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.
Rixio Medina, incoming president of the American Society of Safety Professionals, discusses the organization’s branding change, the big topics in safety and how ASSP is addressing them.
Rixio E. Medina, CSP, ASP, CPP, is passionate about safety. A member of ASSP since 1991, his proud Hispanic background combined with domestic and international experience provides a framework for the organization, which is undergoing a name change after a century.
Members of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) approved a change to the organization’s name in August 2017. Outgoing president Jim Smith cites the change—from “engineers” to “professionals”—as an effort to reflect a more diverse membership. “Engineers made up our entire membership when we were formed, but today the occupational safety and health profession encompasses many disciplines,” he explains.
In an interview with EHS Today, Medina—whose career includes more than 30 years in various EHS leadership roles at CITGO Petroleum—addresses the underrepresented populations in the safety profession, how to recruit a younger generation into the industry and the organization’s upcoming initiatives.
EHS Today: Please discuss your background and how you plan to use those experiences to enhance the mission of ASSP.
Rixio Medina: I chose to be a safety professional and went to college at a young age to pursue a formal education in safety. My background was with oil and gas, primarily. I have always been involved with safety and had the opportunity to be a technical person and then lead teams of safety professionals in different facilities.
I had the opportunity to move around the country and internationally. That gave me a noble but also a global perspective about professional safety and health. So, that's what I bring to the table. Being a safety professional, I have a global view of the practice of how safety is while also being involved with ASSP at different levels.
I also have had the honor to serve some government functions because I was appointed to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. I saw from a very close perspective how the government works in relation to safety. This is a tool that will help me also work with stakeholders in helping advance safety and health across the nation.
Are there any specific initiatives going into the presidency that you're working on?
Medina: We have designed four pillars or strategic aspects which we are working within: member communities, education, standards and advocacy. So, within those four big pillars of areas there are some initiatives. We’ve been very active and my goal is going to be to continue advancing and gain good results in each one of them.
We will place emphasis on work with the center in health, sustainability and our work in professional competency that we do with a number of global organizations. We have made a lot of progress in this last two to three years, and we're going to continue pushing those areas with specific programs that we have in advocacy and speaking for the safety professional where we define what's being called the safety pipeline—bringing more people to the practice of safety.
We’re going to make a big emphasis on bringing more women, more veterans, more Hispanics to the practice of safety. We're targeting other stakeholders to present to young people. People in middle school and high school will learn what safety is all about, what a safety professional is and the opportunity that we have to make a contribution to society—not only having great jobs, but also preventing injury, preventing harm to environments and having very exciting careers.
Can you please tell us more about the branding change?
Medina: We’re very excited about the change. For years, as an ASSE member, I’ve heard about the concern [that the organization was just for engineers]. A lot of people were joining but still had a reservation because of that.
We have embraced this name change because we now reflect the diversity that we have in our organization, the inclusion that we have as professionals and the different fields of expertise that have an impact in safety.
The feedback that we are getting from current members and potential members is that they are very excited about it. They welcome the name change, and we will see an increase of participation in membership just because of the name change.
The opioid epidemic is a big topic across the country. Is there anything the organization is planning in the next year that focuses on it?
Medina: It's a national epidemic and we are working with other stakeholders up to the intersociety forum, organizations, peer organizations and membership organizations to be part of a team.
Instead of having our own new agenda or new initiative, we’re going to join forces with other stakeholders to bring the message to the workforce and add value with specific recommendations, efforts and activities to help alleviate that problem. First, we want to make sure that all practitioners understand what the problem is and what tools and solutions are available at the workplace to help address that concern. But again, instead of doing this by ourselves, we’re going to join a larger force of stakeholders that includes people in the public and private sector to work as a team to advance this message.
Are there any new plans to address distracted driving?
Medina: We have addressed the issue internally through various publications, webinars and information that we have shared for the professional development of our practitioners. At every conference, we have topics addressing distracted driving, and we have done some work in that area, but we need to do a lot more.
