A True North Safety Culture is the point at which an organization aligns to a value and goal of eliminating risk(s)/injuries within an organization, but also aligns the mission/vision statements to this goal. In implementing a True North Safety Culture, it is vital that the culture be focused around the employees or also known to be employee centric. Development of these three stages or steps in creating the True North Safety Culture will enable a ‘Safe Enough for Our Families’ approach that will work cross-functionally throughout the business.
The first stage is ensuring an employee engagement approach that is owned by the employees. While accountability is part of sustainability in this type of safety culture, it cannot be used as the tool to drive change. In many organizations, employee engagement is over looked because it can be difficult to achieve. My true belief is that when employees leave to go to work for the day they have no intentions of getting injured. A top-down safety culture can also be related to the stick approach or where managers are utilizing rules as the change agent. Tools in this stage that are successful are OBS (Observation Based Safety) and/or RBS (Risk Based Safety). OBS is not a behavioral approach but rather an inclusive working environment approach. Employees alone do not cause accidents and equipment alone do not cause accidents. It is the catalyst(s) from them put together that can cause an accident or employee harm. OBS is an inclusive employee approach to reducing risk and implementing an employee based safety culture.
The next stage in developing a True North Safety Culture is transforming a training program into a skill development program. Skill development is where the organization and leadership work collaboratively to ensure the employee(s) have the proper skills and that the requirements of the job the employee is performing is competently understood. The skill development approach is not the typical sit in front of a video or power point presentation and then sign an attendance sheet, but rather a collaborative resource investment in the employee(s) and organization to ensure safety is valued throughout the business for world class results.
The third stage is integration of safety as a value not as a priority across all functions within the business. In this stage it is foundationally what the business and organizational vision is built around. It supports a positive work environment that fosters internal growth for the most important aspect in the organization known as the internal customer. This stage will develop into creating a brand that is seen by the external customer as second to none in an employee driven culture. It is common to see a type of system in this stage to ensure harmonization and a clear understanding of what the expectations are, a production system modeling approach capable of assessing each location on a global scale. I’m a very strong believer in sharing best practices and lessons learned. This is how we are able to learn by knowledge sharing and opportunities instead of always learning from mistakes. As an EHS Professional, I make it my every day goal to continually learn - Learn how to be a better leader within my profession and as a person.
I would like to emphasize this concept is not to develop only a system or program; it is to develop a culture that is long lasting for many years. With this approach, I am confident the guiding principle will be to put the SIMPLE back into SAFETY. Plain and simple, it simply should not be difficult to not hurt our people. It’s together as a one culture approach developing into the True North Safety Culture.
Attention all new safety professionals: Here's some real-world advice on how to become a safety leader within your company and your industry.
Why shades of grey? No, it has nothing to do with the book and movie “50 Shades of Grey,” even though a part of me wishes it would. It’s more than that. Being a safety professional, everything is not black and white like what you might have learned in college or what a safety enforcement officer would tell you. It is, in fact, different shades of grey, something that everybody learns as they grow as a safety professional.
Part of this article is based on my experiences and some from other safety professionals that I have worked with. At my first full-time position as a safety professional, I didn't fully understand the concept of shades of grey as I saw the legislation as black and white and “the law is the law.” No compromise, even though the human resources director tried to explain the situation to me. It has only been throughout the years that I finally understood what he was talking about.
Before we really get started, I’m curious to know why you became a safety professional in the first place. I strongly recommend that you always remember the main reason why you wanted to be a safety professional because it will make it easier when you go through challenging times throughout your career. For myself, the main reason why I fell in love with this profession is that I can make a difference in people’s lives and to increase their safety consciousness.
The goal of this article is to help direct those who are new to the safety field or have a couple of years under their belt. I know for myself, I wish that I would have had this information when I first started in this amazing field as you will discover for yourself.
One challenge that you will face at the start and throughout your career is changing the general view of people that you are the “safety police.” You will discover that some people will see your job as strictly enforcement instead of what it really is. Even today, I sometimes have difficulty explaining to the general public what I do as a safety professional as some just see your role as making sure employees wear their hard hats.
I believe that the role of a safety professional is to be a guide and coach for employees, supervisors and managers by providing them with the skills and training to perform their jobs safely. The way I explain this is that as a safety professional, I am the one holding a flashlight in a dark room showing the way to get to the door safely. It is up to the employees to follow the path that I have shown them.
How to Be Successful as a Safety Leader
So what information has made my life easier as a safety professional? Actually, there are several elements safety professionals should be aware of in order to be successful in their career.
To be successful as a safety professional, you must have a certain amount of initiative. You shouldn’t wait for someone to tell you what to do next unless directed by your supervisor/manager. I recommend when you are first hired, ask your supervisor/manager what he or she expects from you in this position. This will tell you how far you can go with your initiative and the range of responsibility of your position. This will alleviate of lot of headaches for you.
Carry a logbook
I strongly suggest that you get and carry a notebook, or logbook. The purpose of having logbooks is to protect yourself in case something happens where the company, management, or employees try to blame you for an incident, saying that you didn’t tell them that something wasn’t safe, or that you are required to testify in court. Write down anything that you find odd; arguments that you have with employees, supervisors, or management; situations where recommendations were not accepted; when you know decisions made were against EHS legislation or the code of ethics. Basically, keep a log of anything that you think should be written down.
