Every business person has a mindset with high determination to get massive profits. Without this in place, the business will not be able to function. However, there are so many important factors to consider before attaining great business feats. Generally, the working environment should be made safe for work. The quality of production and the psychological balance of the employees should also be optimal and encouraging.
The workplace should be structured and planned in such a way that safety measures are provided. It’s a wise decision to take because any employee that gets injured will undoubtedly be a liability on the business which translates to delayed gratification. Hence, making the workplace environment a clean, safe and healthy one where no one can quickly get hurt is highly imperative.
How do safety managers know that their safety measures are up to standard?
The term “safety” means differently to several people. This is why you find people applying the same safety measures in various ways. To prevent such an occurrence, it is pertinent that all business have a unified safety and health measures that are up to the required standards and local regulations.
One of such regulatory bodies that are in charge of ensuring workplace safety is the Workplace Health and Safety (WHS). They are sometimes referred to as Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA). They ensure that the assessment of health, welfare or safety in workplaces is taken on several occasions at regular intervals. Applying these measures to the workplace is critical to the success of such businesses.
What are the safety tips that every safety manager should consider?
The following are four tips to take note of for every safety manager:
Ensure that new employees understand the risks in the workplace: Once the workplace risks are clearly defined, making it easily understandable for new employees is pertinent. Some of the things that they are meant to know are the general risks that may occur and the ways to make corrections in cases of emergency and the peculiar risks that pertain to their specific roles.
This means that on a general level every worker knows what each hazard mean in various departments and they’re able to correct it. Likewise, on a specific level, they’re well-acquainted about the hazards that can occur in their field of operation. These explanations can be provided in manuals so that they will have it at all times.
Continuous health and safety training programs: It’s important that regular training is provided for employees to attain and preserve an ideal workplace atmosphere enriched with safety measures. Having this in place will naturally help prevent potential hazards, reduce injuries, increase productivity and employee morale.
Seek advice from your employees: There are no group of people who are seeking their advice will most likely yield the desired results save your employees. This is because they understand to a reasonable extent the operations of the workplace. Hence, to improve safety in the workplace – consult your employees.
Previous work experience serves as a guide: It’s commonly said that experience is the best teacher. There’s no better manner to correctly make adjustments to safety measures in the workplace save from learning from the experience of hazards or accidents.
In conclusion, from the above-listed safety tips, it’s evident that to achieve a balanced, safe and healthy workplace atmosphere and environment, the bulk of the responsibility lies on the management to make things clear and easy for the workers.
This is where a safety management software comes into play. You can easily organise and manage your entire safety management processes from an easy-to-use application (mobile and desktop). Start a free trial today to see the future of safety management.
As a business owner, how often do your workers experience work-related accidents? Alternatively, do you pay little or no attention to ensure adequate safety measures for your staffs when faced with severe potential hazards? If this is you then you are at a high risk of losing a good number of your employees which will, in the long run, affect your business. This includes loss of revenue and hard-earned reputation.
Taking a critical look at reports on occupational accidents in various workplaces, it will be far-fetched to assume that large corporations and firms do not have a provision for safety in place. It’s discovered that one of the errors on the part of an organization’s management is in the provision of safety and health measures in large materials that naturally appear boring to the workers. These materials are made available to them once in a year. This is where microlearning comes into play.
What is Microlearning?
Based on the Greek word; “micro” which means small, micro-learning is a modern approach to delivering learning materials in piece meals or in small doses that target specific topics. The conciseness of these materials makes it easy to comprehend in a short period.
It’s projected that in a few years time millennials; people who grew up in the age of technology and the use of advanced interactive learning system, will form the majority of workers in various companies and firms.
This means that the traditional model of teaching and learning will no longer be useful and will naturally phase out. The popularity of microlearning has increased unlike before which indicates that it’s the ideal way to ensure that messages are made easily accessible and for improved engagement levels of the workers.
