Search Results for: Performance

SCnSP – Without A Safety Clue

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Mar 2018
     

Without a Safety Clue

(Urgent vs Important)

Habits and planning

     

A sailboat without a sail might float. For a long time, in fact.
But without a sail, it can’t go anywhere, can’t fulfill its function.
Floating is insufficient. [1]

This brilliant little statement clearly defines the difference between success and failure in any endeavour, but especially in SAFETY. Good safety is not merely compliance, which is the bare minimum (floating). Good safety requires making time for the IMPORTANT stuff (setting your sails), i.e. making time for ACTIONS which will make a difference, which will grow the team, which are PRO-ACTIVE. Successful teams have developed the HABIT of doing this really well. Efficient teams know how to deal with the urgent stuff, quickly and effectively, so as to make time for constantly moving safety to a new level – to a DISRUPTIVE SAFETY™ level. By the way, educating and empowering your H&S Reps is part of “setting the sails”.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

  • Ask a simple question: “Is this urgent or is it important?”
    Don’t fall into the trap of labelling everything as urgent and important!
  • The acid test is another simple question: “So what?” … So what if this doesn’t get done today, now, or not at all?
    If you don’t have a convincing answer to this question, it might be urgent, but definitely not important.
  • Finally, ask: “Is this a new problem or is it an old problem?”
    Old problems tend to appear to be urgent simply because they have never been dealt with in an easy way!
    Be ruthless with old problems – kill them once and for all.

Our handbook, The Safety Rep’s Survival Guide, deals with this important habit in a number of topics.

[1]   Godin, Seth. “Without a Sail”, May 2017. http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2017/05/without-a-sail.html

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

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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.

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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.

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SCnSP – Bums on Seats

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Feb 2018
     

Bums on Seats

getting bums on seats at the right safety training does affect the bottom line positively

The Bottom Line

     

I’ve been thinking lately about the eternal question of the ROI (Return On Investment) for safety and safety projects in particular. My conclusion is that there is no direct ROI for safety. What one can expect is a reduction in incidents, resulting in a lowering of costs in terms of losses (medical and damages). Most industries and organisations use the rear-view-mirror approach to determine the ROI for safety projects using injuries, lives lost (fatalities) and, often, loss of reputation (safety record) as criteria.

However, the bottom line impact is not any of the above, but culture. Safety is part of the overall culture of an industry or organisation. Safety is not a stand-alone entity. Safety means doing things in a safe manner, doing it right, first time and every time, avoiding injury, loss and waste. Safety means engagement, it means ownership of the process, rules, operation and controls, amongst others. You cannot get safety right without rubbing off on other aspects of culture, like behaviours, teamwork, problem-solving, a bias towards action, productivity, quality and so on. That is why the real ROI for safety is its impact on the bottom line.

There are many ways in which the culture in an organisation is established. Leadership visibility, by living out the vision and values, especially in terms of safety, is one of the most important. Another one is education and training and, therefore, empowerment. It is imperative to get bums on seats, especially with safety training and, again, here leadership support is imperative.

At Disruptive Safety, we focus on the frontline to influence the culture, by educating and empowering H&S Reps in terms of safety.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Dr Cathy Key, for inspiring this safety tip by her use of the line “Getting Bums on Seats, the Bottom Line”.
[www.confmanager.com]

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SCnSP – Rework Your Safety Approach

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Feb 2018
     

Re‘-Work Your Safety Approach

Including your H&S Rep Training

Empowered Safety Rep

     

Let’s re-examine the real reason why safety is important.

We want our employees to return home to reunite with their families, every day. We want our assets and plants to remain in a safe and productive state. We want to re-use our resources and be relentless in reducing waste and effluent. Our operations need to be refined to reach the goal of reliably producing environment-friendly products.

Often, one of the causes of problems with safety is that we repeat old mistakes, over and over and over again. We need to recollect and learn from the past. One of the ways to do this is by conducting managerial reviews as part of our management system and standards.

The ‘RE‘ words

These are really important for safety because they’re action words and safety is not a once-off exercise.

