Helping the little guys reduce risk

EHS Today recently included online an infographic created by The Asbestos Institute.    The statistics in this article alone are frightening.   As a company that strives to help the little guy and provide support and training to small businesses, we are concerned.  Small companies are faced with many more citations, inspections and penalties then large organizations.  The services and products we provide are as impactful for large organizations and they are for small companies.  If you are a small company who is looking to reduce your safety risk and exposure by implementing safety training or a mobile inspection/observation system, give us a call today.  Our solutions are priced and designed to help organizations of all sizes create a safe work culture and environment.

Is your culture impacting the right people?

EHS Today recently had a spot on article about transformational leadership.  Transformational leadership is different then transactional leadership.  Transformational leadership has a goal of impacting the organization beyond the immediate circle of followers/users.  According to the article  transformational leaders have five keeps characteristics: listening, communicating, caring, being collegial and being engaging.

The article also points out the bottom line impact of transformational leadership/safety for an organization.  191% increase in profit, 93% decrease in traumatic incident reduction, 76% decrease in turnover.

Shifting to a culture of transformational leadership isn’t easy.  intRAtrain and inspectiTRAC by Russell Associates has partnered with an industry expert with years of experience to develop a behavior-based safety program designed to move your organization to a transformational safety culture.   The program is designed to start with leadership and build, thus allowing buy in by all parties.  The bottom line benefits are nice, but the other positive warm fuzzies your organization will feel with your employees are happy, motivated and love coming to work each day are the icing on the cake.

Why is a strong safety culture important?

We recently read an interesting article about the safety culture practices of organizations.  The original author is unknown, but their message is clear.  Read below to learn more.

Why is a strong safety culture important?

It has been observed at OSHA Voluntary Protection Program sites and confirmed by independent research that developing strong safety cultures has the single greatest impact on accident reduction of any process.  It is for this single reason that developing these cultures should be a top priority for all managers and supervisors.

What is a safety culture and how will it impact my company?

Safety cultures consist of shared beliefs, practices, and attitudes that exist at an establishment.  Culture is the atmosphere created by those beliefs, attitudes, etc., which shape our behavior. An organization’s safety culture is the result of a number of factors such as:

  • Management and employee norms, assumptions and beliefs;
  • Management and employee attitudes;
  • Values, myths, stories;
  • Policies and procedures;
  • Supervisor priorities, responsibilities and accountability;
  • Production and bottom line pressures vs. quality issues;
  • Actions or lack of action to correct unsafe behaviors;
  • Employee training and motivation; and
  • Employee involvement or “buy-in.”

In a strong safety culture, everyone feels responsible for safety and pursues it on a daily basis; employees go beyond “the call of duty” to identify unsafe conditions and behaviors, and intervene to correct them.  For instance, in a strong safety culture any worker would feel comfortable walking up to the plant manager or CEO and reminding him or her to wear safety glasses.  This type of behavior would not be viewed as forward or over-zealous but would be valued by the organization and rewarded. Likewise, coworkers routinely look out for one another and point out unsafe behaviors to each other.

A company with a strong safety culture typically experiences fewer at-risk behaviors; consequently they also experience low accident rates, low turnover, low absenteeism, and high productivity.

Creating a safety culture takes time.  It is frequently a multi-year process.  A series of continuous process improvement steps can be followed to create a safety culture.  Employer and employee commitment is the hallmark of a true safety culture where safety is an integral part of daily operations.

Top management support of a safety culture often results in acquiring the help of a knowledgeable safety person, providing resources for accident investigations, and safety training.  Further progress toward a true safety culture uses accountability systems.  These systems establish safety goals, measure safety activities, and charge costs back to the units that incur them.  Ultimately, safety becomes everyone’s responsibility, not just the safety person’s.  Safety becomes valuable to the organization and is an integral part of operations.  Management and employees are committed and involved in preventing losses.  Over time, the norms and beliefs of the organization shift focus from eliminating hazards to eliminating unsafe behaviors and building systems that proactively improve safety and health conditions Employee safety and doing something the right way takes precedence over short-term production pressures. Simultaneously, production does not suffer but is enhanced due to the level of excellence developed within the organization.

Building a safety culture

Any process that brings all levels within the organization together to work on a common goal that everyone assigns a high value to will strengthen the organizational culture. Worker safety and health is a unique area that can do this.  It is one of the few initiatives that offer significant benefits for the front-line work force.  As a result, buy-in can be achieved that enables the organization to effectively implement change.  Obtaining front line buy-in for improving worker safety and health is much easier than it is to get buy-in for improving quality or increasing profitability.  When the needed process improvements are implemented, all three areas typically improve and a culture is developed that supports continuous improvement in all areas. The following represents the major processes and milestones that are needed to successfully implement a change process for safety and health. It is intended to direct your focus on

process, rather than individual tasks. It is common to have a tendency to focus on the accomplishment of tasks, i.e., to train everyone on a particular concern or topic or implement a new procedure for incident investigations, etc.  Businesses that maintain their focus on the larger process are far more successful. They can see the “forest” from the “trees” and thus can make mid-course adjustments as needed.  They never lose sight of their intended goals; therefore, they tend not to get distracted or allow obstacles to interfere with their mission.  The process itself will take care of the task implementation and ensure that the appropriate resources are provided and priorities are set.