How can an Organization ensure effective safety training using Microlearning? To ensure that the employees in an organization attain a higher control over their learning process as regards safety, then the management should take the following steps:
Short and brief tips: When so many information is thrown at workers, the tendency to retain all of it is very low. For effective transfer of knowledge, the microlearning objective should focus on just one concept.
Use interactive videos in replacement for lengthy manuals: The process of onboarding and offboarding for employees is better understood with the use of videos rather than bulky materials that covers some many things. Interestingly, it’s the best medium that’s preferred by millennials. It makes them naturally glued to receive and adopt the information being thrown at them. You’re most likely to lose the attention of your audience without the application of videos. An LMS system can help you get started with video-based learning
The videos should be short: Five minutes or less is the ideal time for optimal learning. This is the essence of microlearning in the first place. Anything beyond this timing is no longer regarded as microlearning. The shorter consumption time with easy access to knowledge will surely leave a significant impact on
Useof short quizzes for checking progress: The employees are provided with continuous access to these materials, and as each section is completed, they are required to provide suitable responses to the questions.
All these highlighted points are the future safety measures that will not only cut the cost of producing large manuals for disseminating information but also ensure that the workers have the right attitude of a workplace.
If you are looking for an effective way to streamline your safety needs, Beakon offers a suite of safety management tools that can help you stay abreast of your organisational needs. We offer a free trial to dip your toes in to see how our safety management software is the best in Australia.
When there is a safety incident in the organization, these basic questions could be asked. What are the key things to do? Moreover, what are the procedures to record and distribute information about the incident?
We always need to be ready even though nobody wants to have any safety incidents. When a safety incident occurs, it is essential that an organisation should have a plan on how to react and communicate. This article explores 5 simple tips to improve incident management.
First thing – be prepared
Ensure to have in place an incident reporting process and define communication channels. It is essential, reporting a safety incident, everyone in the organisation should be familiar with how and which channels to use.
To avoid your organisation from paralyzing when responding to an incident, it is significant that you outline and communicate the roles and tasks of everyone at different levels. If possible, employees should include photos of the incident; this can aid the commencement of a comprehensive approach to data gathering immediately.
When the incident is being investigated, photos and information are valuable. It could be better with the available data you have at your disposal. You must acquire as much information as possible when it is still fresh.
Ensure that People responsible for HSEQ are made aware of what to do when an incident is reported
What do we do next? The report has been received through our reporting channel, how do we process the report? Alternatively, should we just bury on someone’s desk?
Safety managers are tasked with steps to take on How to handle safety incidents and when they occur. To ensure that your response team is involved as quickly as possible in the case of a severe incident, once received, there should be clarity about how incident reporting moves forward.
Communicate, communicate, and communicate!
There should be effective communication between everyone affected as well as towards the HSEQ team and management when a safety incident report is received.
Because, incidents are rarely isolated situations, the moment you have a clear picture of what has happened, avoiding treating Safety incidents as confidential. Because usually, the same factors that led to one incident might also be present in other parts of the organisation. It is essential to make the information available to anybody to whom it might concern as this could be related to training, safety culture, machinery or management processes.
Any findings from the investigation in regards to the safety incident report have to be uploaded into your safety management system as well as any other software management applications. To identify the root causes, it is crucial that you document all the information about the incident and any investigation you carry out.
Take immediate action to mitigate the incident the moment you identify the root. Regularly follow up after assigning tasks to people to ensure they understood it clearly.
Usually, the person who initially reported an incident never gets feedback. This is one of the significant steps which is sometimes forgotten even in an organisation that has a well-functioning incident management process. Actions such as refining best practice, revising training programmes and investing in equipment should be considered after an incident occurs. Nonetheless, this might not see by the person that reported the incident.
Beakon offers safety management software to help keep you and your company compliance with all the necessary guidelines. The best part is you can start using our all-in-one software for free by taking advantage of our free trial. Start today.
New employees find their first day at work very strange. But as a safety manager, your job should be to help make the transition as comfortable as possible.
