Search Results for: Responsibility

SCnSP – Leadership Responsibility (Rot at Top)

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Feb 2013

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 the role of leadership.

     

The Rot Starts At The Top

Leadership responsibility in safety

Picture: conductor of orchestra

     

Leaders have to be like the conductor of an orchestra. They select the music, dictate the tune and tempo, and ensure that all employees practice the safety habits so that together they can deliver a masterpiece.

There are, of course, other aspects as well, like setting expectations, holding each player accountable, giving feedback and recognition, etc. Nonetheless, the leaders have to invest their most precious resource to do all of this, namely their TIME. They have to be VIP’s – Visible, Involved and Pro-active – to show their employees that they are serious about safety. This is a tough call because there are so many other issues demanding the leader’s time – costs, quality, productivity, customer service …

The leader is accountable for the safety strategy, for looking ahead to what will be done tomorrow (rather than what is being done today or, even worse, what has been done yesterday!), for thinking, visualising the goal and for formulating the plan of how to get there.

There are 3 key habits which the leaders have to practice in this regard:

  1. Leaders have to formulate and communicate the safety vision and strategy. This is critical. For employees to follow, they need to know where the leader is heading and how he/she plans to get there.
  2. Leaders have to ensure that a culture of taking ACTION, in terms of safety, exists in the organization. Nothing kills the commitment and engagement in safety as quickly as a lack of ACTION. When employees see that nothing is being done about safety incidents or observations, then safety will not be a priority for them either. Taking (safety) ACTION goes way beyond pasting the SHE Policy on the walls!
  3. Leaders have to review the safety strategy. If the desired / anticipated results are not being achieved, then doing more of the same is not going to help. The leader has to look for different ways of doing things and the review should be ongoing, not only once every two years.

ACTION

Here is my challenge to you.

Use the download from my web site dealing with “Vision & Strategy” to examine what you have in place in your organization in terms of your safety strategy. Use the technique in that write-up as a checklist to formulate or review your safety vision and strategy.

It is important that leaders understand that changing the SHE culture is a transformation process and not an event. It takes years to implement such a culture change on a sustainable basis. Most companies run these short-term campaigns like ZERO ACCIDENTS, SAFETY FIRST, NO INJURIES, etc., but do not have a strategy and long-term plan in place.

The first step in formulating a safety strategy is to do the diagnostics. Look at the links below for excellent examples of what I am talking about – plus an outstanding communication effort by the NPC (National Planning Commission):

BTW. As active, adult citizens you should take an interest in what the NPC is doing to shape the future of this country!

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GM – World AIDS Day 2015

AIDS ribbon bullet pointAIDS ribbon bullet pointAIDS ribbon bullet point      WORLD AIDS DAY   AIDS ribbon bullet point   1 December 2015      AIDS ribbon bullet pointAIDS ribbon bullet pointAIDS ribbon bullet point
picture with AIDS ribbon and text

“Getting to Zero”

Corporate Social Responsibility

Help fight the fight

picture of UN World AIDS Day logo 1 December

From the title of my post, you can see I’m not going to mince words today.

At last count, South Africa still has the highest number of people living with HIV in the world. Those people and their families face challenges that you and I cannot begin to fully understand.

The numbers of new infections are not decreasing as one would hope and expect.

In line with the UN’s cry of “Put People First” and “Close the Gap”, one of the key transmission prevention strategies is education.

I have developed the NO CONDOM NO COOKIEGoodie Box. In essence, it is a package that aims to raise awareness, encourage testing and promote safe behaviours in a challenging, fun, yet educational, way.

ACTION

It’s going to take each and every one of us to do our bit to further the cause of “Getting to Zero”.

Exercise your Corporate Social Responsibility. And not just for World AIDS Day – although that’s a great place to start / re-energise programmes.

ON OFFER

Be a Smart Cookie.

Make a difference in the lives of your employees and their communities.

Introduce a new idea that is
CHALLENGING
FUN
EDUCATIONAL
fantastic VALUE and
calls for ACTION!

Get the No Condom No CookieGoodie Box for your employees.

