms of reporting and ensuring the safety of employees. Yes, there’s work to be done to get and maintain your accreditation. And yes, you have a job description, with key performance areas in auditing and reporting.

Nonetheless, ask yourself: Who are your real clients? Does all the reporting, auditing and graphs you spend so much time on improve the safety culture? How much of what you do positively affects the employees – the people who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’ – directly? How much of what you do are ‘self-generated’ activities or distractions which you do because it seems the right thing to do?

Consider. If you are cook, what’s important is the meal you serve. If you are surgeon, what matters is your performance in the operating theatre. If you are speaker, your talk on the stage is what it’s all about.
Most professionals have to spend up to 90% of their time in preparing, ensuring quality, staying up-to-date and many other things. However, none of this matters if the meal is poor, the operation is botched up, or the talk makes no impact because we spent too much time on distractions, instead of the real purpose of our job.

Don’t allow yourself to get confused about which part of your job is really important, really worth your time, the actual point of the exercise, of providing safety support – the part which makes a real difference!

ACTION

Get clarity about what your real job is, then tackle it and deliver!

Look into the ‘integrity mirror’ and list your main tasks. Categorise them into Must Do (value-adding – someone is willing to pay for this), Nice To Have (not critical for safety) and Who Really Wants This (distraction / non-value adding).
If need be, go and rewrite your job description! You are the ‘safety cook’!

Ask the employees (not your managers):

  • How difficult are we making it for you to spend money on safety improvements?
  • How well are we listening, and reacting, to safety concerns or suggestions?
  • How easy is it for you to contact senior managers?
  • Do we give you permission to take action to make it safe?
  • How safety empowered are you and how do we know this?
  • What are we doing to improve and reinvent safety?
  • How good are our safety professionals?
  • What are we doing to support our SHE reps?
  • How much time are we spending on safety and how is that time spent?
  • How much of our safety efforts are re-active as opposed to pro-active?

RELATED READING

I’ve written about this issue a number of times, addressing it from different angles:

Mirror on the wall

Stretched thin

The illusion / paradox of control

I don’t have time

Safety first – really?

The best audits

What is your worth?

Under the knife

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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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SCnSP – Safety First … Really?

♦♦♦   SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE   ♦♦♦

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.

SAFETY FIRST … Really?

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.

ACTION

  • 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

RELATED LINKS

Put on An Overall

Under the Knife

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

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SCnSP – I Don’t Have Time

♦♦♦   SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE   ♦♦♦

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 look in the mirror and honestly assess the importance of safety.

I Don’t Have Time

The Number 1 Excuse For Not Getting Things Done

This is one of the most frequent excuses used by all of us, because we always have more things to do than time to do them in.

So, what determines whether or not something on the To-Do List will get time?
What gives one item the edge, the higher priority, over another item?
Compliance deadlines and fear of penalties or suspension of business?
Sure.
Hooray for  The  Fear  Factor.

But we all know that The Fear Factor will only get you so far. Though we may not want to admit it, there is no doubt in my mind that, busy or not, if something is important to you, you will “find the time” to do it. And that brings us to the subject of the other motivators –   Need  and  Desire.

picture depicting possible drivers fear and passion

The challenge for most Safety Professionals is how to move people from behaviour which is driven by fear to behaviour which is driven by need (fundamental) and/or desire (passion). Coupled with that is their (often) difficult task of getting management to invest valuable production time and other resources to achieve that objective.

When it comes to safety, fear will always be a motivator, to an extent. Who wants to die or be severely injured, or even handicapped for life?
Wouldn’t it be great, though, if the time we allocate to safe behaviour and practices and coaching was driven by a deep-seated passion to keep our employees and our peers and fellow-workers (and ourselves) safe from harm? To keep our environment and resources safe from harm?

Do you have the time for safety? How important is it to you? How passionate are you about creating and/or maintaining a safe workplace, home, community? Is safety in your company driven by fear, or is it driven by passion for people and the environment … or more by one than the other? And is it enough to make your co-workers invest personally in safety if you aren’t willing to invest the time?

… it’s never too late to change …

“If the past was not bright, then polish the future.”
Heather-Lynn Roberts

ACTION

  • Think before you use the “I don’t have time” excuse. All it says to people is that, although you say “Safety Is No. 1”, it really isn’t, thus wreaking havoc with your credibility.
  • Review your personal motivators for Safety. Plan your time to deal with the important things every day rather than get swamped by all the urgent stuff.
  • Review your co-workers’ and decision-makers’ motivators and find ways to move yourself and the people you work with from compliance-driven to passion-driven. Make sure that the adrenalin-junkies and risk-takers know to keep those drives out of the workplace.

RELATED READING

Stop Hiding

Politics of Safety – Time

So Many Meetings, So Little Time

Excuse List” – from the book Life EduAction by Jürgen Tietz

“Waiting at the Doctors – Time & Priorities” – from the book Life EduAction by Jürgen Tietz

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D1STEM – Stop Hiding

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

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.