How would your new employee feel when they come to work for the first time, but nobody welcomes them or introduces them around, or shows them the safety rules of the company or what they should do next.
This is why it is essential for you to use a checklist when onboarding new employees. By the end of this article, you will learn the exact checklist you can use to onboard your new employees.
To have a successful hiring process, it is essential to have a transparent system of initiation for employees.
Employee information and ID
On or one day before the exercise, it is essential to gather all relevant information from employees.
Payroll information is important. You need to ensure you get all the payroll information from your employees to include in your payroll department. It would help if you did this ASAP because every new member of staff will be anxious not to have any problems with their first paycheck. This can be done online in advance to streamline the process further.
Health and Safety
The ideal time to go through Health and Safety obligations is when a staff member is starting in the job as it needs to be met by all employers. Any possible hazards can aid avoiding as well as best practices, protocol, and employee obligations.
Colleague introductions and walkthrough
Usually, new worker’s colleagues who have to get used to a new face find their first day in the office or on-site to be challenging!
An informal manner plus a full walkthrough of facilities is an excellent way to introduce a person to colleagues and put at ease to avoid them having to ask where the bathrooms are later on!
New employee’s recruitment can be an expensive process, both financially and through loss of productivity due to the staff changeover process. An essential aspect of supporting high levels of staff retention can be achieved by improving employee inductions. Mistakes caused by errors in communication can be minimized through an effective induction software which helps clarifies standards and expectations. New employees are assisted in integration and learning as well as can enter the workplace confidently with the aid of a good induction.
The organization’s money can be saved by the time and effort put into inductions, and this can help reduce recruitment costs and keeping productivity high in the long term.
Our software helps businesses conduct induction online. Take it for a spin with a free trial today.
Inductions establish an important part of onboarding new staff in your company. In actuality, an induction helps a company or an employer in meeting their obligation of giving a protected workplace according to the state or territory directions.
A safety induction is done to recognise dangers and perils, for example, how to distinguish between hazards and risks. So for what reason is a safety induction important?
What is the reason for safety inductions?
Safety inductions establish the initial step that a company takes for their workers (counting visitors and contractors) to ensure that the workers have all the information and abilities they have to perform their obligations in a protected manner. This additionally incorporates adhering to safety directions given to the workers to assist them with their very own safety and the safety of others.
A safety induction ought to be conducted for every worker before they begin working. This can be an expansive induction covering many perspectives, for example, company information, hardware information and safety measures. A few companies additionally add various decision inquiries to guarantee that the workers have pursued the induction.
Amid this induction, it is essential to ensure that the workers know about the dangers and risks that may be available at their workplace. For instance, dangers related to activity controlling, hazards associated with manipulating synthetic concoctions, and so forth.
Demonstrating proper methodologies Preparation and guidance ought to be a key piece of showing to your worker’s adequate methods to perform their activity securely. For instance, this incorporates how to work a plant or apparatus, repairing or adjusting gear, and so on – thus helping them avoid any mistakes.
Regardless of whether your workers have been performing comparable obligations in their past activity, do not accept they have the information and aptitudes to carry out their operation securely at the new workplace or with your gear.
Furthermore, if you have various locales, it is essential to direct your induction again with the end goal to reinforce your safety prerequisites and frameworks. A safety induction is not powerful if just a sheet of paper is given to your workers to peruse and sign. It is vital that companies ensure that the workers have comprehended your safety prerequisites. Why are safety inductions conducted?
Companies ought not to accept that workers beginning nearby know about their wellbeing and safety obligations.
As a company, you are required to:
Inform the workers of his/her obligations and your duties as a company.
Inform the workers of the particular dangers and risks, relevant principles and expected safe practices.
Evaluate the aptitudes of the workers to guarantee that employments are attempted so that the safety of the worker is secured.
Prepare the worker, so the necessary safety aptitudes are created.
How to conduct a safety induction?