It is important that your notes are accurate and factual. You do not want to write down assumptions but you should include exact quotes. The sooner you can write the event in your logbook the better. The longer you wait, you increase your chances of forgetting important facts or parts of the conversation.
Keep up with education
The safety field is constantly changing, so staying ahead means you need to keep up with education. It can be by taking courses through universities, colleges, safety associations or by attending health & safety conferences. Keep in mind that the courses you take should be of benefit to you at your place of employment or the industry you would like to work in. It is also a great opportunity to meet fellow safety professionals and create valuable resources. If you intend to obtain a safety certification, you will be required to have a certain amount of education and if you want to maintain that certification as well.
Code of ethics
Code of ethics is probably the most complex element. You will go through certain situations in your career where you will have to make choices as to which battles you should fight and which ones you shouldn't. Not every battle is worth fighting. Even though you may be in the right, you might still lose your employment.
I remember an occasion where I was giving a confined space training session. I mentioned that the pipes going into a tank must have a flange in order to prevent any chemicals or liquid getting into the tank. To my surprise, the employees asked me if I liked my job and if I was sure I wanted to proceed with this. Later one of the senior managers told me that I had opened a can of worms. So yes, the legislation is clear on what is expected from an employer but sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture. Most enforcement officers will be happy if you can demonstrate that the safety program and culture is improving at your place of employment.
Networking can definitely become an asset for you as a safety professional. The more people you meet, the more resources and professional relationships you will develop. You can network at health & safety conferences that you attend. Also, any types of courses you attend (safety and non-safety) are great places to meet people and network. Becoming a member of an association (whether safety or non-safety) can help you to network as well. Make sure that you bring business cards with you when you attend any events.
I was very lucky when I first started my career in the safety field. I had a great team of safety professionals around me and a great manager who was my mentor. They took time and were patient with me while I was learning to be a safety professional. I strongly encourage you to find a mentor or a group of safety professionals that can do the same for you. If there are none at your place of employment, become a member of a safety association. Safety association members will be more than happy to help out with any questions or challenges you may face at your place of employment. I still reach out to my fellow members on a regular basis to obtain feedback or recommendations. I am pretty sure if you ask one of them to be your mentor, he/she will be more than happy to help you.
Interpersonal skills (soft skills).
Interpersonal skills (soft skills) are crucial if you want to become a great safety professional. I would easily say that the work of a safety professional is 80% soft skills and 20% knowledge.
Imaging yourself rowing a canoe, with you rowing in one direction and everybody else is rowing the opposite way. You won’t get very far, and similarly, you won’t be able to improve your safety program or culture at your place of employment if you’re always going the opposite direction from everybody else. Your goal is to make everyone row the same way you are.
It is guaranteed that you will have to deal with difficult individuals or groups that don’t share the same goals as you. You will need to learn how to win over all kinds of different personalities. You should take advantage of any training that you can acquire on interpersonal skills, such as how to deal with difficult people. It also helps when you can find some common ground with the person in question.
At the end of the day, you can be right all you want but if you can’t get people to follow your lead, you will not be successful.
Challenges and Rewards
As you can see, this amazing career isn’t as easy or clear as you might think. Anything in life that is worth doing always comes with its share of challenges. You will have some good days and some rough days. I know for myself, it is rewarding when the people I work with go home the same way they came in and when employees come to me and explain their efforts in going the extra mile so that their fellow employees remain safe from safety hazards and injuries.
I love this profession and I hope that the information that I have shared with you will be useful as you start your journey as a safety professional.
Christian Fournier, CHSC, is the safety and training coordinator with Fornebu Lumber Company Inc., Sawmill Division, a specialist lumber production and forest management business based in New Brunswick, Canada.
People fear the repercussions of speaking their mind; research bears this out. To share their honest assessments with the boss, they need to feel safe that it won't cause distress.
Ray Dalio’s book Principles was a #1 New York Times bestseller and the #1 Amazon business book of the year in 2017. In it he espouses “radical transparency,” which is the idea that everyone should be able to see and criticize everything in the business, including the boss and his or her ideas.
Dalio’s company, Bridgewater, is the world’s most successful hedge fund. They have been practicing and refining radical transparency practices for decades. The book presents a persuasive argument for such transparency.
There is a dark side, however. Bridgewater has a reputation as an extremely stressful and political work environment. By design, it loses more than a third of its new hires within their first year. One former associate eloquently described the company as “a cauldron of fear and intimidation.”
Such an environment is obviously not for everyone. This is mostly because of how people react to criticism. We shut down. That can be bad for success in both business and our personal lives
Whether we are trying to design a more delightful car interior, make the best investment decision, or improve ourselves, knowing what people really think and feel can be invaluable. Honest feedback about a product, a decision, or a person, is the best source for action and improvement. Getting that kind of transparency is difficult because people fear the repercussions of speaking their mind. To give such feedback, they need to feel safe that it won’t cause distress.
Why People Hesitate to Offer Honest Criticism
People have good reason to fear offering honest feedback. We know from modern science and fMRI images that criticism lights up the brain in the same way that being punched in the stomach does.