We’re going to continue that emphasis and bring the information to the young professionals and practitioners across the country and use all the tools that we have in the toolbox through professional development to public appearances, communication, network and chapters to see what impact we can have at a local level in addition to the things that we learn from a society standpoint. We also have a wonderful opportunity to utilize our members from different chapters to interact with schools and with local organizations to identify the problem and how we can help to address that.
Are there any specific OSHA or industry regulations that ASSP will be focusing on?
Medina: During the spring of last year, we published a position paper about managing risk, extending options and eliminating inefficiency. It contained our own ideas about reforming workplace safety and health, and we had the opportunity to discuss this with OSHA before we published the document. We are supporting the adoption of a risk-based approach.
It’s more than just the prescriptive approach to safety. We definitely encourage a focus on opportunities to address the primary issues in the workplace such as transportation and falls.
We encourage the public sector to concentrate their efforts on addressing those key issues. If we can reduce transportation-related fatalities, then we’ll make a definite impact. From the government perspective, there are several agencies that are dealing with it, but from the occupational standpoint, we really need to refine our approach and ask what else we can do. After all, these are workplace fatalities. So, we need to make a bigger emphasis on transportation-related accidents.
We are encouraging the administration to expand the use of third-party auditing. We also encourage the recognition of employers who are doing the right thing—they are examples of excellence in occupational safety and health.
We are encouraging the use of settlement agreements to advance occupational safety and health—more than just the penalty—to give employers the opportunity to use some monetary penalties to establish management systems and programs that can help them improve their performance. So, instead of the money going just to the general funds of the government, employers can use some of that to reinvest in those facilities under a controlled type of program.
We are encouraging better cooperation between NIOSH and OSHA, and we definitely support the total worker health effort that’s being led by NIOSH.
We had a position with the recordkeeping rule. We believe that a lagging indicator is a non-advanced way, example after example, to demonstrate safety. The best performers in occupational safety and health use other measurements to track and demonstrate advancement of their programs. So, we want the administration to consider using other type of metrics and be cautious about the recordkeeping rule in areas pertaining to privacy.
What will ASSP focus on for the next year in regards to integrating wellness into safety programs?
Medina: For years, we have addressed this because we have a number of safety professionals who also have responsibility over health. A lot of companies have had wellness programs, but we are now embracing the idea of total worker health, not just the accident prevention part of it.
There are practices, facilities, activities and actions that have an impact on employee health and their work condition and that can make them more productive and more effective at work. Things like our lifestyles—everything that we do that contributes to work-life balance. The issues of adequate diet and exercise are factors that affect employee behavior and their physical ability to perform. More of these topics are being shared with the members and attendees and you’ll see more publications and webinars that address the issue.
We are working with stakeholders, particularly with NIOSH and the American Industrial Hygiene Association, to focus on total worker health. You will see this more and more in our venues.
Anything else you’re looking forward to during your term as president?
Medina: We had a workshop on the national safety research agenda. We need to advance our knowledge, and through working with a number of stakeholders, we will have a workshop again this year. We are creating with an agency a special council on academics and research because we definitely want to continue advancing, sponsoring and promoting more research in the area of occupational safety and health—not only from the government, but also including the private sectors.
We’re going to have a Hispanic occupational safety and health workshop and invite different stakeholders and agencies who will sponsor an activity to identify what has worked, and what is and is not working well. What else can we do to reduce the number of fatalities among Hispanic workers?
We’re also concentrating on bringing opportunities to veterans and people who are about to leave the service to catch them up, and use the skillset that these people bring in and offer them the opportunity to learn about safety, become a safety professional and brief them about the practice of safety. EHS
Safety 2018, the ASSP’s annual professional development conference & exposition, will be held June 3-6, 2018, in San Antonio, Tex.
Safety programs should create positive experiences that motivate workers to get engaged and help the efforts be successful.