Leading inductions has never easier with Beakon. With our induction software, you can do without your old powerpoints, and instead use online learning management systems (LMS). This means your workers do not have to go to your site prior to beginning work. They should merely to finish their online induction on their PC or portable. After fruitful completion, you are told by email, and your worker gets a digital authentication that can be printed out and handed on the first day at work.
Join today for a free trial of Beakon and appreciate every one of the advantages it offers. This includes induction software, safety management software, and even permit-to-work systems. Beakon is an all-in-one solution that meets all your organisational safety needs.
Diverse workplaces present distinctive dangers, making it essential for organizations to give health and safety training to keep workers prepared, and also to refresh their knowledge all the time.
OHS experts have a few training strategies accessible to them. Some are suited for specific sorts of instruction, and each has its advantages. Diverse techniques require more prominent or lesser participation, and training officers can utilize one or more of these strategies.
Here are five central training systems.
Instructor-led training stays a standout amongst the most prevalent training systems. Teachers, frequently called facilitators, convey exercises in a classroom, e-learning, or self-managed workshops.
Handouts and other intelligent techniques can be utilized together with PowerPoint introductions and recordings to clarify work health and safety subjects.
Some creative training techniques include:
Small Gathering Dialogs: Members are isolated into small gatherings and offered subjects to examine. This is an incredible method to share learning.
For complicated or specialized sessions, you can conduct tests every once in a while. This keeps trainees engaged and active.
Contextual analyses: This gains by the issue arranged state of mind. Breaking down occupation-related circumstances enables employees to handle comparable situations.
Questions & Answers Sessions: Question and answer sessions are compelling with little gatherings of specialists for refreshing and fortifying aptitudes.
Re-Enactment: Accepting jobs and carrying on situations causes employees to figure out how to handle different situations they encounter with work.
You can bring devices or gear as a significant aspect of the training to exhibit to employees.
Another technique that is often tried out is Cross Training. Cross training enables employees to encounter different occupations in the work environment. Features include:
Training through an exhibit, which is excellent for instructing employees to utilize new hardware securely.
Spotlights on enhancing execution by tending to the necessities of individual employees
Shapes unpracticed specialists to fit into particular occupations
Also, cross training is an incredible approach to rehearse or practice skills and abilities most employees wouldn’t know even existed.
Numerous organizations have employees in various areas, making eye-to-eye training unfeasible. Everybody approaches the web today making it workable for organizations to prepare on the internet.
Written safety policies do not ensure a culture of safety at a company. Although putting a foundation of safety policies and best practices in writing is essential to a successful safety management system, a collection of policies alone cannot create an environment where employees feel safe and instinctively make safe choices.
Creating a culture of safety takes time and begins with real commitment from all levels of management—not just a Safety First sign as you enter the building or verbal commitment to safety by the CEO or facility manager, but an active commitment that leadership demonstrates every day in the decisions they make and the actions they take. Frontline supervisors set the tone because they have to make quick decisions throughout the day, including corrective action when a hazard is identified. Their first priority is safety.
The decision to make safety a priority must be fully supported, encouraged, and rewarded by managers and executives to consistently reinforce that making safe decisions is most important among all levels of leadership. Taking action to correct unsafe conditions or using a positive approach to coaching team members on safe behavior deepens the internal commitment to following safe-work practices.
Fostering a culture of safety also requires a facility that is clean, organized, and well maintained. It is difficult to expect employees to commit to safe-work practices if the facility in which they work is dirty, unorganized, and in disrepair. On the contrary, employees are much more likely to feel their company values safety and remain engaged to continue to work safely if the environment around them is well-lit, orderly, and properly maintained and if signage clearly indicates safety requirements and expectations and employees are provided with high-quality safety equipment and personal protective equipment, when necessary.
