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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]

ESSENTIAL LINKS

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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 – 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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GM – World AIDS Day 2016

AIDS ribbon bullet pointAIDS ribbon bullet pointAIDS ribbon bullet point      WORLD AIDS DAY   AIDS ribbon bullet point   1 December 2016      AIDS ribbon bullet pointAIDS ribbon bullet pointAIDS ribbon bullet point
Oct 2016

Hands up for #HIVprevention

Picture: Hands up for #HIVprevention

It’s World AIDS Day in just over a month’s time. I think the UN’s hashtag for this year’s theme should’ve been #HIVPreventionEveryDay, but I am grateful that, at the least, we all have the opportunity to emphasise the need for #HIVprevention on this one particular day, every year.

Why?

According to the UN’s “AIDS By The Numbers” report for 2016, 1.1 million people worldwide died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2015. It was also estimated that, by the end of 2015, there would be 36.7 million people in the world living with HIV. [1]

The stats for South Africa are dismal. Year on year, since 2010, the number of people contracting HIV has been going UP, with an estimated 19.2% of the population being infected as at 2015. [2]

Most of you who read my safety tips regularly will know that I believe in tackling issues over which we have control. HIV/AIDS is one of those issues. We can all contribute to the UN members’ goals of ending AIDS by 2030.

Number 3 on the list of the UN’s “Fast Track Commitments to end AIDS by 2030” [3] is:

“Ensure access to combination prevention options, including pre-exposure prophylaxis, voluntary medical male circumcision, harm reduction and condoms, to at least 90% of people …”

Number 5 is:

“Ensure that 90% of young people have the skills, knowledge and capacity to protect themselves from HIV …”

UNAIDS, the UN agency responsible for the global HIV/AIDS response, has published their World AIDS Day campaign brochure for the 2016 theme: “Hands up for #HIVprevention“. It’s an exciting, interactive initiative and the brochure expands on what you can do to raise awareness using their “Hands Up” theme. [4]

I am raising my hand for PREVENTION and AWARENESS and you can too.

[1]    “AIDS By The Numbers” 2016, UN Epidemiology publication

[2]    From additional data made available at aidsinfo.unaids.org

[3]    “10 Fast Track Commitments to End AIDS by 2030“, UNAIDS publication

[4]    “UNAID’s World AIDS Day 2016 Campaign Brochure

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SCnSP – Safety Through Improvement

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Oct 2016
     

Safety Through Improvement

Lessons from flat tyres

Picture: 1950's on-the-road breakdown repairs

     

I have 2 vehicle-related anecdotes from which lessons can be learnt. The first is from my youth and the second a much more recent one.

I still remember vividly the long trips we used to take by car when I was a young boy, growing up in Namibia in the 1950’s.

In those days, there were no tarmac roads and motor vehicles weren’t very reliable. It was quite normal on such trips for the car to break down a few times. Two or three punctures and maybe even having to replace a tyre were quite common too. This meant that, before every trip, we had to prepare a set of spares, including spark plugs, fan belts and, of course, tyres, tubes and patches. We also packed a toolbox, tyre pump, wheel spanner, jack and a can of water (to fill up the radiator) into the car. Invariably, dealing with breakdowns meant cuts, bruises and other injuries, so the First Aid kit we carried in the car was also restocked on a regular basis.

The lesson to be learnt from this story is that plant and process reliability improve safety. Every time we have to carry out maintenance work or an operational intervention, especially modifications, changes and non-routine work, the risk of injury and damage increases because we have to fit and fiddle to make things work. It is for that reason that we have to change things for the better through continuous improvement [1]. One way to do that is to look at how advances in technology can help us to design in safety.

Recently, as I was driving home, I noticed a slight vibration on the steering and that the car was pulling to the left. I didn’t worry about it too much and drove on. When I got home, I saw that one of the front tyres was almost flat. On closer inspection, I noticed that a nail had pierced the sidewall of the tyre, causing a slow puncture.

A tyre going flat from a nail puncture doesn’t happen overnight. In a slow puncture, the tyre loses pressure slowly over a number of days, which brings me to the lesson in this anecdote. Despite the best advances in technology and design, we still have to play our part in safety. I didn’t carry out the Circle of Safety [2], i.e. I didn’t walk around my car before starting the engine and driving off. If I had, I would definitely have noticed that the tyre was going flat and have avoided a potentially serious incident. Just imagine what could have happened if I had been taking a longer trip, at full speed, on the highway!