THIS MONTH:    STOP HIDING
Start Listening To and Serving Your Employees

As leaders we should stop hiding:

picture depicting Stop hiding behind the excuse of no time

  • Behind our desks with the numbers, spreadsheets, graphs and reports
  • In meetings and the board room
  • Behind excuses(1) and blaming
  • In fancy cars and smart suits
  • Behind titles and positions on an organogram
  • Behind the Number 1 reason – I don’t have time

Invest time to make time in the long run.

The best advice I can give you comes from my book Life EduAction(1):

“When you no longer push the buttons or use the tools,
you should become a servant to those who do!”

— Jürgen Tietz

and

“I walk around and see my people, because just to walk around and dare to be strong, dare to give, is much more valuable than any decision I could make or any report I could read.
What I give away is mental health to the organization.
The most unproductive time we have is when we sit at our desks, because the only thing we do is read history:
what has already happened, what we cannot do anything about.
When we leave our offices and start to walk around and talk to people, that’s when we make things happen.
You give your thoughts; you get thoughts back;
you draw conclusions; perhaps you even make decisions.”

— Jan Carlzon, CEO of SAS

Manage On Your Feet and Not On Your Seat

People need to see you and be able to interact with you, there where the rubber hits the road.

Schedule a routine where you set aside at least 5 hours a week to “Walk Your Talk”(1) and ask and listen to hear what your people are saying – then put that into action. This is over and above formal audits.

RELATED READING

(1)    From Life EduAction by Jürgen Tietz :

        – “Kill the In Tray” and the Excuse List
        – Richard Macheve’s “Spiral Chiller”
        – “Walk Smarter, not Harder”

(2)    Through the Eyes of the People

ON OFFER

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.

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Copyright: Jürgen Tietz
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SCnSP – Manslaughter or Murder?

♦♦♦     SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE     ♦♦♦

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 examine our behaviour when driving and working and be ruthlessly honest about our true concern for the safety, not only of ourselves, but those around us.

Manslaughter or Murder?

I am not talking here about the Oscar Pistorius trial or pre-judging the case with a guilty or not guilty verdict.

I am talking about using a cell phone!

Talking and texting (SMS) on a cell phone, while operating a machine, plant or equipment, like cranes, trains and planes, or while driving vehicles, is a major safety hazard. Just imagine being the cause of a fatal accident as a direct result of talking or texting on a cell phone. An astute prosecuting attorney would argue that keeping your cell phone on while driving constitutes intent and that hence you would be guilty of, at least, manslaughter! This might sound harsh, but the reality is that taking your eyes off the road to look at your cell phone screen, even for a few seconds, can result in you being directly responsible for the death of another human being.

Before you read further, I strongly urge you to check out Jill Konrath’s blog and the video link in her post (see Related Reading [1] below), to see what happened to her husband, Fred, and to Dave and Leslee Henson as a direct result of a driver texting while driving. Pay particular attention to “The eye-opening facts on distracted driving“.

www.stopthetextsstopthewrecks.blogspot.com

Cell phones, as enablers of instant connection, are a communication and networking blessing, but at the same time, they are a safety curse. There is nothing so important that it justifies compromising safety. Nowadays, we behave as though the world will come to an end if we don’t immediately answer a call or read and reply to text messages! Nonsense! What happens when you take a flight? The airlines insist you switch off your phone, period. Believe me, the world goes on for the next hour or even 10 hours. Calls and messages must (and can) wait. Why not adopt the same attitude when driving or operating machinery and equipment? And talking of air planes, how safe would you feel if you knew your pilot was texting on his / her cell phone while busy landing the plane you’re traveling in?

In the quest to save time we go for multitasking, which is another issue compromising safety (see Related Reading [2] below). Texting while in meetings has become a widespread practice and is now a habit which has spilled over into driving. Furthermore, the issues arising from using cell phones are valid in any situation where people “push the buttons and use the tools”. A ringing cell phone or a text alert breaks the concentration and tempts people to take their eyes off the ball / road / process. Cell phones should be PARKED while “on the job”.

ACTION

Park the Phone Before You Drive!

  • Share this Safety Tip widely and with all your employees, especially the video in Jill Konrath’s blog. Make a copy available for your employees to take home and share with their families (contact me if you need help with this).”
  • Review your company policy for cell phone use in your operating plants and when driving vehicles. This goes also for company-issued cell phones. Become tough with people who violate your “NO CELL WHILE DRIVING / OPERATING” instruction.
  • Why not suspend the ‘licence’ for six months if anyone’s caught using a cell phone while driving / operating a company vehicle / machine or while driving on your company property. That will send a clear message that you are serious! Alternatively, send them on paid leave for a week, to do duty at the ER of a local hospital.

PLEASE drop me a line telling me what you are doing in your company so I can let Fred and Leslee know / show them the good which is coming out of their tragedy.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Heartfelt thanks go out to Fred and Leslee for going public so others might learn from their experience, and to Jill Konrath for writing on this important subject of the dangers of texting while driving.

RELATED READING

[1]   Jill Konrath: “Avoid this Killer Strategy at All Costs”   Blog   Video

[2]   Jurgen Tietz: “Do Not Disturb

[3]   “Stop the Texts, Stop the Wrecks

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