Amy Edmonson has done some pioneering research into our fear of giving feedback and inability to take criticism, which can be disastrous in certain circumstances. For example, Edmonson points to nurses who don’t tell doctors that drug doses are out of line, and executives who don’t criticize decisions they know won’t pan out. Why don’t they speak up? Because they fear the repercussions, especially of a boss.
Ideally, we want to gain all the learning and insights from honest feedback without the baggage of hurting others and undermining working relationships. We want feedback without fear. Edmonson claims that when people feel safe, they will be honest and perform at their best.
Google’s internal research into what distinguishes their highest-performing teams bears this idea out. In 2014, a team of analysts within their people operations group tried to find correlations between the performance of 180 teams and the academic studies of how teams work. Such practices include mixing introverts with extroverts, strong leadership vs. humble leadership, gathering the brightest minds, and having a clear process and structure. The researchers could find no correlation between any of these factors. It wasn’t until they stumbled across Edmonson’s concept of psychological safety that they found the connection.
Can business leaders combine these two seemingly contradictory practices of radical transparency and psychological safety? Both leverage honest opinions to optimize analysis and make more intelligent decisions. But they come at it from completely different mindsets.
In the Bridgewater model, radical criticism is forced and rewarded. Standardized meetings and supporting technologies are structured to challenge current thinking. People’s careers advance more quickly when they exhibit public criticism. In the Google model, the highest performing teams cultivate safe and playful environments where members feel free to contribute ideas and have them rigorously challenged.
How to Encourage Safe Transparency
We can ask for feedback in ways that capture the value of transparency in a psychologically safe way. I call this “safe transparency.” Below are some ideas for gathering honest feedback that makes people feel safe to offer honest insights.
1. Request feedback. Whereas giving unsolicited advice is typically unwelcomed and can hurt relationships, requesting feedback signals your trust in others and your vulnerability. It becomes an act of friendship to respond and it is a refreshing opening that allows a candid exchange that builds trust and psychological safety.
2. Build a team of advisors. It is a common marketing practice to select a panel of customers who agree to give feedback on emerging product ideas. Do the same for yourself and ask a few colleagues you trust if they would be willing to provide you with suggestions when asked. They will be flattered!
3. Be specific. It is easier for others to respond to requests about specific events, tasks or skills than to provide general guidance on “you” and how “you” might improve. For example:
Events: A meeting you ran; an interaction you had; a presentation you gave
Tasks: A project or program you are leading; a document you wrote; one of your key objectives
Skills: Meeting facilitation; presenting; writing
4. Be Agile. The agile methodology of quick iterations, collaboration and feedback across all stakeholders has become the new gold standard for software development. If you can be consistent with your feedback requests—and build them into recurring events—it will become a normal part of your own continuous improvement.
5. Listen with an open mind. When someone does show the courage of sharing difficult but candid perceptions, listen with curiosity—even when it triggers your defensive threat response!—and thank them sincerely for their feedback.
6. Use the right words. If you are not used to it, finding the right words can feel difficult. Feedback is nearly always going to be about an event, a task or a skill. Here’s a place to start:
I am hoping you will provide me with some helpful feedback on [Enter the specific event or task or skill]. Can you tell me what you think I did well, and share any ideas for how I could be even more effective?
Thank you very much!
7. Make it a habit. Leading organizations have started to incorporate and require requests for honest feedback into their employee development and project management practices. If you work at PWC, you are expected to ask for feedback monthly. At Deloitte the expectation is every other week. It’s a simple and elegant solution. Try it with your own group, and inspire a feedback revolution.
Feedback is an invaluable source of insight and learning. It’s what makes your phone easy to use and your car fun to drive. It can also help you improve and succeed as a leader. But colleagues, customers and friends are cautious about telling you what they really think for fear of offending. If you want to unlock their thinking, take the steps to create safe transparency.
Too often corporate leaders and safety professionals speak very different languages. Learn how to overcome this language barrier.
I recently consulted with a group of safety professionals who wanted help explaining to their corporate leaders how their function added value to the organization. I helped them explain the financial, legal exposure and PR benefits of good safety in terms C-suite executives would understand. Almost all the terminology I used was foreign to the safety professionals. There was no philosophical difference between the leaders and safety professionals; safety priorities were a subset of executive priorities. The two groups simply spoke different languages.
In such situations, I have found four key strategies to overcome this misunderstanding:
1. Ask and answer the old WIIFM (“What’s In It For Me?”) question.
Both safety folks and executives tend to think that if they are setting and meeting their own objectives, they are obviously successful. Neither side truly considers what the other wants and needs. There is no “win-win” mentality expressed in isolated goals and objectives. Both groups actively impact the other but there is no coordination of these efforts. Corporate initiatives can have devastating impact on safety, and safety can practically shut down production if done in isolation. All too often, neither side asks how they will impact the other, nor are they explaining their actions in terms of how the other side will benefit.
2. Align strategically.
This whole dichotomy begins when organizational and safety strategies are developed independently of each other. Leaders must delegate day-to-day safety management but should not delegate the development of safety strategy. Safety strategy should be imbedded in organizational strategy in a way that sets clear priorities and directs tactical decisions. Effective strategy eliminates the need to wonder what leaders would do in particular situations. It establishes values by which situational decisions should be made. It also identifies priorities to keep important issues from receiving less attention than issues that seem urgent but are not as important.