Third-Party Evaluation Provides a Benchmark To begin to understand where a facility is in its journey to provide a safe environment, it makes sense to engage a third party to visit a workplace, provide an unbiased facility safety evaluation, and gauge the safety culture of the organization through safety behavior observation and employee interviews. Too often a company functions under the “we’ve always done it this way” mantra or has become blind to unsafe working conditions or hazards hidden in plain sight.
Safety consultants, insurance representatives, corporate safety teams, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance specialists, industry peers, and other companies that participate in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) are well equipped to conduct a safety audit to provide a company with a benchmark, indicating where the company can improve or where it excels.
A comprehensive safety analysis should not be limited to the facility. It should also include a review of all tasks and processes, giving priority to such high-risk areas as fall protection, lockout/tagout, confined spaces, electrical safety, lifting and rigging, and heavy equipment use, because failures in those areas can have serious consequences. Evaluate the hazards of each task and develop safe solutions to correct them. This means phasing out “we have always done it this way” processes and replacing them with best practices that use hazard analysis as a guide for development of new work processes. It also means implementing solutions to ensure the right equipment is being used for the right job. For example, if a company is striving to prevent falls, which are consistently one of the most frequently cited OSHA violations and a serious hazard in any line of work, an extension ladder or makeshift scaffold may not be the best choice for workers who need to use hand tools to access a motor or filter high above the shop floor.
Employee Engagement is Key If a company wants to have success in safety, it is critical that it actively engage its employees to ensure that a strong safety culture can survive and grow. This means sharing the vision for safety and inviting and encouraging each employee to participate in shaping and achieving that vision.
Employee engagement can be accomplished in a number of ways, beginning with the establishment of employee-led safety committees and inviting all team members to join the committees. Participating in regularly scheduled meetings puts the pulse of shop floor employees in front of any safety initiative. Companies can also provide employees the opportunity to become voluntary first responders who are trained in emergency first aid, CPR, the use of automated external defibrillators, and other emergency response protocols.
Other employee engagement activities also contribute to a culture of safety, among them safety poster or calendar contests that employees can share with their families, small work teams for identifying and making safety improvements through facility safety audits or safety behavior observations, safety mentor programs that assign mentors to new team members, or, in the case of JLG Industries, Inc., a Safety Action Tracker. This program tracks safety opportunities as employees identify them, providing a description of the item and a photograph if one is available, describing the corrective action to be taken, identifying a target date for completion, and assigning an employee responsibility for taking the corrective action. This information is posted and available to all employees, supporting transparency, encouraging communications, and directing the appropriate resources to make a safety improvement in a timely manner.
JLG Industries also engages employees in activities designed to identify workers performing tasks in awkward postures or positions where ergonomics could be improved. The goal is to recognize these situations and propose solutions to remedy them. Additionally, these small work teams identify opportunities, such as maintaining work material within a self-regulated “power zone” of 15 to 60 inches. Known as the 15/60 rule, this rule ensures no product or materials necessary to perform a manufacturing job require an employee to reach down below 15 inches or above 60 inches. This simple guideline can improve ergonomics, while providing a well-organized and safer workstation.
Training Supports a Culture of Safety Ongoing education and training also support a culture of safety. Although employers can develop their own safety training programs, OSHA offers a number of training resources for both employers and employees. The OSHA Outreach Training Program provides training for workers and employers on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of safety and health hazards in workplaces. Through this program, workers can attend 10- or 30-hour classes delivered by OSHA-authorized trainers. The 10-hour class is intended to provide workers with awareness of common job-related safety and health hazards, while the 30-hour class is more appropriate for supervisors or workers with some safety responsibility.
Of even greater value are hands-on training programs that simulate the work environment. Programs like this provide training essentials in a setting that mimics the workplace but eliminates workplace pressures. They are especially useful as part of new employee training programs that teach job skills and ergonomic practices prior to an employee’s introduction to the production environment.