Don’t stop there.
Sponsor them for your local high schools, clinics and similar places in your communities.

picture of No Condom No Cookie AIDS Goodie Box contents

This Do-It-Yourself AIDS Education Kit contains AIDS Awareness cookies, posters, keyrings with condom compartments, info-lets and more.
PLUS … there are various content options available and quantity discounts too!

Together, we can make a difference.

Find out more

RELATED LINKS

Which Rock Are YOU Under?“, Cindy Pivacic

The World Health Organisation’s information on HIV / AIDS

AIDS Foundation of South Africa

TAC: Treatment Action Campaign

Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Regional Exchange portal (SHARE)

World AIDS Day 2015 in the UK

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SCnSP – Illusion/Paradox of Control

♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦

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

The Illusion / Paradox of Control

(Are we in control of Safety Behaviour?)

Illusion and Paradox of Control text as a graphic

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

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

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

Seth ends his post with these punchlines:

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

I would like to end my post with these thoughts:

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

ACTION

Think about what you do.

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

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

Or are you

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

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

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

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

RELATED READING

“Year-End Take Safety Home Message”

“Influence of Frontline Personnel”

“Your Safety Dream”

“People”

“Safety as a Value”

“Fire! Fire! Fire!”

“Ukuhlanya”

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SCnSP – Ukuhlanya

♦♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦♦

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

UKUHLANYA[1]

(Safety Paradox and Disruptive Safety)

How do you review your Safety Plan?

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

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

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

graphic depicting lack of einspruchsrecht i.e. consultation

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

The Safety Dilemma.

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

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

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

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

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

The Safety Plan.

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

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

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

ACTION

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

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

REFERENCE

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

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

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

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

[5]   “Beyond Management”, by Etsko Schuitema

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

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

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

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GM – Pay Back the Money

♦♦♦    Pay Back The Money    ♦♦♦

Nkandla Lessons (#2)

The subject here is investigations (not politics or the behaviour of people / parties in parliament). Nonetheless, there is one thing to be said for young, outspoken Julius Malema. He promised in his election campaign that “parliament will never be the same again” and that “we will represent the worker”. He is most definitely delivering on his promises with his red overall brand and challenging the ruling party on all fronts!

picture of newspaper article entitled Pay Back the Money

The fundamental lessons that one can learn from the Nkandla[1] saga in terms of investigations are:

  • A problem does not go away because it is ignored.
  • Don’t hide behind “we are waiting on the investigation / report”.
  • Investigations are best done by an independent, unbiased and trusted resource.
  • Launching a new investigation because you don’t like the outcome of a previous investigation will only make matters worse.
  • Follow the 3F-Principle. Investigations should be done Fast. They should be Fair to all parties concerned and the action taken should be Firm.
  • For an investigation to be credible, there should be transparency and full disclosure.

Furthermore the parties involved have to take responsibility for their actions and decisions and face the consequences.

Unfortunately, in the last 20 years or so, the involvement of legal teams in incident investigations has bedevilled the real objective of safety investigations, i.e. to find the root causes and take action to prevent a re-occurrence. Instead, enquiries bear more resemblance to court cases, where people and companies feel prosecuted / threatened and hence have the need for a solid defence in their corner[2].

[1]   NKANDLA is a new project management acronym which stands for:
                Nobody  Knows  Anything  Nothing  Done  Like  Agreed

[2]   Marikana and the ‘Arms Deal’ are two shining examples of this.

ACTION

  • Follow the 3F-Principle for incident investigations in your company. Do the investigation Fast, be Fair to all involved and be seen to be Firm.
  • Make the outcome of the investigation known to all employees and act promptly on the recommendations.

RELATED READING

Oscar’s Defence

Your Safety Nkandla

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GM – Oscar’s Defence

♦♦♦    Oscar’s Defence    ♦♦♦

for Safety Incidents / Accidents

 

Leaving the question of the extent of Oscar’s guilt and the consequent sentencing aside – that’s Judge Masipa’s job – one cannot ignore that this case is a classic example of not taking responsibility and of making excuses and assumptions.

