The PDF file is a slide presentation.
Basic Safety Management Elements
The elements that make up an effective basic safety management plan
BBS Processes and Their Potential
Behavior-based safety (BBS) methods entered their "heyday" in the 1980s and 1990s, largely driven by successful implementations in the military, petrochemical, and manufacturing industries.
Widely touted and praised, they were adopted by many firms. Notably, many firms stayed "on the sidelines," to determine whether the methods would have sustainability and staying power.
Properly done, these systems provide a new way to engage workers in safety, building on what we have learned about participative management over the last 100 years.
Behavior-based methods providing positive feedback for desired behaviors, and those which encourage worker input, will continue to provide solid injury reductions.
However, many BBS processes "miss the mark" and become a "paper chase."
Does BBS Really Work?
In a three-year study conducted by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) that was published in Professional Safety magazine in 2004, 300 construction firms were tracked. One half of the companies chose to implement a behavior-based, positive-reinforcement program. The other 150 companies did not implement a system.
At the end of the three-year study, the firms who chose to implement a behavior-based, positive-reinforcement system had injury rates that were 50 percent lower than the firms that refused to try behavior-based recognition programs.
There are numerous case studies that support these same findings, proving that these programs work. But to understand why they work, we must also explore why they fail.
Working in urban environments presents a wide variety of hazards and risks for employees and organizations across many industries. Hazards and risks associated with this work are often not anticipated and can be overlooked in the preplanning stages of projects and tasks. The unique, non-traditional hazards of working in urban environments come from many sources, such as homeless encampments, drug labs, criminal activity, human interaction, and animals, just to name a few. Working in urban environments can be complicated by other factors, such as needle-sharing programs, encountering stolen property, working in areas of high crime and gang activity, and the use of temporary workers by employers.
Health and safety hazards in urban environments can be encountered by workers on construction sites, city streets and parking lots, vacant or abandoned property, environmental cleanup projects, surveying and locating projects, urban campuses, right-of-ways, in retail operations, in and around commercial establishments and healthcare facilities, and in many other work locations and industries. Traditional risk assessment methods provide a starting point for evaluating potential worker exposures. However, non-traditional health and safety hazards must also be considered to fully assess worker health and safety hazards in urban environments.
This paper provides an introduction to the identification of non-traditional health and safety hazards that can arise in urban settings, and suggestions for control methods to protect workers from potential harm. This paper is not a sociopolitical study or statement regarding causes, reasons, or remedies for the hazards and conditions that confront workers in urban environments.
For decades, Fortune 500 Companies have leveraged Operational Excellence (OE) methodologies to drive productivity, employee engagement and culture. By definition, Operational Excellence is a workplace philosophy and methodology focused on identifying and eliminating defects or inefficiencies in a process, most often, a manufacturing process. OE involves focusing on the ‘customers’ needs, keeping employees positive, empowered, and engaged and continual improvement. It’s clear, concise, practical, but most importantly; actionable and teachable.
OE problem solving methodologies and techniques have not historically been applied to a facility, market or region’s ‘Safety Process’ or ‘Safety Defects’. It has similarly not been applied to address Safety Maturity and Culture. It is important to remember that Culture drives employee behavior and employee behavior sets the norms, both positive and negative.
Examples of norms resulting from a negative culture include excessive clutter, employees not wearing seatbelts, tires not choked, finger pointing, supervisors not properly training new employees, etc. Norms resulting from a positive culture include the opposite; excellent housekeeping, all employees wear their seatbelts and when someone is not, they are coached by a peer based on the need to protect themselves and others around them, employees are heard, engaged and part of hazard identification and solutions!
If you seek to change culture, pick a norm you want to change, activate a plan to change that norm. Change the negative norm, you change behaviors, you change behavior you begin changing culture.
The OE problem solving tool; D M A I C (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) allows your plant or geography to get very specific to the negative norms that drive performance using available data and employees’ operational expertise.
The ‘Customer’ in this example is our employees and the “defects” are injuries, near misses and unsafe behaviors. The goal is to identify the norms and root causes leading to the defects or injuries and change the norm(s) driving unfavorable performance.
This approach uses Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control).
For years, industries claimed they didn’t realize what they were emitting into our air, into our waterways, and into the ground, and what effect it would have on our environment. Since the advent of the environmental disciplines (mid-1960s), our society now realizes what a mistake that approach was. Even today, abandoned industrial sites and misused landfills are still being cleaned up through the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) “Superfund” program. Industry was not the only culprits; however, mom-and-pop shops, farmers, dry cleaning operations, and other types of small businesses, had just as much effect on polluting the environment.
In the early 1970s, the story of Love Canal, a housing development built over a capped industrial dumpsite in suburban Niagara Falls, New York, ran rampant in the media and took the public by surprise. Concern for this type of event happening in “our backyard” led to public demand for our legislative body to develop regulations that would ensure the proper management of industrial wastes.