A strategy that directs organizational decisions must be overarching and include all priorities such as safety, quality, environmental and regulatory issues. Sadly, most organizations do not have such a strategy.
3. Find common terminology.
Ideally, safety professionals should be business leaders first and safety specialists second. If they are trained as such, they will speak the language of business. This would put them more on the same page with their corporate leaders. Common terminology promotes better communication and coordination of efforts. Understanding organizational priorities empowers safety professionals to make contributions rather than working at odds.
When organizational leaders speak the language of production and safety leaders speak a different language, workers perceive a dichotomy between safety and productivity. This thinking undermines both production and safety. The idea of “safe production” gets lost. Leaders view safety as strictly a cost center whose goal should be to operate inexpensively. Safety leaders often say if organizational leaders are serious about safety they would “put their money where their mouth is.”
Safety leaders seldom think in terms of return on investment when they plan their budgets.By not communicating in business language, they diminish the credibility of their message and efforts. Unified terminology can ensure that production and safety both get attention. Eliminating this dilemma for workers tends to make them both safer and more productive.
4. Organizational design should facilitate cooperation.
Many companies have too many layers of management between safety leaders and organizational leaders. These middle managers often filter information between the two entities, preventing meaningful contact between them or formation of good working relationships. Safety needs a seat at the table with organizational leaders. Many safety efforts are too far removed from the strategic leadership of the organization. Safety becomes an afterthought or, worse, an annoyance to the real work of production.
Leaders who are not directly and frequently appraised of safety efforts tend to oversimplify safety and lack empathy for the daily challenges safety leaders face. In some organizations, the top safety leaders are in full command and dictate safety practices and programs. If they have a seat at the table and coordinate with other leaders, then safety efforts can be strategically aligned. However, in other organizations, top safety personnel are basically subject-matter experts and serve as advisors to regional or site-level safety personnel. In such cases, continuity of efforts with strategy can be seriously compromised.
If the senior safety leader is not a dedicated safety professional but simply has safety as another responsibility, safety seldom gets the attention it needs to produce excellent results. An organizational chart should be designed with keen appreciation of how it will impact safety.
It is difficult for people who speak different languages to work closely and effectively together. When business and safety leaders have not only different agendas and priorities but speak different languages, collaboration and coordination are seriously compromised.
Safety is not something else you do besides work. Safety is the way you perform work. If the people who design operational/organizational strategy and the people who create safety strategy do not collaborate closely, the two strategies will almost always compete for priority and resources. When safety competes with productivity, productivity tends to win.
Likewise, if the leaders who give marching orders compete with those who give safety orders, workers are torn between these priorities. If production supervision controls the system of pay raises and promotions, they will be perceived as more important and powerful than safety leaders. Give your workers what they need to be successful at both production and safety. Make sure safety and production understand each other’s needs, that they develop strategies that align rather than compete, that they speak a common language that fosters appreciation for the big picture of organizational success, and that the design of the organization supports these goals.
Terry Mathis, founder and CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader in the industry, Mathis has authored five books, numerous articles and blogs. EHS Today named him one of the “50 People Who Most Influenced EHS” four times. Mathis can be reached at email@example.com or 800-395-1347.
Leaders should encourage workers to think outside of the box.
As leaders, we all want it. We all say it. We all wait for it to happen… Innovation.
All too often the wait appears to be too long and true innovation seems to linger somewhere beyond our reach. Leaders whose organizations are not innovative enough seem to focus on that result – on the fact that employees are not finding faster, better, and more efficient ways to perform their work. Innovation is the result of a process.
Concentrating on improving this process by design rather than on the results by chance will foster an environment rich in new ideas and better ways of meeting your organizational needs.
Daring your workers to think differently, empowering them to do so and facilitating a framework for success is the way to go. Converting innovation expectations into an action plan and driving towards completion requires a formal process. Continuously tweaking that process with the gift of failure offers the best perspective while driving performance by design and the best opportunity to transform your organization.
There are five easy steps you can take right now to establish a framework that may transform your employee workforce from monotonous to being a proficient innovation delivery device.
Personally accept failure as an opportunity to improve and not as an opportunity to discipline. Failure is an output of a process. It is an unplanned option within it that surfaces during process implementation. The process performed exactly as it was designed so the design of it is where the corrections are most effective. Accepting failure as an opportunity to improve drives the “how” and not the “why” within the culture. Determining “how” the process failed will lead to sustainable process changes. Focusing on the “why” it failed leads to blame, shame, and train. If you allow your organization to fail, it will do so frequently, it will recover quickly and it will be primed for innovation. There is no innovation without failure as an integral component. Let your organization know that it is okay to fail, to recover and to move forward.
Encouraging respectful conflict seems counterintuitive but the fact is that disagreement, or non-alignment of perspective, is a key factor in establishing an innovative culture. All decisions including yours, your team’s, and everyone’s are game for a challenge. If everyone agrees 100 percent of the time, your organization cannot be innovative. Disagreement within an organization offers the gift of perspective and varying perspectives drives better solutions and better solutions drive innovation. The key here is for you as the leader to moderate and assure fairness of voice, diversity of thought, and respectfulness amongst all participants.