This “disease” is too often mirrored in people’s behaviour when it comes to safety. We find people giving excuses instead of acknowledging their role in mishaps, which would help us to find the root cause of incidents or near hits (not misses!).

Excuses often given include:

  • I did not know / think / ask / hear / see . . .
  • I assumed . . .
  • I didn’t do it on purpose.
  • I can’t remember
  • Before I could think, I had . . .
graphic with words I'm Responsible

Accidents don’t just “happen”. They are the direct result of someone choosing to do the wrong thing or to not do the right thing. This includes thinking of the consequences of one’s actions before taking action!

Why do people make excuses rather than owning up? In some companies, it is because there is a culture of intimidation and / or people fear being penalised.

Incident reporting is mandated, but companies also want to know about near hits – this information is critical as an aid to finding and fixing root causes permanently, so that similar incidents don’t happen again.

To encourage disclosure and ownership, one needs to promote a safety culture of focussing on the incident and not making somebody pay for what happened. Of course, there will always be exceptions to this principle, as in a situation of deliberate sabotage, pure negligence, tampering with safety devices and equipment or blatant contravention of safety procedures.

ACTION

  1. Review your policies and procedures, so that there will be no penalty when reporting or owning up to a genuine mistake.
  2. Contact me for a Simply Smart Safety™ Power Survey to help you understand what the current safety culture looks like in your company.

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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 – Have You Been Tagged – State of Pedestrian Safety

♦♦♦    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 review the state of pedestrian safety inside our company premises as well as surrounding communities and take action to reduce pedestrian fatalities.

picture of the Decade of Action for Road Safety tag

Have
You
Been
Tagged?

 

State of Pedestrian Safety

picture of the Decade of Action for Road Safety tag

NEWS FLASH    NEWS FLASH    NEWS FLASH    NEWS FLASH

24 June 2014
“A cyclist is fighting for his life after he was hit by a car on the R102 …”

22 June 2014
“A pedestrian is in a critical condition after he was knocked down on Hendrik Potgieter Rd …”

21 June 2014
“Man in a critical condition after he was knocked over by a construction vehicle.”

Enough? No?

31 May 2014
“A man was critically injured after he was hit by a car along Ballito Drive.”

27 May 2014
“54-year-old woman tragically lost her life after she was knocked over by a motor vehicle.”

26 Apr 2014
“A 29-year-old male pedestrian was killed at the M1 and M2 interchange in Booysens …”

Still not enough? Well, it is for me!

So, are you willing to be tagged?

The real tag I’m referring to will cost you effort, time and possibly even money … but it will be worth it, if you believe that life is priceless.

Watch this video, then read on.

snapshot of the video entitled The Long Short Walk

We’re almost halfway through the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, which was officially launched 11 May 2011 via a resolution supported by 100 countries. This resolution was subsequently adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 April this year.

The official aim of the Decade of Action is to stabilise and then reduce global road traffic fatalities by 2020. Making it real, the aim is to save 5 million lives.

Globally, road traffic incidents rank 8th as a cause of death.

But, they are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 29.

Horrific stats.  That’s our younger generation.

Delving deeper, globally, pedestrian deaths amount to 22% of all road deaths every year – that’s over 270,000 people. Pedestrian fatalities in the African Region are sitting at 38%.

In South Africa, between 35-37% of all road fatalities are pedestrian fatalities.

If no effective action has been taken since 2011, then the forecast figures indicate that this year the figure of 270,000 will have increased to 330,000 by now.

South Africa launched the Arrive Alive Road Safety Campaign in 1997.
The RTMC is running a 365 Days Road Safety Campaign and published their revised Strategic Plan for the next 5 years in March.

Are these initiatives working?

At the 82nd UN Assembly (2013), Jeremiah Mamabolo said that the Arrive Alive Road Safety Campaign “had resulted in a drastic reduction in the number of deaths from accidents and sharpened the response of law enforcement agencies and health services.”

You can read all about the RTMC’s progress related to the “5 Pillars for the Decade of Action for Road Safety” in their latest annual report, and decide for yourself.

