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“Does Your Facility Have An Effective Safety Culture? Is Safety Truly A Priority?

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One way to improve the effectiveness of your safety process is to change the way it is measured.

Measurement is an important part of any management process and forms the basis for continuous improvement. Measuring safety performance is no different and effectively doing so will compound the success of your improvement efforts.

Finding the perfect measure of safety is a difficult task. What you want is to measure both the bottom-line results of safety as well as how well your facility is doing at preventing accidents and incidents. To do this, you will use a combination of lagging and leading indicators of safety performance.

Lagging indicators of safety performance

What is a lagging indicator?

Lagging indicators measure a company’s incidents in the form of past accident statistics.

Examples include:

  • Injury frequency and severity
  • OSHA recordable injuries
  • Lost workdays
  • Worker’s compensation costs

Why use lagging indicators?

Lagging indicators are the traditional safety metrics used to indicate progress toward compliance with safety rules. These are the bottom-line numbers that evaluate the overall effectiveness of safety at your facility. They tell you how many people got hurt and how badly.

The drawbacks of lagging indicators.

The major drawback to only using lagging indicators of safety performance is that they tell you how many people got hurt and how badly, but not how well your company is doing at preventing incidents and accidents.

The reactionary nature of lagging indicators makes them a poor gauge of prevention. For example, when managers see a low injury rate, they may become complacent and put safety on the bottom of their to-do list, when in fact, there are numerous risk factors present in the workplace that will contribute to future injuries.

Leading indicators of safety performance

What is a leading indicator?

A leading indicator is a measure preceding or indicating a future event used to drive and measure activities carried out to prevent and control injury.

Examples include:

  • Safety training
  • Ergonomic opportunities identified and corrected
  • Reduction of MSD risk factors
  • Employee perception surveys
  • Safety audits

Why use leading indicators?

Leading indicators are focused on future safety performance and continuous improvement. These measures are proactive in nature and report what employees are doing on a regular basis to prevent injuries.

Best practices for using leading indicators

Companies dedicated to safety excellence are shifting their focus to using leading indicators to drive continuous improvement. Lagging indicators measure failure; leading indicators measure performance, and that’s what we’re after!

According to workplace safety thought leader Aubrey Daniels, leading indicators should:

  1. Allow you to see small improvements in performance
  2. Measure the positive: what people are doing versus failing to do
  3. Enable frequent feedback to all stakeholders
  4. Be credible to performers
  5. Be predictive
  6. Increase constructive problem solving around safety
  7. Make it clear what needs to be done to get better
  8. Track Impact versus Intention

While there is no perfect or “one size fits all” measure for safety, following these criteria will help you track impactful leading indicators.

How Caterpillar used leading indicators to create world-class safety

An article on EHS Today titled, “Caterpillar: Using Leading Indicators to Create World-Class Safety” recaps an interview with two Caterpillar executives who explained how they were able to successfully transition to a culture that utilizes leading indicators for safety.

According to the execs at Caterpillar, “… traditional metrics can help companies tell the score at the end of the game, but they don’t help employers understand the strengths and weaknesses of their safety efforts and cannot help managers predict future success.”

By utilizing a Safety Strategic Improvement Process (SIP) that emphasized leading indicators of safety, they saw an 85% reduction of injuries and $450 million in direct/indirect cost savings.

According to the article, the critical elements of the SIP included:

  • Enterprise-wide statement of safety culture.
  • Global process, tools and metrics.
  • Top-down leadership of and engagement with the process.
  • Clearly defined and linked roles and responsibilities.
  • Clearly defined accountability.
  • Consistent methods establishing targets and reporting performance.
  • Consistent criteria for prioritizing issues and aligning resources.
  • Recognition for positive behavior and performance.
Conclusion

To improve the safety performance of your facility, you should use a combination of leading and lagging indicators.

When using leading indicators, it’s important to make your metrics based on impact. For example, don’t just track the number and attendance of safety meetings and training sessions – measure the impact of the safety meeting by determining the number of people who met the key learning objectives of the meeting / training.

What metrics do you use to measure your facility’s safety performance? Do you use a combination of leading and lagging indicators?
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“Infographic: OSHA’s Multiemployer Citation Policy”

Do you work on a multiemployer worksite? If so, do you understand your safety responsibilities?

When OSHA inspects multiemployer workplaces, inspectors determine who should be cited for violations based on whether employers are “creating employers,” “exposing employers,” “correcting employers,” or “controlling employers.”