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

  1. Get together with your maintenance and operations teams to examine maintenance and non-routine operations tasks that involve a high degree of risk, e.g. potentially fatal situations like working at heights, lifting loads, working in confined spaces, lockouts, etc. This is like a HIRA (Hazard Identification Risk Assessment), except that it has a specific focus on design and plant and process reliability.
  2. It is best to man these teams with the people who “push the buttons and use the tools”. I’m not suggesting that you exclude the engineers, just that you apply a hands-on approach, rather than sticking to the boardroom / paper exercise.
  3. Keep it simple to start with and don’t fall into the trap of analysis paralysis by trying to redesign the entire process or machine. Look for opportunities for projects which involve minimal resources and can be done fairly quickly, yet still result in an immediate and visible improvement in safety [3].

[1]    “Prevention rather than cure

[2]    “Walking the Circle of Safety

[3]    “Just Do Something Safe

        “Ukuhlanya: Safety Paradox & Disruptive Safety

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SCnSP – It’s just a project

♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Jun 2016

This is a really simple tip. Get this right, and you could turn your job on its head!

     

It’s Just A Project

Picture of a vegetable patch

     

Did you know you’re a project manager?

Seriously. You are. Every time you shop, decide what to wear, put air in your bicycle or car tyres, or catch a train or bus, you’re completing a task in what could be the project plan for your Lunch Project, or Date Project, or Career Project.

You’re the Project Manager of your life. The project may be as simple as hanging a picture on a wall, or a little more involved, like creating a vegetable garden or painting your home. It could be a project that only takes an hour to complete, or years and years. It might be a project to make sure things keep running properly (maintenance project), or a project for something new or better (development project).

So you can see that “project” is just the name given to the process of getting something done.
A project has a purpose: something that must be achieved, created, completed.
Whether or not you’re aware of it, a project also has a plan: by when you want or need it done (deadline), the steps that must be taken (tasks to be completed), what the right order is for those steps, how much time you think will be needed for each step, what you will need (people, tools, materials, money), how much of each you will need and by when, and, of course, it must have a start time and/or date.

If your project has a non-negotiable completion time or date, or if you have a limited budget, you may need to rearrange some of the steps, or get someone to help you with some of the tasks, or find a smarter way to do something so that you can finish it on time and within the budget you have available. Depending on the project, you may want to work out in advance what you will do if things don’t go according to plan. Sometimes, you might find you need to change your plan when you’ve already started on the project because one or more of the steps (tasks) has taken longer than it should have and you need to find a way to get some of the other steps done more quickly, or because a resource you need is not available at the time you need it, or something is costing you more than you expected it to. That, in essence, is project management.

Without even thinking about it, you already run at least some aspects of your personal life as projects. Maybe, without realising it, you do the same with your job.

Your “life” projects may be exciting (getting that new car) or necessary (eating a meal) or both. Whether or not they achieve their purpose (objectives) depends on the importance you attach to them (priority) and your self-discipline. The same goes for your job.

ACTION

See your job / role / function in your place of work as a series of pro-active projects which you choose (important). Such projects are exciting, about making change happen, about making improvements and exploring new options. They are about ‘now’ so give them deadlines. Make sure that the routine aspects of your job (emails, phone calls, meeting, reports, etc.) don’t suck up all your time so that you are too busy to complete the pro-active projects!

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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 – Mirror, mirror on the wall

♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Apr 2016

Do you use your safety mirror as a tool, or as a reflection of what you would like to see?

     

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL …

What is stopping me?

graphic depicting caller on the phone

     

Using a mirror in safety is nothing new. We’ve all seen the mirrors in toilets with the caption “Who is responsible for safety?”.

I’ve been using the metaphor of a mirror as a tool for many years. I hold up a mirror to the audience, asking them: “What do you see?“, followed by: “Is it good or is it bad and who is responsible?” [1]

I also use my ‘What Is Stopping Me‘ (WISM) Mirror to challenge people to look into the mirror and ask themselves that question! And what’s the answer? Usually, people will say “time”, or, “money”, or, often, both will be cited. But these are resource issues. The reality is that it is really a question of importance and priorities: you will always choose to spend time and money on things that are important to you.

There is of course another use for mirrors.
“Most people can’t resist a mirror. It makes the wait for an elevator more palatable, and we can’t help checking – how do I look? In many ways, though, this is futile, because we can never know how we look through other people’s eyes. Even the best quality mirror tells you very little. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to focus on this sort of grooming if you want to understand what customers or friends (or employees or leaders) are going to see. Far better to watch what they do.” [2]

This holds especially true for you as a safety professional. Are you looking into the safety mirror to see how your safety is doing? You should be rather spending time on your feet, talking to people. ‘Look to see’. The perception of employees and the leaders, is what you should be seeing.