Like it or not, the fact remains that it is up to each and every individual to take responsibility for road safety.
Why not start with pedestrian safety?

♦ As individuals, we can ensure that we have not “gardened” up the paving areas outside our homes to the point where pedestrians are forced to walk in the street.

♦ As responsible citizens, we can ensure our communal areas and company premises are safe for pedestrians.

ACTION

  • Do a survey of pedestrian safety inside your company premises, including inside buildings. Are there enough walkways, clearly demarcated / barricaded off, for people to walk safely?
  • Look for places where people are NOT using the walk ways and establish why short cuts are being taken. Ask people, don’t make assumptions. Is it a matter of education / policing / discipline?
  • Go to your surrounding communities and look for opportunities to help with pedestrian safety, especially around schools. Can your company sponsor Zebra crossings, side walks, or anything else which can show your community that you do care.
  • Draw up a home safety flyer / cartoon brochure for your employees to take home and to distribute at schools to highlight the risks and safe behaviour. Or get posters that Arrive Alive and the RTMC have designed.
  • Share “The Long Short Walk” video with others and “tag” your people.

REFERENCE MATERIAL

Global Plan for Decade of Action for Road Safety & its 5 Pillars:
   Road Safety Fund material
   WHO material

Decade of Action for Road Safety tags

Pedestrian Safety WHO Manual (publ 2013)

National plan of action for South Africa:
   2011 strategy document
   2014 revised strategy plan

Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013

Reports for South Africa:
   Stats for South Africa that were used for Global Status Report
   Stats from Arrive Alive South Africa
   RTMC Annual Report 2012-2013

News excerpts

Graphics courtesy of  Decade for Action tags  &  Make Roads Safe

KEY DATES TO DIARISE

16 November 2014 (annually, 3rd Sunday of November):  World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

4-10 May 2015:  Third UN Global Road Safety Week

2015 (details TBA):  Second Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety (to be held in Brazil)

ADDITIONAL LINKS

Campaign brochure:  Safe Roads for All

Pedestrian Safety Advice:  from Arrive Alive South Africa online

Zenani Mandela Campaign

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SCnSP – Do Not Disturb

♦♦♦     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 ensure that our people understand the importance of FOCUS time and allow them to incorporate it into their daily work schedule.

Do Not Disturb - people at work

Have you ever tried putting up a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign at work? Or blocking out time in your electronic diary? What happened and should this practice be allowed?

Multi-tasking is often lauded and touted as a desirable, even necessary, trait for efficiency. However, it is a misunderstood concept and is, in fact, *not* an efficient way to get things done and can introduce unnecessary risks[2], eg. consider the risks of using a cell phone while driving, or a pilot being distracted whilst landing an aircraft.

Similarly, distractions and interruptions have a detrimental effect on the task at hand. Attention is diverted and thinking disrupted. The likelihood of a mistake being made once the person resumes the task increases three-fold[1], posing a very real safety hazard. Furthermore, the associated “resumption lag”[3] means it actually takes longer to complete the task, so productivity suffers.

Interruptions and distractions are a reality of our times. In an office environment, this can mean that work is taken home and hours spent “catching up”. (See “Kill the In Tray” [4]) In an environment or situation requiring a person to interact with equipment or machinery or controls, I’m sure you can see that the consequences can prove to be fatal.

We all have 24 hours each day, but successful people have a commitment to remain focused on the important stuff. They use their time efficiently and avoid interruption.