This infographic will give you an overview of what these terms mean and help you understand your safety responsibilities depending on your role on a worksite.

OSHA's Multiemployer Citation Policy

OSHA’s Multiemployer Citation Policy by Safety.BLR.com

“Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs & Employee Engagement In Safety”

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Note: Click on picture for Full View!

Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who created the Hierarchy of Needs, a theory which argued that psychological health was dependent on the fulfilling of needs in order of priority. This theory put forward the idea that humans must have their basic needs met in order to pursue their own personal growth and development. The needs in Maslow’s theory are, in order:

  1. Survival – These are biological needs such as food, water, shelter, sleep.
  2. Safety – This need requires stability, security, order, law, and protection from elements.
  3. Belonging – This is a need for friendship, love, affection, and intimacy
  4. Importance – The need to achieve and master things, independence, and self-respect
  5. Self-Actualization – This is the need that requires people to fulfill their potential and what they believe they’re capable of.

These needs are the basis for human survival and growth. But look closer at them. They play a large part in employee engagement levels and how your employees are engaged and motivated within your company. Let’s break it down and see how this works:

  • Survival – We know this is a basic need. This includes the need to have a job, a salary that pays the bills, and a sense of financial independence.
  • Safety – When we have jobs, we need to know that they are secure. With the way the job market is nowadays, it’s hard for many to move past this second most basic need. It also causes individuals to need structure in the workplace, with a chain of command and a process for their duties so they feel confident that they’re doing their job correctly.
  • Belonging – People need to feel like they’re part of a team, that they are a part of something bigger. As employees, humans need to know their individual contributions are valued by the company. If your organizational is setup around team principles, then this sense of belonging and “camaraderie” should come almost naturally.
  • Importance – This need dovetails into the “belonging” need in the sense that individuals need to feel like they’re important to a team, projects, and the overall organization. This need is most prevalent inside of larger companies where the need to engage employees on a personal level becomes harder and harder for higher level management.
  • Self-Actualization – Most employees have some level of ambition and want to achieve more than where they’re currently positioned. Giving them opportunities for growth, learning, leadership and advancement gives them all of the tools they need to begin to self-actualize within your company’s walls. When they reach this point, and are taking full advantage of the tools made available to them, they inspire others along the way and create a ripple effect of employee engagement.

These needs are critical for the fulfillment of a satisfying professional life and career, so how can you provide this type of environment for your employees? The first two needs are fairly simplistic – pay your employees a livable wage and don’t make them feel as if their job is on the line all the time. Have a strong organizational structure that promotes teamwork and inclusion and you can begin to fill the third need. The fourth need, importance, is where things like employee recognition come into play so strongly.

When your employees perform well, let them know it. Recognize them publicly for their accomplishments and reward them for what they’ve done. The public recognition lets the employee know their performance is important and that it matters. Incentive programs also work well here because they give employees tangible rewards for their performance. When someone receives a reward, or is able to use something like reward points to redeem for the reward item of their choice, they emotionally connect that reward to their jobs and feel important and accomplished because of it.

Self-actualization is realized because when employees feel important and recognized, they feel like they can take on more ownership of their role, and more of a leadership role within their company. This kind of employee is incredibly beneficial to the health of employee engagement because their enthusiasm and attitude actually inspire others to want to perform on their level. It’s contagious, and it works with workplace safety too!

“Infographic: How Does Your Safety Culture Stack Up?”

Both OSHA observations and independent research confirm that developing a strong safety culture has the potential to have the greatest impact on incident reduction of any process. Check out the infographic to find out what we learned about the state of safety culture from a recent BLR survey of over 500 EHS professionals, HR professionals, and other individuals involved in safety at their organizations.

Learn more about the survey results by attending BLR’s Safety Culture 2016 conference September 15–16 in Austin, Texas. Register here.

safety-culture-2016

“OSHA – DOL News Release” – “Worker Falls 22 Feet to Death, 4 Months After OSHA Cites Employer for Failing to Protect Workers on the Same Job Site”

Worker falls 22 feet to death  4 months after OSHA cites employer for failing to protect workers on the same job site

Louisville employer faces $320K in fines for serial disregard of fall protection

ADDISON, Ill. ‒ Four months after federal safety investigators cited his employer for failing to provide workers with fall protection at a United Parcel Service facility in Addison, a 42-year-old employee of Material Handling Systems/MHS Technical Services, fell 22 feet to his death at the same site.