RETURN  to the basics of safety.
REDISCOVER  the power of people – driven by a safety vision.
REQUEST  involvement and participation by all in safety.
REVIEW  your safety approach – reactive or proactive?
RECONSIDER  your safety recipe – approach.
RENEW  your safety systems and approach.
REFRESH  your approach – no papers, posters and pamphlets.
REINVENT  how you engage your people in safety.
REFLECT  on your attitude towards safety.
RECOGNISE  safe  behaviour and results.
REINFORCE  safe behaviour.
REWARD  Disruptive Safety[1] – better, faster, cheaper, safer.
RECHARGE  your safety efforts – our safety batteries are limited.
RETHINK  the repercussions of taking chances.
RECALL  incidents and remind employees of the consequences.
REVISE and REWRITE  your procedures to include safety.
RE-EXAMINE  what is preventing safety success.
REMOVE  causes of / reasons for unsafe behaviour.
RECTIFY  unsafe conditions promptly.
REPAIR  broken or damaged equipment or assets.
RESTORE  safety equipment and devices.
REPRIMAND  reckless behaviour.

Note

The word REACT is not in the above list because that is the most important behaviour / action to avoid in safety. A reactive approach focuses on compliance and corrective action only, rather than on prevention and doing the right things.
Also note that the words REVIEW, RECONSIDER, RENEW and REFRESH are all key to Disruptive Safety™ and that is why we have created The Safety Rep’s Survival Guide and are running in-house workshops.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

Ask yourself and your team:

Are you giving your internal customers (company employees) what they need or ordered, or are you merely flogging them stuff you think they should have or do, i.e. things they didn’t ask for, don’t understand or accept, can’t use and don’t value?

Don’t brush this off. This is a critical question if you want to get buy-in from the people you serve. It’s easy to assume that co-workers / employees don’t know what’s required in order to keep them safe. How do you know what it is that they do or don’t know if you haven’t asked them?

Listen and respect the input from those who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’. Accept their recommendations and legalise their actions = make them safe. This is where your H&S Reps play a critical role, provided they have been properly educated and empowered.

[1]   Disruptive Safety™ promotes a futuristic approach to safety which shifts the safety paradigm from ‘Preventing wrong’ to ‘Ensuring right’. Read more

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Nigel Risner, my international professional speaking colleague, who granted me permission to adapt the ‘RE’ concept for purposes of this safety tip.
[www.nigelrisner.com]

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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.

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SCnSP – Obsolete Safety – Part 2

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Nov 2017
     

Obsolete Safety (2)

the right people
+
the right questions
=
useful answers

communication

     

Ask better questions.
Ask the right people.
Don’t make assumptions.

These are some of the points I made in Obsolete Safety (part 1).
So here are some questions for you and your leaders.

QUESTIONS re SAFETY (the overall culture):

  • Who owns safety?
  • Who drew up the safety strategy / policy / budget and lifesaving rules ? Now: Ask the first question again.
  • What happens when your employees walk through the gate (both when coming to work and going home)?
  • How are you measuring safety, via the rear view mirror (looking at the past) or the windscreen (looking to the future)?
  • What keeps you awake at night, in terms of safety?

QUESTIONS re H&S REP’S specifically:

  • How happy are you with the contribution / engagement of your H&S Reps?
  • How proactive are your H&S Reps?
  • How happy are you with the people volunteering as H&S Reps?
  • Can your H&S Reps solve basic safety problems at the coalface?
  • How happy are you with the two-way communication in safety?

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

It’s easy to dismiss this with a “Been there, done that.”
However, I urge you to do it again and this time, ask the right people.

Run a few fully facilitated focus groups. Mixed groups consisting of EXCO members, managers, supervisors and H&S Reps work best, but your existing culture will determine whether or not you can do that. Take care to not fall into the trap of ‘analysis paralysis’, though. Talking to even a small number of people will quickly give you the answers.

Give serious consideration to the Disruptive Safety approach [1] to transform your workplace safety.

[1]   Disruptive Safety™ promotes a futuristic approach to safety which shifts the safety paradigm from ‘Preventing wrong’ to ‘Ensuring right’.