ACTION

  • Schedule just 30 minutes today, where you can appreciate uninterrupted time to focus on ONE important priority task and aim to finish that task. Close the door, put up a DO NOT DISTURB sign and take the phones off the hook. Beware of the email / busy trap, where you feel busy with lots of little urgent things, but you do not tackle the important stuff. (See “Waiting at the Doctors” [5]) At the end of the 30 minutes, check how much productive work you actually got done. During the following 30 minutes, operate normally and see how little you will get done, during the same time frame. Repeat this exercise a number of times, until you are convinced that productivity and success depend on focus, prioritisation and zero interruptions.
  • Now that you are convinced, it is time to create a schedule to get uninterrupted time in your day. Make it a fixed routine and ensure that people who take up your time are aware of your routine, including your boss. (See “Kill the In Tray” [4])
  • Take the above lesson and apply it to your safety critical tasks. Reduce the amount of interruptions and distractions and increase the focus on the task at hand to minimise the potential of mistakes – vessel entry, lifting, working at heights, shut-down -, start-up – and lock-out procedures, etc. including answering a cell phone.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

With grateful acknowledgement to Andrew Horton, whose post “Do Not Disturb”, inspired me to write this Safety Tip, with a focus on the safety risks.

REFERENCES

[1]   Andrew Horton “Do Not Disturb”

[2]   On the hidden perils of juggling too many jobs at once

[3]   Resumption Lag = “the time needed to ‘collect one’s thoughts’ and restart a task after an interruption is over.” [Erik M. Altmann, Task Interruption: Resumption Lag and the Role of Cues]

[4]   Jurgen Tietz “Taking Responsibility: Kill the In-Tray”   Click here to download.

[5]   Jurgen Tietz “Time and Priorities: Waiting at the Doctor”   Click here to download.

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SCnSP – The Best Audits

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Oct 2013

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 the purpose for Safety Audits and how this necessary practice can be used as an improvement tool.

     

The Best Audits

     

If your company operates on the principle that safety audits are carried out by Safety Professionals for the purpose of policing non-compliance to “The Rules and Standards”, then read on.

The safety fraternity has adopted this practice from the accounting profession for good reason – inspecting, examining, checking and verifying of safety systems, procedures and equipment are all necessary. Sadly, the correction aspect is seldom seen as an improvement tool, and the safety audit, rather than being a means to an end, is merely the end itself.

So how do you facilitate a mindset shift from “This safety audit is a necessary evil of policing, inflicted by some external source (the Safety Professionals)” to “This safety audit is a powerful self-improvement tool ” ?

  1. Invest the time necessary to make sure everyone understands the fundamental purpose (in its entirety) for continuous safety audits, viz.

  2. Make safety auditing an on-going line responsibility (same as you do with output, costs, quality, etc.).
  3. The systems, rules and regulations, standards and procedures should not only be “in place” and working, but also be accepted and understood by all, so as to foster an ownership mentality.
  4. Auditing of plant and equipment, safety mechanisms, fire fighting, first aid, emergency equipment, interlocks, trips and alarms, instruments and other safety critical devices with a “look to see” mindset will highlight aspects that could be improved on.
  5. Make sure that the inspection, examination, verification and reporting aspect of a safety audit is not used as an excuse for “not having time” to workshop and implement improvements.

ACTION

'Stop unsafe practice' and 'Safety Champion Recognition' tool - isiZulu version

  • Issue each auditor with a set of 2 red and 4 green cards. Red to stop an unsafe practice / operation and green to recognise people who are doing the right or safe thing. This will force the auditors to look for the GOOD things and find safety champions to recognise.
  • Schedule time to coach line people to do self-audits. (This investment in time will save you plenty of time in the long run.) Then, at the annual Safety Day, recognise and reward those who self-audit well, instead of just those with the best metrics.
  • Auditor Hat - A practical application of the audit logos
    Audit Hat Logos e.g. PPE Examiner, Work Permit Specialist, Machinery Expert and more

  • Get the auditors to wear hats / badges, depicting the focus area which they will be looking at. This gives high visibility and at the same time ensures that each auditor is concentrating on one specific aspect of safety.
  • Although I am against paperwork, consider drawing up an audit preparation check list: What to do and have ready for an effective audit. Provide training for the ‘hosts’, as well as your team leaders and safety reps, on how to enable an audit.
  • Give feedback on the audit findings to the ‘players’ who “push the buttons and use the tools”, not only to the ‘coaches’ (managers). The players have just as much a role to play in the safety ‘game’!

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The Best Audits – Auditing vs Policing

RELATED READING

What’s in a Hat?

Back-end a Dead-end?

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