Set up the innovation framework for success. Make innovation a priority right up there with safety, schedule, cost, and quality performance. Set the expectation that efficiency of process and new approaches to solving your biggest issues are a requirement, a key to the doorway of processional success within your organization. Establish your performance reward criteria in writing and communicated it in ways that are understandable to your team. Set aside a ten to fifteen minute “brag-a-log” session in your staff meetings where your team members can thank each other and can highlight their innovations and accomplishments in support of the customer. Create an environment where innovation is celebrated and valued. Challenge your team to think differently at every opportunity.
Formally establish an innovation team. Make your mark and promote your initiatives. The best way to do this is to take decisive action in this regard. Establish an innovation team reporting directly to you as the organizational leader. Include members of other functions and operational areas of responsibilities. On your EHS Innovation Team, ask Facilities, HR, Legal and others to join. Focus this team on efficiency of process. A good place to start is on increasing leader and employee engagement. Let the team select their leader and then turn them loose, no hold barred! Crazy ideas are often the best ones that lead to true innovation. Take their ideas and turn them into action. After a short while, you will have an inspired innovation delivery device.
Create opportunities for early career professionals to lead. Very often, early career professionals are buried under the weight of an organization. This is, most times, an untapped resource for innovation. Engage on a purposeful journey to create higher level opportunities for these early career professionals. This can be simply accomplished by having them either take part of or lead a business level team. The latter is better. Think about what needs to be done, provide the resources and empower high-performing early career professionals to make it happen. You’ll be glad you did.
With active shooting incidents permeating media, how can companies prepare for an act?
On April 3, 2018, 38-year-old Nasim Najafi Aghdam entered YouTube’s headquarters with a semi-automatic pistol and began shooting company employees. The act of workplace violence at the video sharing company’s San Bruno, Calif., office was only one of many incidents that have caused widespread media attention and discussions about what companies can do to protect their workers from active shooting situations.
“Given the current landscape of the workforce, a company’s ability to focus on an active shooter or workplace violence incident is absolutely paramount,” says Juliette Kayyem, CEO of Zemcar. “Moving forward, leading organizations need to ensure the safety of employees by bringing these policies into the workplace and putting them into practice, much like how fire drills are already a regular event for employees.”
While workplace violence statistics often are underreported, the numbers that are available only demonstrate that it is far more prevalent. The most recent data available estimates that more than 2 million people are victims of a workplace violence incident each year. The FBI states that 80 percent of all active shooting incidents happen on the job. However, many employers still remain unprepared. EHS professionals and employers can create a secure workplace through training workers to recognize the signs of a disgruntled employee as well as having a solid emergency response plan in place should an act of violence occur.
The most common types of workplace violence vary by industry, but can be broken down into four parts (See “Types of Workplace Violence”). The FBI provides detailed information about the different occurrences on its website and published resources.
The U.S. workforce spends on average about one-third of their life in the workplace, according to numerous studies. So, knowing your coworkers and surroundings is crucial to preventing a workplace violence incident.
“Employees typically know when something is ‘off’,” says Vic Merjanian, founder and CEO of Titan HST. “Common warning signs in individuals are increased aggression, harassment towards customers or employees, concealment of a weapon and interpersonal conduct that doesn’t fit the setting.” It is also important to be wary of biases an individual may possess and to ensure that the perceived threat is based on objective criteria, he adds. Workplace safety is ever evolving, and communicating threats as well active situations is key to sending workers home safe every day.
A survey conducted by Rave Mobile Safety shows the need for effective communication in workplace violence incidents. More than half of Millennial respondents (53%) said they were unaware of their company’s emergency plans or that their employer had no plan in place. Only 34% of respondents aged 45 and older indicated the same.
In addition, the survey discovered that only half of those 45 and older were “very likely” to report an issue when it comes to worker safety, and just 8% of Millennials surveyed said the same. Facilitating the right communications methods is an essential step.
“Initiating quick, direct and informative communication is essential,” Merjanian says. “Being able to share what the threat looks like, where the threat is located and any other pertinent details is always helpful to emergency responders.”
When it comes to technology, employers should ensure workers have proper cellular access and Wi-Fi connection to facilitate calls should an emergency occur. Emergency applications can be downloaded on smartphones to communicate more directly across the employee network, notify emergency responders and download lifesaving resources such as CPR and first aid instructions.
When it comes to protecting both the workplace and employees, installing security cameras in vulnerable building access points such as loading docks, shipping and receiving entrances, parking garages, or main entrances can deter criminal activity, says Amy Harper, senior director of workplace strategy and consulting operations at the National Safety Council (NSC). Harper adds that employers have recognized the need to address workplace violence and set up policies to address this through employee training, conducting mock training exercises, adopting a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence and creating an emergency action plan.
Making a Plan
Emergency response plans should be clear and direct with how workers should react or handle a situation. These plans should include proper procedures for assessing, documenting and acting on potential threats, Merjanian says.
“Unfortunately, we find that many workplaces do not have any plans in place, or have plans that are very outdated and do not address the threats that employees may encounter in today’s workplace,” he says.
When it comes to documentation, companies should have written protocols for terminations and demotions/job changes of workers that identify potential security and employee safety concerns in order to mitigate those, Harper says.
Security badges as well as badge-based permissions should be made available to ensure only approved workers are able to access the facility or any restricted areas.