ACTION

Take a good look, to see, how you are using your safety mirror? Do you use your mirror as a tool, or as a reflection of what you would like to see?

[1]    “How to put a face on safety

[2]    “The Foggy Mirror

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GM – S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D   THIN

♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Jan 2016
 

S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D  THIN

(not a recommended diet plan)

 

I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.
— Bilbo Baggins in “The Fellowship of the Ring” by J.R.R. Tolkien
graphic depicting butter being spread on slice of bread

Many people and companies are feeling s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d going into 2016. Many are aware that they have to revise what they do and how they do it. Perfect timing – it’s a new year!

A new year is a bit like a new day … it’s an opportunity to start fresh, to apply what has been learnt from experience, to correct mistakes, to be a better version of oneself, to do things in a better way.

The realisation or acknowledgement that one has the opportunity to “start anew” is energising. But it requires some thought. Does one need a “new start”? Why? What will one do differently? Is it better and will it give one the desired results? What steps must be taken?

As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, I am often inspired by Seth Godin’s posts and how they frequently underline my thinking on safety. In his post entitled  Is it too little butter, or too much bread? [1],  Seth reflects on resources, or rather, a perceived shortage thereof.

“Insufficient resources to get a job done / completed” – it unfailingly features in the Top 10 Excuses List.  But it needn’t, if you’re smart about what you do with the “safety butter” you have.

As Seth says: “… doing a great job with what we’ve got is the single best way to get a chance to do an even better job with more, next time.” [1]

Having to make do with less engenders creativity.
But you don’t even have to get creative.
Just G-R-O-W your SHE Reps.

Instead of getting more safety professionals to do more audits, create more paperwork, write more reports and procedures … enable your existing people to become active Safety Representatives.

So, if you’re feeling s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d, make the most of what you have.
As a leader, make it your underlying goal for 2016 to equip your people to do the best job they can.
As a SHE Rep, make it your underlying goal for 2016 to equip yourself to do the best job you can.

I wish you a productive and successful 2016.
May you G-R-O-W into your dreams and goals.

[1]    “Is it too little butter, or too much bread?

A NEW YEAR’S GIFT FOR YOU

photo of tent calendar for 2016 courtesy of Jurgen Tietz

Download this printable 2016 tent calendar, with my compliments.

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SCnSP – Keep It Smartly Simple

♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Nov 2015

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.

Keep It Smartly Simple in 3 steps.

Smartly Simple Solutions

(Just Do Something Safe™ and Action)

For six years I studied mathematics, physics, chemistry, machine design and some more fancy subjects like hydraulics and thermodynamics. So, when you give me a problem to solve, my mind kicks into engineering mode and I start designing a complex solution. To implement these engineering gizmos requires resources, one of them being time, which I normally don’t have. The result: a delay of weeks, sometimes even months to get something simple done.

picture depicting gears and cogs

Here are two examples.

Problem 1

New kittens which were crawling underneath a wooden bench in the kitchen and messing there.

My solution:
Buy some planks, screws, glue and varnish to close the gap. A 4-hour undertaking.

My wife’s solution:
Just wrap a few bricks in plastic and shove them into the gap. A 10-minute job.

Problem 2

A row of roses which needed frequent watering.

My solution:
Buy some irrigation pipes, sprayers and valves, plus build a terrace to cater for the sloping ground. A weekend job.

My gardener’s solution:
Tie a redundant plastic pipe to the trellises with cable ties, punch a few holes in the right places and hook the pipe up with a quick connector to the existing hose pipe. A 1-hour job.

My gardener is a true reflection of what it means to be a PDI. He would have been an excellent, practical technician, if he had just had the opportunity / financial support years back.

ACTION

Ask those people who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’ how to solve a problem that affects their work area. They will come up with Simply Smart (and Smartly Simple) solutions!

Go for a Just Do Something Safe™ culture.

  Ask  —  Listen  —  Do  

graphic depicting Asking Listening Acting

Get your teams / plants to solve their own safety problems. Remove the red tape and jumping through hoops of standards and procedures. Your job should be to make sure people can help themselves, doing what is within their means and can be completed within days, without taking short cuts and chances.

Action Involves Doing Something[1], but it excludes putting off the solution until later, because that kills the enthusiasm and tempo for improvement. This is one of the main reasons why most suggestion schemes don’t work very well.

[1]   Cindy Pivacic #CindyHIV

RELATED READING

Ukuhlanya: Safety Paradox & Disruptive Safety

Your Safety Dream

Listen With Your Eyes

Some Good Advice

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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.

FEEDBACK

Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

Copyright: Jürgen Tietz
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