On July 29, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the employer for three egregious willful violations for exposing workers to falls over 6 feet, after its investigation of the Feb. 9, 2016, fatality. OSHA also cited three repeated and three serious safety violations.

“A man is dead because this employer decided to break the law over and over again. Before this tragedy, OSHA cited this contractor twice for exposing workers to fall hazards, including at the same site just four months earlier,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor of Occupational Safety and Health. “OSHA is asking companies contracting with Material Handling Systems to take strong steps to ensure that this employer protects its employees, and terminate its contracts if this employer continues to violate OSHA regulations. Material Handling Systems employer must demonstrate it can work safely and stop injuring its employees.”

OSHA also found Material Handling Systems/MHS Technical:

–       Exposed other workers to falls of up to 22 feet as they hoisted conveyor equipment while working on raised surfaces with unprotected sides. Failed to determine whether walking and working surfaces could structurally support employees.

–       Allowed workers to use a combustible polyethylene tarp as a welding curtain, which created a serious fire hazard.

OSHA cited Material Handling Systems most recently for fall protection violations in October 2015 at the same jobsite. In 2014, OSHA cited the company for similar violations after an employee suffered serious injuries in a fall in Keasby, New Jersey. The employer also received fall protection citations in 2009 in Oregon and 2012 in Florida. The company’s workers’ compensation carrier is Old Republic Insurance Company of Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

Material Handling Systems/MHS Technical Services removes and installs high-speed conveyor systems. In this case, the company was working under a multi-million contract with United Parcel Service to dismantle existing conveyor systems and install new, high-speed conveyors at UPS’s Addison facility.

Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Material Handling Systems/MHS Technical Services faces total proposed penalties of $320,400. View current citations here.

Preventable falls account for nearly 40 percent of all deaths in the construction industry. Federal safety and health officials are determined to reduce the number of preventable, fall-related deaths in the construction industry. OSHA offers a Stop Falls online resource with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page provides fact sheets, posters, and videos that illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures. OSHA standards require that an effective form of fall protection be in use when workers perform construction activities 6 feet or more above the next lower level.

OSHA’s ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH’s National Occupational Research Agenda program. Begun in 2012, the campaign provides employers with lifesaving information and educational materials on how to prevent falls, provide the right equipment for workers and train employees to use fall protection equipment properly.

Material Handling Systems/MHS Technical Services has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s North Aurora office at 630-896-8700.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

# # #

Media Contacts:

Scott Allen, 312-353-6976, allen.scott@dol.gov
Rhonda Burke, 312-353-6976, burke.rhonda@dol.gov

Release Number: 16-1572-CHI

Fall Protection Training – Miller Fall Protection

“The Journey to Safety Excellence” – Infographic

Journey to Safety Excellence

The Journey to Safety Excellence is a roadmap for continuous safety improvement. We know that maintaining a safe workplace is a never-ending journey, not a destination. Check out this infographic to learn about four key pillars to protect workers and enhance your organization’s performance.

Download this infographic here: http://www.nsc.org/JSEWorkplaceDocuments/JSE-Infographic-Printable.pdf

Provided by the National Safety Council

“Free Webinar – On Demand” – “What To Do When OSHA Comes Calling”

Free Webinar On Demand What to Do When OSHA Comes Knocking

Many businesses view the issue of compliance as merely a nuisance, and the fines that result simply as the cost of doing business. Effective August 1, this “cost of doing business” will rise considerably thanks to a new regulation that includes a 78% penalty increase. Are you prepared for an OSHA inspection?

This free webinar on-demand provides tips and best practices to help you prepare for your next OSHA inspection. View the webinar to learn:

What to expect when OSHA arrives

How to walk inspectors through your facility

Best practices for impressing your OSHA auditor

How to contest an OSHA citation

Sign Up – Register Here: http://bit.ly/2a0AqE5

Speaker Profile

Rick Foote has over 25 years of experience in the field of Environmental, Health & Safety and is currently an Environmental Services Consulting Manger for Triumvirate. Rick has been with Triumvirate for over 12 years where he has established dozens of successful EH&S programs for companies that had few or no systems in place. He brings client programs into full regulatory compliance by establishing what programs exists, what level of compliance is achieved, and identifying the changes that need to be implemented. Each EH&S program that Rick develops is customized to the individual client’s needs.

“Workplace Injuries By The Numbers – Every 7 Seconds A Worker Is Injured On The Job”

Nearly 13,000 American workers are injured each day. These numbers are staggering, and the worst part is that each one is preventable. Taking preventative action can spare workers needless pain and suffering.