Marketing and sales experts have avowed for years that buying decisions are largely based on three criteria: value, price and experience. Over the past several years, the only notable change in this formula is that the experience has grown significantly while the other two criteria have diminished. This means the service and ambiance of a restaurant might be more important than the price and quality of the food.
So how does this apply to safety? I have been urging organizations for years to think of their workers as the clients of their safety programs rather than problems to be controlled. If this mindset is adopted and embraced, we must ask ourselves what is the worker’s experience when they participate in our safety programs? Increasingly, this experience is going to influence buy-in and, ultimately, employee engagement in safety.
Not all organizations address safety the same way, but most have some common approaches, including training, meetings, rules and procedures, supervision oversight and disciplinary actions. Think about how each of these create experiences in your organization and how that experience influences your workers to buy in to safety.
Safety training ranges greatly in quality and effectiveness. The majority of training we encounter is repetitive and monotonous. Classroom instructors often just go through the motions and computer-based training (CBT) is not updated enough. When we interview workers, they roll their eyes and tell us training is boring and they do not really learn anything they did not already know. A few concede the reminders might keep them more on their toes than if they had not had it, but virtually no one brags about its effectiveness.
I often ask leaders if their workers would pay to attend safety training and the most common reaction is laughter. Does this experience sell workers on your safety programs or convince them of its lack of value?
I have attended some really well done safety meetings where plans are laid out and issues discussed. Sometimes a formal job safety analysis (JSA) is completed with input from workers. However, the majority of safety meetings are held to check off the box and document completion.
Sometimes supervisors repeat safety platitudes. These are not wholly without value since they do reflect the organization’s priority on safety, but they don’t do a good job of selling. The experience is one of going through the motions or checking off the box. The information is delivered but there is seldom any retention testing or quality rating of the training. Very few workers buy in to safety because of the safety meeting experience.
Rules and Procedures
Organizations develop rules and procedures to address workplace hazards that cannot be eliminated or reduced by physical or engineering interventions. The level of compliance with these rules and procedures varies greatly based on training, supervision and enforcement. But the overall effect usually occurs in one of two ways: workers regularly violate the rules with impunity and disregard them with increasing regularity, or they strive to comply and feel safe doing so.
There is danger either way: violations can lead to accidents but so can compliance if the rules and procedures do not address every risk contingency. In either case, the experience of compliance or non-compliance is not a compelling reason to buy in to the safety program. If all accidents come from non-compliance, then the experience can reinforce compliance. But reinforcement is not necessarily motivation, so compliance can create passive acceptance without really selling workers on the concept.
There is also the danger of workers limiting their thinking to compliance and ignoring risks not covered by rules and procedures, such as low-probability risks.
If production supervisors also oversee everyday safety, workers have a clear view of how to comply. If, on the other hand, production supervisors oversee production and safety professionals oversee safety, workers find themselves in a conflict of interest. Safety and productivity compete with each other for priority. This often creates a dichotomy and workers ask themselves if they should be productive or be safe.
In reality, what most organizations want is safe production. But if one authority promotes production and another promotes safety, which does the worker choose to deliver? This dichotomous atmosphere creates an experience fraught with conflict and feelings of helplessness that are anything but pleasant.
Amazingly few organizations are aware of this condition and actively address it. Failing to do so creates an experience that actively turns workers off to the safety effort.
Some organizations believe discipline is the best way to address non-compliance. Other organizations resort to discipline to “show people we are serious about safety.” Either way, discipline is used and creates negative side effects. First, discipline must be timely and consistent to be effective, and most discipline is neither. Second, even if effective, discipline tends to damage relationships and culture. The use of discipline for safety almost inevitably creates a negative experience that keeps workers from buying in to safety efforts.
Organizational leaders should ask themselves, “Does compliance with our safety programs create an experience that sells workers on the program?” But their answers should be supplemented with workers’ answers. Understanding the difference between willing cooperation and grudging compliance is a critical mindset of successful leaders. But a mindset is only the beginning.