VPP Assesses Safety and Health Systems Companies that want to be recognized for their commitment to workplace safety can participate in OSHA’s VPP. It sets performance-based criteria for a managed safety and health system, invites sites to apply, and then assesses applicants against these criteria. OSHA’s verification includes an application review and a rigorous on-site evaluation by a team of OSHA safety and health experts. OSHA approves qualified sites to one of three programs:
Star: The Star Program is designed for exemplary work sites with comprehensive, successful safety and health management systems.
Merit: Merit is an effective stepping stone to Star. Merit sites have good safety and health management systems, but these systems need some improvement to be judged excellent. Merit sites demonstrate the potential and the commitment to meet goals tailored to each site and to achieve Star quality within three years.
Demonstration: The Star Demonstration program is designed for work sites with Star-quality safety and health protection to test alternatives to current Star eligibility and performance requirements. Star Demonstration program participants are evaluated every 12 to 18 months.
Always Evaluate and Re-Evaluate Whatever path a company chooses to follow as it strives to create a culture of safety, it is important to constantly monitor and evaluate the programs in place to ensure they are meeting the established benchmarks. It’s all about creating an environment that attracts new employees with the same safety mindset, while ensuring the safety of current employees—an evolving environment where safety is second nature to all employees and leadership, ingrained in their DNA, influencing every decision they make and action they take. In the end, a rigorous, comprehensive safety program, endorsed by management and employees alike and assessed by third-party experts, can help organizations achieve constant, continuous improvement.
An organization is a complex set of dynamically intertwined and interconnected elements (inputs, processes, outputs, feedback loops and environment) in which it operates. These elements are continuously changing, interacting, ebbing and flowing (Katz & Kahn, 1978).
Many safety initiatives fail to reach their potential because they are introduced and left to fend for themselves. Without the forethought to plan for sustaining new initiatives in this complex web of interconnectivity, companies often miss this valuable opportunity to make tremendous differences in peoples’ lives. When EHS professionals plan for their organizations’ safety evolution, they first need to build the climate for culture change.
Safety Climate vs Safety Culture
Organizational culture is a socially created construct. As a construct, culture is not easily quantified or measured. However, culture functions as a “control mechanism,” informally reinforcing or inhibiting some patterns of organizational assumptions or behaviors. These patterns of assumptions are so basic, so pervasive and so completely accepted as “the truth,” that no one thinks about or remembers them. They become “the way we have always done things around here.” (Schein, 2000)
Organizational climate, on the other hand, is what people see and report happening to them in organizational situations (Schneider, 2000). Safety climate focuses on the situation and on the perceptions of what the organization is like in terms of practices, policies, procedures, routines and rewards.
Climate describes “what” happens, whereas culture explains “why” people do the things they do. Thus, changing culture is more of a long-term process, where impacting climate can happen relatively quickly. Giving people year-end bonuses may influence the short-term climate, but fail to impact the long-term culture.
So, to create safety culture change, organizations first must positively influence their climate to ensure a long-term impact. With this clarification, to produce lasting change, EHS professionals need to focus on climate elements of new initiatives that will in the short-term influence the characteristics that need changing while at the same time, reinforce safety cultural norms that are maintaining the beneficial assumptions and behaviors that are keeping people safe.
3 Keys for Creating a Safety Evolution
Very seldom is a safety culture completely broken. Most of the time, companies either organizationally are complacent (few injuries, incidents, property damage, etc.) or have latent deficiencies and “drifted” but have not experienced any indicators. In either case, this is an ideal time to attempt organizational change, instead of waiting for someone to get hurt and risk looking reactive.
There are many methods for creating and sustaining organizational change (see Kotter, 1996, for one example). To create a safety step-change, however, there are three keys to ensure long-term success:
1) Make safety personal – Too often, organizations dehumanize safety by focusing on numbers or the recordable rate. The OSHA recordable rate, for instance, is one frequently used method of assessing safety performance. Whereas this recordable rate is an indicator, for high-performing organizations, it is an inadequate means for assessing safety culture because there are far too few instances to truly get a picture of performance.