You Say You Want an Evolution
Management of environmental program elements has increasingly become a major focus for safety professionals over the past few decades. Many companies had separate environmental departments; however, as companies streamline and reengineer their professional support staffs there has been a marked trend towards an increase in consolidation of the safety, health, and environmental functions. The traditional safety professional has found the knowledge of environmental affairs critical to their well being. For companies involved in international business, the ISO 14000 standards represent a revolution in corporate environmental management. The safety professional must become familiar with the ISO approach to the environmental affairs.
The PDF file of this paper is in Spanish.
La industria de la construcción es un sector fundamental de la economía mundial. Es uno de los pilares de la economía en la mayoría de los países, contribuyendo significativamente al desarrollo socioeconómico. Sin embargo, también es mundialmente reconocido como uno de los sectores industriales más peligrosos con una larga historia de altos índices de lesiones y fatalidades laborares. Durante 2015 en los Estados Unidos, de 4.379 muertes de trabajadores en la industria privada, 937 o 21,4% trabajaban en la industria de la construcción (OSHA 2015). Además, el sector de construcción también ocupó el cuarto lugar entre los sectores con más altos índices de accidentes de trabajo mortales, con 10,1 por 100,000 trabajadores equivalentes a tiempo completo (full-time equivalent workers). En el Reino Unido, de 247 muertes durante el período 2015/16, 45 o 18% se produjeron en la construcción (HSE 2016). En Colombia, las tasas de lesiones en la industria de la construcción muestran una tendencia creciente, permaneciendo superior a otros sectores industriales (6.8 accidentes fatales por 100,000 trabajadores)(Fasecolda 2013).
El pobre desempeño en seguridad en la industria de la construcción se atribuye muy a menudo a la naturaleza inevitablemente peligrosa del trabajo y / o a las pocas opciones de comportamiento seguro de los trabajadores en ese ambiente peligroso (Ringen et al. 1995; Gervais 2003). Sin embargo, una característica inherente del sector de la construcción es la fragmentación del trabajo que lleva a múltiples contratistas y subcontratistas que realizan tareas simultáneamente y en estrecha proximidad poniendo a los trabajadores en riesgo no sólo por su propio desempeño sino también por otras prácticas y procedimientos de otros trabajadores (Gervais 2003; Lingard and Rowlinson 2005). El entorno dinámico hace que sea difícil anticipar y así controlar los peligros de manera oportuna. Este aspecto de las obras plantea la necesidad imperiosa de enfoques capaces de interpretar la realidad cotidiana de las obras de construccion.
Las percepciones de seguridad de los responsables de establecer políticas y procedimientos y de aquellos que promueven su ejecución en el lugar de trabajo deben integrarse para implementar intervenciones de seguridad integrales. Si bien las percepciones de los trabajadores son relevantes para comprender las discrepancias que se producen entre las políticas formales y las que están en uso, también es una prioridad entender las percepciones del personal dispuesto a implementar los cambios necesarios para mejorar la salud y la seguridad de los trabajadores. A diferencia de las tasas de lesiones y los días de ausentismo que reflejan el desempeño de la seguridad en el lugar de trabajo de manera retrospectiva, las percepciones de seguridad podría utilizarse como un indicador que ofrece una forma alternativa para mejorar los aspectos que afectan la seguridad en el lugar de trabajo.
Effective and efficient safety programs rely upon accurate and consistent risk assessments. Underestimate risk, and our safety and health programs become ineffective, as employees whose risk was underestimated continue to perform their duties with the risks unabated. Overestimate risk, and our programs become inefficient, as limited resources are wasted on risk controls where none were needed.
In general industry, formal risk assessments are often made qualitatively, using a matrix approach with severity and likelihood of harm as key inputs (Figure 1). Accurate and consistent risk assessments require selection of the correct severity and likelihood inputs. In particular, a clear understanding and assessment of the adequacy of controls is critical for selection of the correct likelihood input parameter and is therefore a critical determinant for the accuracy and consistency of risk assessments.
Techniques developed to support formal layer of protection analysis (LOPA) in the process industries hold promise for improving our understanding of controls used in general industry. In particular, LOPA concepts may be able to increase our understanding of the strength and reliability of various options in the hierarchy of controls.
LOPA is a semi-quantitative approach to risk assessment. It uses order-of-magnitude control layers as basic building blocks to systematically understand the risk controls that are in place, and whether adequate protection is provided for a particular scenario outcome.
The LOPA control-layer building blocks are called independent protection layers (IPLs). IPLs are very similar in concept to layers of protection in the commonly used “Swiss Cheese” hazard control model (Figure 2), and their relative strength corresponds roughly with the traditional hierarchy of controls. However, there are rigorous rules for their proper validation and use. Understanding IPLs and the rules for their use may provide promising opportunities for improving the accuracy and consistency of general-industry, matrix-based qualitative risk assessments.