Safety programs and processes should be designed to not only be effective and efficient, but to create positive experiences that motivate workers to get engaged and help the efforts be successful. Engagement has three levels:
2. Participation, and
People take better care of what they own. Do your workers feel a sense of ownership in your safety initiatives, or do they simply use them while at work and leave them at the gate when they go home?
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 has 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.
Digital Transformation has had a profound impact on how businesses operate, the way people work, and the trend continues to accelerate. The potential for digital innovation to improve safety and operational performance is great. Technologies such as sensor-equipped wearables, digital beacons, and augmented reality provide real-time interaction for workers with the work environment and safety/risk management system processes and procedures. But merely applying technology is not inherently useful. The real value is the interaction of technology with the total organizational system and the people and processes comprising it.
During this webcast, LNS Research will explain how safety and operations leaders can use digital innovations to enable the connected worker, improve safety, and mitigate risk.
What you will learn:
Impact of Digital Transformation on the workplace, and why it’s an opportunity for safety and health leaders
How to engage the workforce to reduce risk using the EHS 4.0 framework
What are the technology enablers that leading companies use today
Real-world connected worker use cases to improve safety
Recommendations to facilitate low risk, high-value digital innovation projects
Who should attend:
VP/director of EHS
Safety and health leaders
Peter Bussey, Research Analyst, LNS Research
Peter Bussey is a Research Analyst with LNS Research; he primarily focuses on environment, health, and safety (EHS), and sustainability in the industrial sector. Mr. Bussey has more than 30 years of experience in manufacturing, consulting, and technology to support EHS management, R&D, asset management, risk management, product lifecycle management (PLM), enterprise asset management (EAM), and supply chain. He has held key positions at global companies such as SAP, Alcoa, Michael Baker Corporation, Arthur D. Little and Oracle. Mr. Bussey earned a Master of Science in Environmental Health from Harvard University, a Master of Public Management with distinction from Carnegie Mellon University and a BS in natural sciences with departmental honors from Johns Hopkins University.
Donavan Hornsby, Vice President & Corporate Strategy Executive, Gensuite LLC
Donavan Hornsby is Vice President & Corporate Strategy Executive at Gensuite LLC, software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider of Gensuite®, the award-winning suite of cloud-based software solutions enabling compliance and management systems excellence across EHS, Quality, Sustainability, Security, Responsible Sourcing, and Product Compliance. Donavan leads Gensuite’s Business Development and Strategy organization, including market development and product innovation strategies. Prior to joining Gensuite in 2001, Donavan held various leadership roles within the technology and service sectors. Donavan received his MBA with distinction from the University of Louisville and his undergraduate degree from DePauw University. Outside of his professional commitments, Donavan leads a non-profit organization, working with landowners to protect and conserve land with special natural, agricultural or scenic value in northern Kentucky and surrounding regions.
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.
Managers are learning to better appreciate every person’s unique talents in the hunt for more productivity.
A business axiom that has always held true is that what you measure gets done. A corollary to that would be: how you look at things predicts results.
As a society, we tend to classify some people as “disabled,” which leads to a viewpoint that emphasizes the limitation of abilities. Today the preferred term is “differently-abled.” A perfect example of this new way of thinking is when enterprise solutions provider SAP explained that autistic people had abilities that were so well suited to the work they needed done that hiring them was not a matter of inclusion, but in fact a way to improve results.
This viewpoint has found acceptance in the warehouse and distribution sector as well. As far back as 10 years ago, retail pharmacy chain Walgreens designed its Anderson, S.C., distribution center with differently-abled workers in mind.
Lewis said that Walgreens, which currently counts this population as 10% of its workforce across its 21 DCs, discovered a host of benefits from this employee population. There were less accidents, reduced workers’ compensation costs, less absenteeism and better employee retention.
Studying the Walgreens model, where 40% of this DC was other-abled, the American Society of Safety Engineers found that turnover was 48% less, medical costs were 67% lower, and time-off expenses were 73% less.