“Contractor management programs help account for any non-employee presence onsite and having protocols for contractors to “check in” upon arrival ensures they are expected and have approval to provide services,” Harper says. When a threat or incident occurs, a structured response needs to take place in order to keep workers safe.
“Once a threat is identified, the question becomes — do we contain the threat, assuming we can, or do we advise employees and customers to initiate a lockdown?” Merjanian says. The first step workers should take is to immediately contact security or law enforcement. Then, employees can move coworkers, themselves, and any potential customers in to a safer place if they are able to, he says.
“It is generally not advisable to approach the threat,” Merjanian says. “If you do see a weapon and decide the only option is to approach the threat, the employee must make sure to commit to their actions and not hesitate.”
In an active situation, the best advice is to stay calm and exercise one of three options: run, hide or fight, Harper says (See “Run, Hide, Fight”).
“Some people commit violence because of revenge, robbery or ideology – with or without a component of mental illness,” Harper says. “There is no way of knowing when an attack is imminent. So it’s important to be vigilant and alert, and to have prepared ahead of time, being sure to train employees on appropriate responses.”
Types of Workplace Violence
TYPE 1: Violent acts by criminals who have no other connection with the workplace other than to enter to commit robbery or another crime.
Type 1 violence by criminals otherwise unconnected to the workplace accounts for the vast majority—nearly 80% —of workplace homicides. In these incidents, the motive is usually theft, and in a great many cases, the criminal is carrying a gun or other weapon, increasing the likelihood that the victim will be killed or seriously wounded. This type of violence falls heavily in industries where workers’ jobs make them vulnerable: taxi drivers such as late-night retail or gas station clerks, and others who are on duty at night, who work in isolation.
TYPE 2: Violence directed at employees by customers, clients, patients, students, inmates, or any others for whom an organization provides services.
Type 2 cases typically involve assaults on a worker by a customer, patient or someone else receiving a service. In general, the violent acts occur as workers are performing their normal tasks. In some occupations, dealing with dangerous people is inherent in the job, as in the case of a police officer, correctional officer, security guard, or mental health worker. For other occupations, violent reactions by a customer or client are unpredictable, triggered by an argument, anger at the quality of service or denial of service, delays, or some other precipitating event.
TYPE 3: Violence against coworkers, supervisors, or managers by a present or former worker.
TYPE 4: Violence committed in the workplace by someone who doesn’t work there, but has a personal relationship with an employee—an abusive spouse or domestic partner.
Type 3 and Type 4 violence comprise of incidents involving violence by past or present employees and acts committed by domestic abusers or arising from other personal relationships that follow a worker into their place of employment. Violence in these categories is no less or more dangerous or damaging than any other violent act. When the violence comes from a worker or someone close to that worker, there is a much greater chance that some warning sign will have reached the employer in the form of observable behavior.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Run, Hide, Fight
RUN—If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to: • Have an escape route and plan in mind • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow • Leave your belongings behind • Help others escape, if possible • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be • Keep your hands visible • Follow the instructions of any police officers • Do not attempt to move wounded people • Call 911 when you are safe
HIDE—If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. Your hiding place should: • Be out of the active shooter’s view • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e., an office with a closed and locked door) • Not trap you or restrict your options for movement
To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place: • Lock the door • Blockade the door with heavy furniture is nearby: • Silence your cell phone and/or pager • Turn off any source of noise (i.e., radios, televisions) • Hide behind large items (i.e., cabinets, desks) • Remain quiet
If evacuation and hiding out are not possible: • Remain calm • Dial 911, if possible, to alert police to the active shooter’s location • If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen
FIGHT—As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by: • Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her • Throwing items and improvising weapons • Yelling • Committing to your actions
Training for BBS and safety have not advanced significantly over the past several decades, but the world we live in and our workforce have. Up until recently, training options have been limited to classroom sessions and long computer modules that check the box but often don’t do much to improve results.
Enter microlearning, a relatively new concept that supports today’s work environment and prepares your workforce for future success. On the scenes since 2012, microlearning helps employees better remember critical safety information and change their behavior to actually move the needle on the safety metrics that matter most to your business.
In this webinar, we’ll share real-world examples of organizations that have been leveraging microlearning as a critical component of their safety excellence strategy and behavior-based safety programs to change behavior, drive down safety incidents, and instill a safety culture. We will examine what you need to have in place to be successful with microlearning and how it can support you in your efforts to achieve safety excellence.
Specifically, you will learn:
What microlearning is (and isn’t)
What you need to have in place to set up your organization for success
How microlearning can impact each phase of BBS
3 examples of companies that are using microlearning and getting results
Terry L. Mathis, Founder and CEO, ProAct Safety
Terry L. Mathis is the founder and CEO of ProAct Safety, an international safety and performance excellence firm. He is known for his dynamic presentations and writing in the fields of behavioral and cultural safety, leadership, and operational performance, and is a regular speaker at NSC events. He is a veteran of over 1600 safety, culture and performance improvement engagements in 39 countries, and has personally assisted organizations such as Georgia-Pacific, Williams Gas Pipeline, US Pipeline, Herman Miller, AstraZeneca, Wrigley, ALCOA, Merck, Rockwell Automation, AMCOL International, Ingersoll-Rand, The United States Armed Forces and many others to achieve excellence. Terry has been a frequent contributor to industry magazines for more than 15 years and is the coauthor of five books and more than 100 articles and spoken at hundreds of private and public events. EHS Today has listed Terry four consecutive times as one of 'The 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS'.