Management processes typically ripe for improvement

  • Define safety responsibilities for all levels of the organization, e.g., safety is a line management function.
    • Develop upstream measures, e.g., number of reports of hazards/suggestions, number of committee projects/successes, etc.
    • Align management and supervisors through establishing a shared vision of safety and health goals and objectives vs. production.
    • Implement a process that holds managers and supervisors accountable for visibly being involved, setting the proper example, and leading a positive change for safety and health.
    • Evaluate and rebuild any incentives and disciplinary systems for safety and health as necessary.
      • Ensure the safety committee is functioning appropriately, e.g., membership, responsibilities/functions, authority, meeting management skills, etc.
      • Provide multiple paths for employees to bring suggestions, concerns, or problems forward. One mechanism should use the chain of command and ensure no repercussions. Hold supervisors and middle managers accountable for being responsive.
      • Develop a system that tracks and ensures the timeliness in hazard correction. Many sites have been successful in building this in with an already existing work order system.
      • Ensure reporting of injuries, first aids, and near misses. Educate employees on the accident pyramid and importance of reporting minor incidents. Prepare management for initial increase in incidents and rise in rates. This will occur if underreporting exists in the organization. It will level off, and then decline as the system changes take hold.
      • Evaluate and rebuild the incident investigation system as necessary to ensure that it is timely, complete, and effective. It should get to the root causes and avoid blaming workers.

With effort and commitment to a strong safety culture, you can significantly impact our organization by turning safety attitudes into safety actions.

If you have any questions or concerns about how you can improve your safety culture, give us a call.  We have partnered with a safety expert to develop top-tier safety solutions for many clients.

What impact does safety culture have on your organization?

In a recent issue of EHS magazine online, there was an article that outlined a presentation by Jim Spigener at the 2014 Safety Leadership conference.  The article begins by outlining the three universal truths that Spigener has found during his research.

  1. Culture is the ultimate predictor of safety performance.
  2. Senior leaders make or break the culture of the company.
  3. “Very few leaders are born great leaders. They make themselves great leaders.”

Spigener has done extensive research about safety and the most telling aspect that impacted safety was the culture of the organization.  At the end of the day the leaders create the biggest impact.  His model for the impact is below.

  • If a leader behaves differently, it affects the climate.
  • The climate affects follower behavior.
  • Follower behavior affects follower beliefs.
  • Follower beliefs create the culture.

Behavior-based safety with the leader taking charge and impacting the safety climate is becoming more and more critical as roles, responsibilities, and expectations of organizations, management, government regulators and the public shift.

intRAtrain and inspectiTRAC by Russell Associates have partnered with an industry expert to bring his Keys of Safety to our customers. The keys of safety in conjunction with inspectiTRAC for observations and inspections and intRAtrain Safety for training help create a complete system that helps model an effective and impactful safety culture.

The core values of this program are:

  1. Nothing we do is worth getting hurt
  2. Safety & Health can be managed
  3. Every injury could & should have been prevented
  4. Safety & Health is everyone’s responsibility
  5. Safety is a management accountability

At the end of the day, your employees just want to safe and be able to leave work without an injury or accident.  An investment in developing a safety culture and climate that encourages that behavior is a minimal cost to ensure their safety and happiness.  If you are interested in more information about the Keys to Safety, give us a call today.

Employee Accidents, Incidents, and Mishaps

Preparing and preventing employee accidents and incidents has always been a goal of organizations.  Each year over 4 million workers suffer serious injuries on the job.  Preventing these from occurring is a goal to achieve, but often times they occur when you least expect them.  Being prepared with a complete incident investigation plan is an important step.

One way to always ensure you are ready is to develop a standardized list of questions that must be asked and answered when an accident occurs.  There may even be a separate set of questions for various types of involvement such as the accident victim, supervisor, or observer.  In many cases, the questions asked can be automated and mobilized using technology.  Using a technology based solutions means that if there is a safety issue, the issue will be discovered sooner allowing for more prompt response time and initiation of corrective action.

Developing a technology based incident plan in conjunction with a technology based system for inspections, audits, and observations means greater coverage and hopefully prevention of accidents, incidents and mishaps.

If you are looking to automate and mobilize your inspections, audits, observations, or incident plans, give us a call.  Technology based solutions are saving companies thousands a year in resource requirements, while reducing risk and exposure.

Does the FSMA impact your inspections and audits?

The FSMA has been an ever-changing topic since it was announced.  Over time, the process has changed and new features, rules, qualifications and standards have been added or removed.  Each time something changes critical time must be taken to understand and comply with the new standards.  Food Safety News released a listing of critical dates related to food issues.  I invite you to view this article to check for any issues concerning your business.

Additionally, as time passes, it may be a wise decision to keep up to date on these issues.  The White House/ U.S. General Services Administration keeps a website that helps provide up-to-date information about Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Activities.

