Search Results for: Standards

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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SCnSP – Are you a safety professional?

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Jan 2017
     

Are you a Safety Professional?

Your bookshelf reveals all

Picture: The Safety Rep's Bookshelf

     

As a student, I was in residence with the De Vynck family. To this day, I still remember Dr. de Vynck’s study vividly. Two of the walls were covered with bookshelves from floor to ceiling and the shelves were filled with books. The study smelt like a library – it had the smell of knowledge and wisdom. But this was not just a pretty display of books. Dr. de Vynck had read them all. He could pull a book off the shelf, open it and quote a relevant section on the topic under discussion. He was a true professional.

What does your bookshelf look like?

Maybe I should first have asked if you have a bookshelf and, if yes, what does it say about you? Have you read the books, or are you merely practising ‘shelf-development’? When I meet people for the first time, I prefer to do it at their offices so that I can look at what is on the walls and what is on the bookshelves – to see who they are. This picture, to me, speaks volumes! By the way, I always start my inspections with the safety manager’s office!

What have you written?

I’m not talking about rules and procedures, standards and instructions, or emails. What I mean is: What insights and observations, in safety, have you made and shared with other people, on a regular basis? There is nothing that deepens your understanding of something more than when you share it in writing!

My third question

How would you feel if your doctor, lawyer, engineer or any other professional who provides you with a personal service, didn’t stay up to date with the latest developments in his field of expertise by, amongst other things, reading books (by ‘books’ I also mean articles, magazines and the like)?

If your answers are negative, then you need to ask yourself if you are truly a Safety Professional, especially if you work in a consultative role. Now I know we all have valid reasons as to why we can’t read or write ‘books’. Time is always at the top of the excuse list even though we always manage to make time for what is important to us. If self-development is important to you, you will make time to read and write.

On bookshelves

Instead of the traditional bookshelf, you could go for a digital bookshelf, i.e. have articles of interest, videos and images, especially photos, stored on your computer. These should be filed in such a way that any one of them can be easily found when you want to refer back to it. This is what I call good digital housekeeping, with ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’. I have over 14,000 photos, 42,000 files, all named and catalogued in some 2200 folders. I can find information at the click of a button, when using my search function. It goes without saying that, in order to build up an online library, you have to read and write online. There are many platforms to do this effectively and LinkedIn, Facebook and Google Alerts are just a few.

By the way … I practise what I preach. This article was inspired by one of Seth Godin’s posts [1].

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

  • Take a look around your office now and make a call about your ‘bookshelf’.
  • Look at your online library. Is it a bin or is it a labelled filing cabinet?
  • Write or share something now, preferably adding your own, fresh insights. Make it a habit, not a flash in the pan.

[1]   Seth Godin, “Fully Baked”. 2016.

ESSENTIAL LINKS

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SCnSP – Why Are People Making ‘Stupid Mistakes’?

♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Feb 2016

WHY ARE PEOPLE MAKING
‘STUPID MISTAKES’?

(Why we do what we do)

graphic depicting the word mistake crossed out

I suppose it is tempting,
if the only tool you have is a hammer,
to treat everything as if it were a nail.

— Abraham Maslow, Toward a Psychology of Being

     

One of the most frequent comments I get when talking to people about safety is: “Why are people making stupid mistakes?”. In many people’s minds this then extends to the (illogical) conclusion that people who make mistakes are stupid.

Apart from being a generalisation and over-simplification of a complex behavioural issue, one which often leads to stereotyping, it also shines a light on the power of the made up mind.

When we assume that the mistake was stupid, we are ourselves making the first mistake. Until we have established why people did what they did, is it really a mistake or the result of a genuine effort to do the right thing which did not work out as intended?

There are many reasons why things are done differently at the ‘sharp end’ and these are often overlooked when we try and find the cause of a ‘deviation’:

  • We are thinking humans with reason, memories and moods
  • We make adjustments to stay on course, but things can still go wrong
  • A mis- (wrong) take is a behaviour and not a personality trait
  • There is no one size fits all – some are more prone to making mistakes than others
  • We all take risks, the level varying over time and with mood
  • We don’t always read people and situations correctly
  • We are good at finding mistakes, especially in hindsight, and at blaming others
  • Our schooling is based on marking papers by finding mistakes
  • There are many kinds of intelligence and people who are seen to make stupid mistakes in one domain are often highly intelligent in another respect – IQ, EQ, NS … whatever “quotients” or “smarts” you want to use  [1].

That being said, it cannot be denied that there are some actions which are avoidable:

  • Lack of awareness and making assumptions
  • Lack of care for others and property
  • Bad analysis and being willfully ignorant
  • Taking ‘lazy’ shortcuts without thinking about what we are doing
  • Allowing ourselves to be distracted
  • Allowing worry and fear to cloud our judgement
  • Not making time to stop and think about the consequences of our actions
  • Too much haste and too much noise to see clearly

ACTION

  1. Be careful before blaming ‘the PEOPLE factor’ – don’t assume the person / people made a mistake. Without people making adjustments and controlling processes, virtually nothing in this world would function on its own
  2. Don’t look for and label things which do not conform to your standards as a ‘mistake’ or ‘near miss’.
  3. Shift your mindset from ‘preventing things from going wrong’ (re-active) to ‘ensuring things go right’ (pro-active). This is in line with ‘catch people doing the right thing’ and giving recognition  [2].
  4. Encourage and reward employees to share what they have to do or adjust to ensure ‘things go right’ (production, quality, costs, etc.), especially when the rules don’t work and no one is looking or checking up.