Carol Leaman, CEO, Axonify Inc.
Carol Leaman is the CEO of Axonify Inc., a disruptor in the corporate learning space and innovator behind the Axonify Microlearning Platform—proven to increase employee knowledge and performance necessary for achieving targeted business results. Prior to Axonify, Carol was the CEO of PostRank Inc., a social engagement analytics company that she sold to Google in June 2011. Previously, Carol held CEO positions at several other technology firms, including RSS Solutions and Fakespace Systems. Carol is a frequent speaker, a regular contributor to Fortune magazine and a well-respected thought leader, whose articles appear in various learning, business and technology publications. She also sits on the boards of many organizations, both charitable and for-profit, and advises a variety of high-tech firms in Canada’s technology triangle. Carol has won multiple awards, including the Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Intrepid Award (2011) and the Sarah Kirke Award (2010) for Canada’s leading female entrepreneur and she is a finalist for the Techvibes Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2017).
This webinar will be conducted using a slides-and-audio format. After you complete your registration, you will receive a confirmation email with details for joining the webinar.
You've got to develop the talent and skills of your workforce.
Imagine you’ve been asked to oversee building a brand-new manufacturing plant optimized with the latest digital technologies including advanced robotics, sensors, 3D printing, data analytics, automation and the Internet of Things (IoT). You have a limitless budget except the company requires that all of the technology remains on a Microsoft DOS operating system.
Ridiculous, right? Even if you could find some things that might work, making that plant Industry 4.0 competitive would be an impossible task.
Still, many manufacturers are doing something similar with their workforce. They’ve focused on investing in new technologies, while operating on outdated people strategies. Meanwhile, the gap continues to widen between the skills that available workers have and those that manufacturing jobs demand.
Here are four key areas to help you update your talent strategy from a traditional to an Industry 4.0 approach:
1. Traditional Approach: Product first, people second
Product is king. Many manufacturers focus on how they need to change the product before they think of the implications for their people. Workers have to adopt the changes or risk their jobs.
When the labor market was flooded with qualified manufacturing workers, it was often relatively efficient to take this approach. But as manufacturing jobs grow more complex and the pool of interested and qualified workers dwindles, a product-first approach is more likely to breed resentment among workers or drive them out completely.
Industry 4.0 Approach: Build change champions
Implementing change in the world of Industry 4.0 depends first on getting employees to embrace the changes. That process starts by developing “change champions” who are ready to embrace innovation and have the ability to influence others in their networks to adopt transformation.
These champions are usually digital-savvy, can listen to others’ issues with empathy, and have excellent communication skills.
Manufacturers should aim to build 15-30% of their workforce as change champions, spread across mission-critical roles, from frontline leaders to plant managers to advanced technical experts.
2. Traditional Approach: Employee engagement is a bonus, not a necessity
Traditionally, decision-making in manufacturing was made from the top down, with lower-level workers awaiting instructions from their managers. In that environment, having an engaged workforce was a bonus, but less important than having people who could effectively implement orders.
Industry 4.0 Approach: Operationalize engagement skills
As manufacturers are increasingly driving toward lean, high-technology environments, it’s critical to have a highly engaged workers who take ownership over their work and can quickly solve problems. In fact, DDI research shows that companies with high leadership quality and engagement are nine times more likely to outperform their peers financially.
Many manufacturing companies have no idea how to solve the engagement problem, or try to solve it with short-term employee incentives they hope will improve engagement. But the best way to address the problem is to operationalize engagement by training leaders in how to demonstrate key engagement behaviors—including selling the vision, inspiring passion, providing timely feedback, delegating and following up, and helping to close skill gaps.
Applying these skills must become a part of the way the company operates, not just a “nice to have” value.
3. Traditional Approach: Hire for skills and experience
The common-sense approach to recruitment in manufacturing is to hire people who have the experience and skills to meet the demands of the job. In the environment of Industry 4.0, however, the pace of change has accelerated, quickly making skills and experience irrelevant. Instead, personality is proving to be much more relevant on the job.
In fact, a 2015 study by The MPI Group showed that, at more than 300 manufacturing sites, poorly selected personal attributes and competencies were much more likely to be the cause of termination than technical and professional “know-how,” education, or past achievements.
Industry 4.0 Approach: Hire for learning potential
Industry 4.0 leaders must demand a radical shift in their hiring and promotion practices to focus less on skills and experience, and instead look for individuals who demonstrate strength in agility, continuous learning, interpersonal communication, and proactive problem-solving skills.
Manufacturers should start by looking for these skills within their existing workforce, and ensure that these skills are either already present or developed in their leaders before they apply these radical new criteria across their frontline hiring practices. Otherwise, companies may see an uptick in turnover and worker dissatisfaction as workers who are ready to learn, grow and adapt feel thwarted by their leaders.
4. Traditional Approach: Learning to be a leader happens by trial and error
Manufacturing leaders often determine their approach to leadership by observing their bosses on the job, and end up copying the behaviors they like or vowing to do things differently.