Check is out at : http://reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaMain

Are you throwing money away?

Did you know that the chemical manufacturing industry had more than 5,300 lost time injuries that cost the industry over $401 million in 2012.  This is in addition to the number of lost work days and other untracked costs and productivity lost.  $401 million in one industry, image the total cost of lost time injuries nationwide?  Worldwide?  The dollars lost are staggering.

The dollars lost to injuries are very hard to recoup for any industry.  The best way to save the money is to not lose the money in the first place.  This is done by finding way to mitigate the risks.  We recently read an article that outlines some of ways.

intratrain and inspectiTRAC by Russell Associates can help you with many of the mitigation tasks outlined including.

  • Identify hazards through a good Job Hazard Analysis (JHA)
  • Take corrective action.
  • Follow up to verify improvement.
  • Avoid “top-down” approaches where only managers observe and report.
  • Ensure there is no retaliation for reporting
  • Ask everyone on the team to step up

We offer a number of solution designed to help organizations.  Our intRAtrain Safety System components can help.  They include:

  1. Safety Knowledge Assessment/ Study- The assessment will review the current safety program components to determine areas for improvement.
  2. Employee Safety Training- Training provides the basic knowledge of the safety issues and concerns making employees more risk aware.  Training is available is a variety of methods including online, classroom or blended.
  3. Training Documentation- Results of employee training/development are all managed in an online system designed for ease-of-access to results and data.
  4. Behavior-Based Safety Observation Management Software- Behavior observations help engage the employee in the process and provide a level of ownership in the safety program. This software allows for easy management of the process from start to finish.
  5. Safety Hazard Inspection and Audit Management Software- This software manages and tracks the completion of audits and inspections designed to ensure a safe work environment exists.
  6. Corrective Action Management Tool- Response and resolutions of failures discovered during observations, inspections and audits is critical.  This tool allows for easy monitoring and assignment of corrective actions resulting in reduced risk exposure.
  7. Safety Rewards- Employees are encouraged to develop safe work practices and behaviors through proactive safety rewards programs.

Each company and plant has specific risks requiring a customize solution to mitigate the risk. If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you stop throwing money away, visit our websites (www.intratrain.com / www.inspectiTRAC.com), then give us a call.

Can accidents be eliminated?

There has always been a goal to eliminate accidents in manufacturing and in business workplace in general. Numerous initiatives and strategies have been implemented, but the fact is accidents continue to occur. We recently read an interesting article about General Electric’s new approach to workplace safety and found it very interesting. I invite you to read more about it.
It is interesting to note that they used a form of observation and data tracking to determine the critical points in their facility that needed attention. Observation has long been used to attempt to change individual behaviors, but is now being used as a method of organization / procedural change. GE identified the risks through the use of observations and inspections, used root cause analysis to solve the problem, then made changes to help solve the issue. The ability to solve or reduce the problem area could have been a physical, mechanical, or training issue, but regardless of how the problem is solved the important fact is they found a way to make difference.
One of our products, inspectiTRAC, assists organizations with observations, inspections and audits. The results of the observations are available immediately for easy data access and response. If trending data is important, data can also be monitored over a period of time to track and monitor concern areas. Quicker response time means corrective actions can be implemented sooner, which is better for you, your employees, and your customers.

Can you save time on your internal audits?

I recently saw a study done by Thomson Reuters about the state of the internal audit.  I didn’t find any of the results startling.  According to the study 81% of the internal auditors who responded indicated that providing assurance of internal control processes remained their focus.  In addition, these internal auditors continue to have to focus on additional areas as well such as IT/Risk, tracking corrective actions and working with senior management and compliance departments.

With each task and responsibility that auditors add to their plate there is the need to make sure they are making adequate and productive use of their time.  Internal audits are not something that are done quickly or should be done hastily.  Internal audits often require capturing a great volume of information and finding a way to manage the data to achieve the results and corrective actions needed.

The study by Thomson Reuters did not discuss how an automated/mobile system could help alleviate some of the time required by internal audits.  An automated system, such as inspectiTRAC, can help reduce the time in both the collection and the management phase of the audit.  Audit information and data is immediately available after the audit and corrective actions can be assigned and managed.  An automated system will allow for more time to be available for other critical tasks.  I invite you to watch a short informational video.  I think you will see how mobilizing the process can save time and resources.  For more information about inspectiTRAC visit, www.inspectiTRAC.com.

 

Is the thought of an OSHA inspection keeping you up at night?

If you work in safety then the rules and regulations of OSHA are never far from your mind.  Each year OSHA issues thousands of citations.  Being prepared and aware of potential issues that you might face is one way to be prepared.  Another is knowing the areas that OSHA most often issues citations.  EHS magazine has posted a list of the Top 10 most issued citations.   Click here to view them.

Another way to be prepared and prevent OSHA citations is by ensuring employees are properly trained.  There is safety training available for many topics including almost all of the top 10 citation areas.  If you are looking for safety training that is based on OSHA standards visit our sister site intratrain.com.  intRAtrain safety training is both information, interesting and a good value.