[1]    Types of intelligence (smarts) – Nature / Musical / Number / Reasoning / Existential / People / Self / Body / Word / Picture

[2]    Safety I & Safety II by Erik Hollnagel

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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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GM – World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2012

WORLD  DAY  for  SAFETY  and  HEALTH  at  WORK
28 April 2012
Mar 2012

 

Theme:

 Green Jobs:
Promoting Safety and Health
in a Green Economy

 The ILO celebrates its annual ‘World Day for Safety and Health at Work’ on 28 April to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. It is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on emerging trends in the field of occupational safety and health and on the magnitude of work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities worldwide.

It is also the day in which the world’s trade union movement holds its International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers to honour the memory of victims of occupational accidents and diseases …

… In many parts of the world, national authorities, trade unions, employers’ organizations and safety and health practitioners organize activities to celebrate this date. We [the ILO] invite you to join us in celebrating this significant day and share with us the activities you organize. 

  This year’s theme

 … There is a shift in the world to a greener and more sustainable economy. However, even if certain jobs are considered to be “green”, the technologies used may protect the environment but not be safe at all.

… A true green job must integrate safety and health into design, procurement, operations, maintenance, sourcing and recycling policies, certification systems and OSH quality standards. This is especially relevant for sectors such as construction, waste recycling, solar energy production and biomass processing. 

Content courtesy of ILO.
More information is available on their website.

ON OFFER

If you’re planning to commemorate this day, why not download a free copy of my guide: 10 Most Common Mistakes Made When Organising an Event.

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SCnSP – Moving the Elephant

♦♦  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.

Leveraging the whY factor to move the elephant.

Moving the Elephant

It’s all about the whY factor

sketch of an elephant and definition of purpose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACTION

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

[1]   From the movie “The Confession

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

RELATED READING

“Safety as a Value”

“The Best Audits”

“Safety Fever”

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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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SCnSP – Safety and Quality

♦♦♦  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.

SAFETY & QUALITY

(They go hand in hand)

Why do many companies link Safety and Quality, often co-ordinated by one department? There are a number of reasons, based on requirements / drivers that they have in common or are shared:

  • Adherence to defined and specific rules and procedures.
  • Involvement by and of everyone – the basis of efficient implementation of Safety and Quality systems.
  • Driven by a policy document developed by top management for unity of purpose and direction and audited against elaborate ISO and other international standards.
  • Need people to change their attitudes and behaviours to ensure customer needs are continually satisfied and employees are not injured or harmed.
  • Use professionals to support the business functions and many other shared factors.

But the real common denominator is ZERO = ZERO DEFECTS = ZERO HARM = ZERO TOLERANCE. I know ZERO is a hotly debated issue, but just consider the consequences if your surgeon did not have a ZERO mind-set or, for that matter, if Koeberg did not have a ZERO TOLERANCE approach!

graphic depicting common / shared requirements / drivers of safety and quality

There is also a more direct, physical link. It is, simply put, waste! Waste in all its forms: spillage and effluent, defective products, time lost being unproductive (from injuries, reworks, or time spent making defects). It is all money down the drain. Even if you can rework some of this waste, much of it still ends up on a waste dump, ultimately damaging the environment.

On top of that there is the cost of cleaning up, waste handling, attending to the injured, time taken to investigate causes of incidents and product non-conformities. You need bins and containers, fork lifts and trucks, storage areas and waste / effluent pits and enclosed spaces, plus lifting equipment, settling ponds and dumps with separation facilities.

The link to safety is the fact that to deal with waste you introduce the additional resources, equipment and facilities, with the associated new risks involved. This could be hazards like trip, slip and fall, confined spaces, working at heights and lifting equipment, especially when recycling or reworking. In order to protect against the health hazards, extensive PPE is often required.

Another direct link between Quality and Safety is created when a non-conforming part that is fitted, for example, to an aircraft could directly result in a safety disaster.

For Safety and Quality to be effective and sustained, organisations should focus on identifying the underlying causes of incidents or non-conformities and implement actions that eliminate the root causes of the non-conformities experienced.

ACTION

  • Change the Rework / Waste mind-set to ZERO WASTE. Make it a priority, like when working with extremely hazardous chemicals as in a nuclear plant.
  • Compile the real, total Cost (direct and indirect) of rework, recycling waste and waste handling activities and share with your EXCO and all employees.
  • Get the ‘Safety’ and ‘Quality’ teams together to find ways of working jointly to plan and run a ZERO TOLERANCE campaign.
  • Organise a competition to evaluate the amount identified in item #2 (Rand or tons) to encourage looking for opportunities to REDUCE – REUSE – RECYCLE

RELATED READING

“Zero Defect – Tracy Ackermann’s Plant” – from the book Life EduAction by Jürgen Tietz

Going to Waste

Fix Those Leaks

Your Paper Footprint – Environmental Murder?

RESOURCES

Moses Mudau, Head of QEHS Management at SABN
Master of Engineering (MEng), Industrial Engineering/Management

FEEDBACK

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

Copyright: Jürgen Tietz
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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.

FEEDBACK

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