ESSENTIAL LINKS

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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.

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SCnSP – The Weak Signal

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Nov 2017
     

The Weak Signal

signals

     

We’re surrounded by signals all the time, from radio, TV, mobiles and, nowadays, wi-fi. It’s getting to the point where there’s so much noise that we only hear the louder, specifically-targeted messages. The weaker signals just get lost, unless we move to a better spot so as to hear more clearly.

This analogy applies to many relationships, whether it is in the family through parenting, or in organisations through leadership, or in politics (Gupta). When there is power, or a hierarchy, at play, the situation often becomes one-sided. The one who is in power talks and expects the others to listen – a case of “Do as I tell you.”

In an organisation, the leadership has the strongest signal. They have direct access to wi-fi and call centres, while the people who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’ can only use the much weaker signals. The wi-fi is made up of policies, procedures, papers and all sorts of instructions. It’s all top down, one-way communication and often complicated by conflicting and inconsistent signals such as “Safety First and Zero Harm, but meet the Production, Costs, Quality and other Targets first”.

The Suggestion box, BBS observations, H&S Rep reports and other tools and techniques used to connect with the people who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’, are the equivalent of the call centre. You hear clearly: “Your call is important to us, and will be attended to shortly … For quality purposes the call will be recorded … We are currently experiencing high call volumes … Please hold … ”. In the end, the call is logged but seldom leads to ACTION.

The weak signals are always there, if we care to listen carefully. Everytime there’s an enquiry or investigation into a serious incident or injury, we hear these weak signals clearly. They often start with “We” followed by “told; observed; reported; requested; asked; complained; warned you” and similar action words. Often the organisation’s culture weakens the signals further by virtue of the fear of speaking up or taking a stand, all kinds of threats, blaming and shaming, a lack of action and priority or being taken seriously.
These weak signals require little effort to pick up on at the time but, if lost in the noise, can lead to serious consequences.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

Take a careful look at the different signals inside the organisation. The Critical Success Factors for a better reception are:

  • Create a climate which rewards weak signals, even if they turn out to be false signals.
  • Make it personal with a name / photo.
  • Provide prompt, direct feedback.
  • Show that the weak signals are being taken seriously and are making a difference.
  • Give the people who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’ a REAL VOICE – a voice which will be heard and taken seriously – a direct line to the CEO’s or MD’s. The climate will change dramatically. All employees, without exception, own a mobile device, often even a smart phone and are using free apps like WhatsApp. So what’s stopping YOU?

ESSENTIAL LINKS

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SCnSP – When is the safety battle won?

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Jul 2017
     

When Is The Safety Battle Won?

Engaging hearts and minds

Heart = OwnershipMind = Commitment

     

Many centuries ago, a Roman general was leading his legions towards the enemy in a swampy country. He knew that the next day’s battle would be fought on a certain plain because it was the only dry, flat place for miles. He pushed his army all night, marching them through a frightening and formidable swamp, so that they reached the battle site before the enemy and could claim the high ground.

In the aftermath of victory, the general called his troops together and asked them, “Brothers, when did we win the battle?”
One captain replied, “Sir, when the infantry attacked.”
Another said, “Sir, we won when the cavalry broke through.”
“No,” said the general. “We won the battle the night before – when our men marched through that swamp and took the high ground.” [1]

So, when is the SAFETY battle won?

Not when the rubber hits the road, or the airplane is at cruising height, or the construction is in progress, or the plant is operating on full steam. Not by analysing the statistics, reporting ‘near misses’ and investigating incidents. Not by paperwork and audits. Not by being reactive.

No … because by then it’s too late. All you can do then is police for compliance. I mean, can you imagine if the general in the above story had used that approach – having to check (audit) that his troops are actually fighting and using the correct combat tactics, rather than leading them in battle?