Another company with a long history of employing the differently-abled population in its warehouses is consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble. Earlier in the decade, when the company added a customization (FlexiCenter) center into its 24/7 manufacturing operation in Maine, a discussion arose as to how this center should be staffed, remembers David Bartage, plant finance manager for the facilty. “We quickly concluded that we should reapply a staffing model we saw at Walgreens’ DC, in which 30% to 40% of the employees were people with disabilities.”
Within three years of the FlexiCenter coming online, 40% of its employees were other-abled people, performing the same jobs as people without disabilities, with the same productivity objectives and earning the same pay, Bartage notes. “Some of the benefits of the FlexiCenter, he explains, include: increased productivity, zero safety incidents, zero quality incidents, 90% reduction in turnover, a significant improvement in morale, reduced hiring costs, reduced training costs, and increased “goodwill.”
Employers will continue to hire this population for their abilities and for a looming labor shortage. But I think we need to also focus on the more basic element of humanity toward each other.
Lewis explains it best: We learned the satisfaction of our own success does not compare to the joy of making another person successful. No surprise that most managers now say their number one job is to make every employee successful, disability or not. The program has been embraced by team members and supervisors who say this has led to a work culture of teamwork and purpose. These lessons have extended beyond the workplace back in our everyday lives. Simply put, it has made us better—better co-workers, better managers, better spouses, better parents, better people.
In the logistics sector, we have the opportunity to continue these efforts. Our goal is that one day we have no need to label anyone as another than “my colleague.”
The median base salary for full-time EHS professionals was $97,000.
Full-time safety professionals with at least one certification earn $20,000 more per year than those with none, according to a new survey from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) and the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).
The 33-question salary questionnaire surveyed nearly 10,000 safety, health and environmental professionals based primarily in the United States and Canada. It identified the typical salary, benefits, credentials and experience of these workers.
“The value of safety, health and environmental certifications continues to grow, with many laws and standards specifically citing them,” said BCSP CEO Treasa M. Turnbeaugh, Ph.D., MBA, CSP, ASP, CET, CAE, IOM in a statement. “Many companies include certifications in their job requirements, and contracts for safety services also call for them. Earning certifications that support your specialty and heighten your expertise is the smart thing to do.”
According to survey results, the median base salary for full-time professionals was $97,000, with 22 percent of respondents earning $125,000 or more. The certified safety professional (CSP) designation added $30,000 to the salary of a practitioner with no other credentials.
“The salary survey validates the earning power of safety and health professionals, demonstrating the advantage of adding credentials and gaining experience,” said ASSE President Jim Smith, M.S., CSP, in a statement. “It should encourage people within the industry to seek accredited education programs and professional certifications to maximize their earning potential in such a dynamic field.”
The survey showed that formal education also correlates positively with salary levels as those with a doctoral degree typically earned $16,000 more annually than those with a bachelor’s degree, and $20,000 more than those with an associate degree.
Examining a typical workday revealed that the most time is spent on safety functions (26%) and safety management (15%). Traveling for their job consumes about one day per week. These safety professionals primarily work in company offices (58%) versus in the field (30%) or at a home office (12%).
The average respondent was 47 years old and has worked as a safety, health and environmental professional for 16 years. When asked how they first entered their practice, the largest proportion of professionals indicated it was by obtaining a degree in the field (31%). Almost half of the respondents (47%) directly supervise other staff, with each boss overseeing 21 people on average.
The survey identified the various departments where the safety function resides, led by operations/production (24%) and followed by risk management (17%) and human resources/administration (12%). About half of the respondents were employed at privately owned organizations while one-third worked at publicly traded companies and 13% held government positions.
The survey was designed by BCSP and Minnesota-based Readex Research, a nationally-recognized independent research company. Since its founding in 1947, Readex has completed thousands of surveys for clients in many markets, including associations, corporations and government.