Journey to Safety Excellence
Provided by the National Safety Council

“Safety Photo of the Day” – “The Meaning of Integrity in Safety”

Safety Notice

Do workers view you – the safety pro – in a positive way?

“You are one of those guys, huh?”

This is what a guest at a party said to John Babcock, senior safety engineer for the International Space Station, after he told the guest what he did for a living. The partygoer worked at a local manufacturing plant and said “everyone” from the safety office at his workplace always tried shutting down the production line.

As he has done in similar situations, Babcock defended his profession. “I don’t know if I actually changed his opinion of safety professionals, but at least I had a chance to explain that all of us aren’t out to destroy production,” he said.

The perception – accurate or not – that safety professionals constantly interfere with workers’ ability to perform their jobs creates a negative and blame-based workplace culture, said David A. Hofmann, professor and area chair of organizational behavior for the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “The story about how [safety procedures] came about and the drivers of why we have these policies and procedures often gets lost,” he said. “That is a very important part of an organization’s culture, and it is [a safety professional’s] job to get people refocused on why we have these processes in place.”

‘Safety cop’ vs. ‘safety professional’

“It seems that every ‘old timer’ has a story of a ‘safety cop’ walking in and shutting down a production line for minor infractions, simply to show everyone there that they have the power to enforce all the rules,” Babcock said. As a result, safety workers need to be aware at all times of how they are perceived. “Once anyone in safety gets a label of being unprofessional, it is very difficult to change [that] attitude,” he said.

One of the worst ways a safety professional can demonstrate the “safety cop” label is by being “confrontational and look for ways to criticize or stop work,” Babcock said.

Environments where people are labeled “safety cops,” create fear and reduce safety participation, said Mark Griffin, professor of organizational psychology for the School of Psychology at the University of Western Australia. “Compliance might increase but hazard awareness, looking out for others and innovation can decline,” he said. Griffin said his research has found that safety professionals and programs that only emphasize compliance may have a positive effect on an organization’s violation rate, but other safety behaviors such as self-reporting, collaboration and educational program participation may decrease.

If someone wants to be known as a safety “professional,” Griffin said, he or she should provide context when issuing sanctions and ensure those processes are fair.

Babcock said safety professionals cannot simply go through checklists; they must engage with workers and gain insight into their work environment. “Anyone new to an organization should spend the first few weeks – or months, if needed – getting to know the people working there and simply ask them what their jobs are and ask them if they know of any safety issues,” Babcock said. “Allowing the workers to tell you what they see will give a new safety professional insight to the real processes that are used and not simply see people ‘acting’ when the safety guys are around.”

Griffin offered communication strategies a safety professional can use to foster this open dialog with workers:

  • Make safety a regular topic of informal conversations and formal events.
  • Ask workers’ opinions and regularly seek input.
  • Accept constructive dissent as a positive step.
  • Avoid blaming workers and focus on learning when discussing errors.
  • Ensure safety messages show support and concern for workers’ welfare.

Earning trust

The best approach to overcoming a “safety cop” label is to “calmly explain the safety aspect of your observation and point out any violations of the company’s safety plan,” Babcock said. This explanation should include how you only want them to be safe and do not intend to interfere with their work. “Unless there is an immediate threat of harm, wait until the person has finished whatever task they’re doing and then discuss safety,” he said.

Ruth L. Kaminski, assistant controller, human resources director and safety compliance for Auburn, MA-based Spear Management Group Inc., said it helps to make workers feel as though the safety professional is on their side. “I find if they realize at the onset that you are there to help them, or make them safe, and you are doing a job, they are not as defensive,” she said.

This trust needs to be earned, however. One thing Kaminski does is seek out worker input whenever a new safety policy is being developed. “Employees … really appreciate being part of the process and I sincerely appreciate their input, valid or not,” she said. “If not, I explain to them why so they understand.”

“The “Vert Alert” Lanyard Attachment Warning System Saves Lives”

VertAlertSCA_full

The VertAlert verbally warns the lift operator if the safety harness lanyard has not been properly attached to the lift anchor point. The VertAlert will not allow the lift to proceed UP until it has verified this proper attachment.

It will also collect and store data on lift activity including safety violations and if any attempts were made by the operator to circumvent this safety system. See more information about this unique and excellent system at: http://millennialplatform.com/ or email Paul Baillergian at  paul@suncook-intl.com 
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