Many companies only focus on injury statistics and not on safety statistics. To impact the safety climate, organizations never should quote the recordable rate to their employees. This reduces their experiences to numbers and minimizes the impact on the people with whom we work.
Furthermore, as we get closer to zero injuries, and the more the organization emphasizes these numbers, the more likely employees are to feel pressure to not report their injuries to avoid spoiling a perfect record. Achieving a safety milestone such as a zero recordable rate may positively influence the safety climate, but may negatively impact the culture if employees feel they must hide their injuries to receive recognition.
Safety is about people. To create the next safety step-change, organizations need to make safety personal again. When someone gets hurt, has a near miss, identifies property damage or makes a mistake, organizations have to respond in such a way that employees perceive this as a learning event and not an opportunity to shame and blame their coworkers.
This requires a change in our verbal behavior and how we communicate; we must portray these incidents as opportunities for system/process improvements. Using a one-on-one safety coaching, for instance, leaders should focus on the impact to the employee, their welfare, family, and livelihood, and not discuss if this would be considered a recordable incident. For organizations to move to the next level of safety performance, a focus on achievement-oriented safety statistics is essential.
2) Use safety analytics – As we move closer to cultures where injuries are rare occurrences, companies need to focus on achievement-oriented safety statistics to assess progress. This leading-indicator mentality has been the hot topic in safety for decades. However, few organizations know what to do with their leading indicators once they obtain them.
Counting the frequency and quality of leading indicators will not change the climate around safety.
To make lasting change, organizations need to use their safety intelligence to make proactive changes. These proactive changes can strengthen your initiative and thus strengthen your safety climate.
The safety field collects a plethora of safety intelligence, from training records to safety observations. Unfortunately, after an initial assessment, this critical safety analytics often is stored away and goes mostly unused. So, to impact our safety climates, we need to gather all our safety “big data,” put our safety analytics to use and get our leadership teams to become truly engaged in acting upon our valuable safety indicators.
Much of the safety data gathered by organizations comes from some sort of safety audit, inspection or observation. These processes are used to gather intelligence on the effectiveness of safety management systems. However, this information often is not trusted, is misused or is ignored.
Using safety analytics on the audits demonstrates to the organization that its participation in the safety process is needed and valued. Without using it, the collected data negatively can impact the long-term culture and lead to indifference and pencil-whipping.
To improve the climate for using observational data, organizations should develop a data usage plan to ensure safety intelligence is being reviewed, acted upon and communicated. A successful data use plan outlines who is going to get which report, at what frequencies, how they will share the information and what the value-add is for the organization.
The data usage plan should be rolled into a pre-existing leadership meeting, along with a week-look-back/week-look-ahead to help diagnose where the week’s inspections/observations should focus. These safety analytics help drive proactive change, demonstrate that safety gets a seat at the leadership table and help create a climate of continuous learning.
3) Build trust – By following the first two suggestions, the level of trust greatly should improve.
However, in many cultures where the primary focus only is on counting the number of inspections (checking off a box) – and failing to act upon the data is the norm – organizations begin to lose trust in their data. This “venomous cycle” often happens to the cultures that focus more on the numbers and less on the people-side of safety.
If employees do not trust that their safety audits are being reviewed, for instance, they may not put much effort in completing a quality observation. The leaders, in turn, receive safety data they do not trust and are hesitant to act upon it. This inaction leads to further pencil-whipping, more mistrust, and more inaction. To reverse this cycle, organizations need to act upon their safety analytics.
By using a data use plan, organizations can create a “virtuous circle” by acting on the observation intelligence provided and demonstrate the value of the information. This action and follow-up communication creates momentum that can produce a climate of discovery that eventually will lead to a culture of a learning organization.
Once your employees trust that the data they provide will be used to help their coworkers stay safe, the trust in the organizational processes grows and a cultural evolution begins to take shape. This empowering safety step-change can help organizations lay the foundations for decades of improvements, and eventually eliminate death on the job.