No. The safety battle is won long before any of the items mentioned above. It is won when we manage to get safety into the hearts and minds of all our people. It is won when we have succeeded in getting people to make safety a habit, in everything they do. Before they tackle each task, while they’re carrying out the task and after they’ve completed the task. It is won when the safety ABC is in place – individual safety Attitude, Behaviour, Choice. It is won when our people are no longer complying out of fear of being caught and disciplined or because the boss is watching. The safety battle is won when our people are thinking ‘Safety Assurance’ as part of the preparation for everything they do. It is won when individual perceptions of risk include thinking about consequences.

Finally, the safety battle is won when we all are looking at continuous improvement and best practices and sharing how to work smarter and safer. It is won when our people are not afraid of failing and treat every ‘near hit’ as an opportunity to improve productivity and safety.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

As safety professionals, we should strive to support the business by improving productivity safely!
We should be the first port of call when people are thinking of taking a shortcut or reporting a ‘near hit’ or ‘failure’. And it should be because they know and trust that we will help them do it safely, instead of blaming, and crucifying them for pushing the boundaries.
Safety Always.

[1]   Pressfield, Steven. The Warrior Ethos. Black Irish Entertainment LLC (2011). 978-1936891009.

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SCnSP – Obsolete Safety – Part 1

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Mar 2017
     

Obsolete Safety

(Part 1)

obsolete printer

     

It was with great sadness that I had to pull the plug on my HP990 CXI. It was this printer that enabled me to self-publish over 550 copies of my first book (some 210 000 pages). Over its 17-year lifespan, it processed close to 2 tons of paper. I feel a real sense of loss, because, to use an old cliche, they just don’t make them like this anymore. On this trusty printer’s death certificate, the technician wrote: “Obsolete. No spare parts available anymore.”

Obsolete.

It’s one of those killer words. It originates from the Latin obsolescere meaning “to fall into disuse” – a very handy adjective for anything that is determined to no longer be of any use. It can be applied to words, factories, computer software, ways of thinking – anything that has, usually, been displaced by a newer, shinier innovation.

Let’s consider workplace safety, in the light of obsolescence.

As far as I’m concerned, if you’re still using Heinrich’s pyramid[1], or your safety systems are based on compliance, near misses, Zero Harm and Safety First, then your approach to safety in the workplace is obsolete. A harsh judgement? Perhaps, but it’s true. (Heinrich’s empirical findings date back to the 1930’s!)

So what’s the answer?

It’s not a new (computer) system, but rather, being willing to adopt a fresh approach, to look at things from a different angle / perspective. And not because it’s cool or the current trend, but because you recognise that what you have in place is obsolete.

Resistance to change

We like to stay in our comfort zone – the place where we know what to do and don’t have to work too hard to get it done. It’s tough to admit that what we’re doing might have been superseded by something better. My VW Beetle was a most wonderful vehicle. I hung onto it for years and years, even though it was outdated. Compared to today’s cars, it’s performance and reliability, fuel efficiency, emissions, driving comfort and safety were poor. Still, I loved the “Volksie” sound. It was hard to let it go.

Change is inevitable

One of the constants of our life, as we know it, is that everything that is being done today will be done better, faster, more cheaply and more safely, i.e. more efficiently, in the future. That’s because change is driven by a mindset of “we want it and we want it now”. This is true not only of photography, banking, transport, music, communication, food consumption, or any other field you care to think of. It’s true of Health and Safety too.

The way to go

Disruptive Safety™ is a solution-based model which totally transforms the way in which workplace safety is approached. It’s about moving The Elephant (safety culture) and getting everyone to really own safety. A key component of Disruptive Safety™ is the manner in which H&S Reps are engaged, viz. by shifting their attentions so that, instead of focusing only on prevention and compliance, they also apply a proactive approach of making sure things go right.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

Examine your safety approach.

Ask better questions. Ask the right people. Don’t make assumptions or be complacent. Are you doing the same things over and over but expecting better results?

Now answer the question: Is your safety approach obsolete?
If yes, then you’re ready for Disruptive Safety™. Contact us if you want to know more about it.

[1]   Herbert William Heinrich’s 300-29-1 ratio, also known as Heinrich’s triangle, pertaining to his premise re the foundation of a major injury.

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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.

ESSENTIAL LINKS

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