Formal leadership development, if it happens at all, occurs in bits and pieces during infrequent seminars in which participants are “talked at” for a few hours about leadership. As most manufacturers were more segmented in the past, this approach to leadership development was often good enough to accomplish baseline quotas in various parts of the company. But in the streamlined world of Industry 4.0, such an inconsistent approach hampers collaboration and stands in the way of implementing major changes.
Industry 4.0 Leader Approach: Create purposeful learning journeys
A purposeful learning journey combining face-to-face learning with online learning that helps hone on-the-job-skills can help manufacturers achieve more consistency in their leadership. This learning should be spread out over a specific time frame to avoid overwhelming participants.
Given enough capital, any manufacturer can invest in the latest technology. But without the right people in place to optimize that new technology, it will take a long time to recover the investment.
Scott Erker is DDI’s senior vice president of operations in the U.S. His global perspective on talent management strategy comes from his work with organizations around the world in workforce planning, selection, leadership development, succession, and talent analytics.
What happens when an OSHA inspector shows up at your door? Two former OSHA inspectors tell all.
How exactly does OSHA work? Is the government really out to get every company and to cite every workplace safety violation? What happens when an OSHA inspector shows up at your door? And can you actually beat an OSHA citation?
Who better to know—and reveal—the secrets of what prompts and occurs during an OSHA inspection than former OSHA officers? At the ASSP 2018 show in San Antonio, Texas, two retired OSHA officers who now work for consulting firm Safety Controls Technology—Nick Walters, formerly regional administrator for Region V (Chicago) and Tom Bielema, formerly Area Director for the Peoria, Ill, OSHA office—shared their field experiences. Walters and Bielema have a combined 47 years of OSHA experience.
1. Why did OSHA pick my company for an inspection?
OSHA follows a number of priorities when determining which facilities to inspect. Those priorities include:
· imminent danger
· fatalities and catastrophes
· sever injuries (i.e., hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye)
· employee complaints
· referrals, whether from law enforcement, other government agencies or the media
· programmed inspections, such as National Emphasis Programs (NEP) or Local Emphasis Programs (LEP)
2. Can I ask for a copy of the OSHA complaint?
3. Can I ask OSHA to get a warrant?
Again, yes, but you should seriously consider whether you really want to raise the idea in OSHA’s mind that you might have something to hide. All OSHA personnel will present their credentials if you have any reason to question the legitimacy of the inspection or the personnel.
4. What documents am I required to provide to the Compliance Officer?
Typical documents requested include the organization’s Federal Employer ID number, OSHA injury and illness logs, written programs, and training records.
5. Can I limit the scope of the inspection?
Yes, particularly to manage and limit the risk of providing OSHA more information than you necessarily ought to. For instance, resist the temptation to offer OSHA a full tour of your facility or campus. You should definitely require the Compliance Officer to follow all workplace safety procedures. Also, let them know about any trade secret areas in your facility. You should know the scope of the inspection and limit areas of access and travel routes (where appropriate) to only the areas within that scope.
6. How does OSHA decide whether or not I get a citation and what the penalty amount will be?
Penalties are calculated based on severity as well as probability, with mitigating factors including history and good faith. There are four violation types:
· Willful: a violation that the employer intentionally and knowingly commits or a violation that the employer commits with plain indifference to the law. OSHA may propose penalties of up to $129,336 for each willful violation.
· Serious: a violation where there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard. There is a mandatory penalty for serious violations which may be up to $12,934.
· Other-than-serious: a violation that has a direct relationship to safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm. OSHA may propose a penalty of up to $12,934 for each other-than-serious violation.
· Repeated: a violation that is the same or similar to a previous violation. OSHA may propose penalties of up to $129,336 for each repeated violation.
7. Does OSHA have a quota system?
In a word, no.
8. What are my options after I receive a citation?
Companies have three options:
· Accept the citations, correct the conditions and pay the penalty.
· Participate in an informal conference.
· Contest the citations, which must be done in writing within 15 working days of the final order.
9. Should I schedule an informal conference and what should I expect when I go to the OSHA office?
They suggest you should always take the informal conference option, where you should be able to get a better explanation of the violation, the standards cited, what is needed to correct the violation, and other issues.
10. Can we beat an OSHA citation?
Yes, particularly if the violation is due to employee misconduct. You must be able to prove all four of these:
· A work rule was violated.
· The work rule had been properly communicated.
· Your organization needs to prove it actively monitors compliance to the rules.
The era is the all-knowing, all-powerful heroic leader has come to an end, according to Polly Labarre.
Labarre kicked off Safety 2018, the annual conference of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), in San Antonio.
"We really do live in a world that is ruled by mavericks," she said. "Creativity is fundamentally subversive in nature."
While safety and being a maverick may not seem to go together, this is not the case. Safety leaders should encourage creativity as a start to mobilize workers to do great things.
"As a leader today, you have to assume you're not in charge," she said. "Power and influence should come from what you contribute, not your position."
In order to have innovation and adaptability within an organization, there are five "maverick" rules that should be followed. Labarre explained these rules that can be found by clicking through the slideshow.
Portrait of adult woman exercising for running track on running competition in stadium. She is on the number 6. Green grasses of stadium are seen on the background. Shot in outdoor daylight with a medium format camera.