There is a common anecdote told by leaders and safety professionals who have been involved in incident investigations: We found that people knew something was wrong prior to the incident, but no one said anything to prevent it. Why do people so often stand by and say nothing as disasters unfold? This question confounds leaders, plagues industries and underscores the frustration felt by many who have investigated incidents.
After reviewing the results of a study of safety intervention that we conducted in 2010, this paper looks closely at four different factors that keep people silent. We draw from research in multiple disciplines to formulate a better understanding of low intervention rates during operational activity, and propose a preliminary step that organizations can take to increase the likelihood that their employees will speak up about unsafe activities.
The Significance of Employees’ Silence
Employees’ willingness and ability to talk about and stop unsafe operations is one of the most critical layers of protection against unwanted events. Managers and safety personnel cannot be everywhere at once. They cannot write rules and procedures for every possible situation, nor can they engineer the environment to remove every possible hazard. As we have learned from detailed reports on recent, high-profile events, when catastrophic failures occur, it is often the result of a complex and unexpected interaction of many different elements.
When people monitor the complex system in which they work — which includes equipment, processes, technologies, reporting structures and other people — and reliably stop both minor and major unwanted events before they occur, they function as a kind of agile layer of protection. Much like the body’s immune system, which attacks harmful foreign bodies automatically and without instruction from the brain’s executive system, people throughout an organization are uniquely suited to stop unwanted events without direct oversight from leadership; but this agile layer of protection is not as robust as we would like, and many unwanted events occur as people stand by silently watching them unfold.
What are they, how do they work or not work, and when should they be used? This paper will attempt to define each concept and provide a framework for their application. It will also provide some context about the challenges faced by Safety Professionals as they work through using each one of these management practices to optimize performance of employees and to help them reduce risky behavior.
Any Safety Professional who has worked to improve safety and reduce risk within an organization has invariably been faced with the challenge of having to give feedback, provide accountability or discipline, coach, or even punish employees. However, the use of each of these different approaches to interacting with employees comes with possible perils and benefits. This paper will provide some perspective into each of these concepts and will outline the basics of 1) what are these different actions, 2) when is their use appropriate and when should it be avoided, and 3) what model is most effective at motivating employees to work safely.
One aspect of this discussion that this paper will not attempt to evaluate is whether or not Safety Professionals should be the agents of administering discipline, punishment, or any other outcomes. Based on a number of years of experience and observation of hundreds of organizations, it is true that there are many options when considering if Safety Professionals should have the ability or responsibility to hold people to account if they are at risk. In some instances having this ability reside with the Safety Group makes sense as they can immediately intervene in at risk actions and create immediate consequences when they are necessary. In other instances, the Safety Professional has a more collaborative role as a coach, mentor and facilitator rather than as a disciplinarian. In either case, this part of the discussion is beyond the scope of this article and will not be covered here.
Gadgets are smart these days. You can buy a refrigerator that tells you you’re out of milk. Your car knows when its tires are low. You can even ask your mobile phone for parenting advice. We owe the increasing power of our toys and tools to the fact that all of them now sport powerful operating systems.
Similar to our gadgets, organizations have operating systems. Think of them as cultural operating systems. Both electronic and cultural operating systems provide a set of rules that guide the behavior of the device or the people respectively. For example, when you press the ON button of an iPhone, a whole series of coded rules display an Apple logo, followed by the time of day, your customized wallpaper, and an unlock bar.
Similarly, a cultural operating system engages a set of rules that guide the behavior of employees when they enter a high-stakes meeting, react to abrupt organizational changes, or contemplate what to do with discretionary time. But while electronic intelligence is processed by written coded rules, a cultural operating system (COS) is often driven by a combination of written and unwritten rules. For example, executives may have written cultural mandates in the form of values, mission statements, and corporate creeds that prompt employees to take initiative, speak candidly, and act as a team. Yet when you watch what employees actually do, you realize the unwritten rules are avoid risk, defer to the boss, and stay in your silo.
Executives have known for decades that their COS largely determines organizational success or failure. For example, renowned restaurateur Danny Meyer has created a cultural operating system that influences his 1500 employees to create superlative hospitality experiences for his 100,000 daily guests. Recently, a harried guest forgot her cell phone and purse in a taxi that raced away after depositing her in front of the restaurant. The maître d’, prompted by Danny Meyer’s COS, welcomed her, assured her all would be well, and seated her with her party. In the meantime, the maître d’ began calling the guest’s cell phone repeatedly until the cab driver noticed and answered it. Before the guest had even ordered her entrée, an employee had been dispatched to meet the cab driver, retrieve the phone and purse, and deliver it to the overwhelmingly appreciative customer. And, while much credit for the remarkable experience is due to an enterprising team, less dramatic versions of unrivaled customer service happen hundreds of times a day because Danny Meyer has designed crucial skills into his intentionally created COS.