Most companies conduct periodic worksite safety inspections. This process is part of the traditional landscape of a comprehensive health and safety plan. At regular intervals, someone within the organization sets out to critically observe in an effort to identify and rectify hazards. But why are they done? Therein lies the interesting question.
Work site safety inspections can be a vital part of your injury prevention efforts if done well.
“Because we have to.”
Safety is often driven by compliance—either to a regulation or a company policy. Certainly, compliance is a factor and one that is often developed with a specific purpose in mind. OSHA has a clear imperative that employers are required to provide their employees with a place of employment that “is free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees.” Worksite inspections serve as the vehicle to record hazards and document abatement.
As the saying goes—if it’s not documented, it didn’t happen. With that in mind, can companies meet the regulatory requirement by simply walking about every once in a while and fix what is found? Perhaps. While this satisfies a basic requirement, simply walking around and checking a box does not necessarily offer assurance that the workplace is free of recognizable hazards and meet the spirit and intent of the purpose the regulation is trying to express.
“Because we care.”
Conducting workplace safety inspections can serve a greater purpose than simply meeting a compliance requirement. In fact, work site safety inspections can be a vital part of your injury prevention efforts if done well. They can help reassure workers that the workplace is safe and help the company demonstrate that it cares.
In order for this to happen, a more robust process is necessary. The best methodology for this process is also one that is time tested and rooted in continuous improvement—the Deming cycle.
Define the purpose and set expectations.
Define an inspection strategy, collect observations, and perform the initial correction.
Periodically review data collected; identify gaps and trends.
Give feedback, develop action plans, and make data-driven decisions.
Let’s break this down by component:
The purpose of conducting work site safety inspections should be more than mere compliance. The purpose should be to prevent injuries. With that in mind, the expectations should be those inspections that detail critical observations of all areas should be conducted at a frequency that allows for sufficient trending of patterns.
With the expanded purpose and expectations, it may become clear that the frequency and breadth of current inspections are insufficient and may need to be expanded in order to meet the new requirements. In addition, a plan must be put in place to actually use the data collected, beyond checking the box and counting the “cards” submitted. Tracking and trending of findings are essential to meet the revised purpose of injury prevention.
Lastly, the planning elements must be communicated to everyone so that the purpose is clear.
The first step in this phase is the development of a comprehensive inspection strategy. This strategy should define who does inspections, when they occur, what is to be observed, and where they are to be done.
Who does inspections? A study was conducted that shows the probability of having an incident declines as the number and diversity of the people performing inspections increases. In fact, the study shows that having a large number of diverse inspectors doing a few inspections each is better than having a few inspectors doing a large number of inspections each, even if those inspectors are highly trained safety professionals. This inclusion helps to shift the ownership of safety away from the “safety” team and onto the entire organization.
When do they occur? An inspection is a snapshot in time. As the saying goes, if a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? The same goes for safety inspections—if work occurs and there is nobody to evaluate it critically for safety, was the work done safely? It is best to schedule inspections to ensure good coverage across many days and shifts, as well as when infrequent work occurs, such as entering a confined space or performing lockout on energized equipment.
What is to be observed? This involves the task or category of hazard, such as PPE or fall protection. If the purpose is to prevent injuries, as defined in our Plan phase, then it is important to ensure each risk is observed enough to allow for trending and ultimately evaluation of risk. Typically, observers focus on the easier things to see, such as PPE, while the more difficult categories to evaluate, such as fall protection, receive fewer inspections. The fewer the inspections, the harder it is to evaluate risk, which ultimately leads to a diminishing ability to prevent those types of injuries.
Where is it to be done? Each project or location should be broken up into manageable areas and work groups to ensure each unique entity is observed. Ideally, each observation should be linked to both a location and a work group. In addition, each location and work group should have an expected number of inspections and/or observations within a given time period based on manpower and risk—the more manpower and the higher the risk, the more inspections necessary to ensure a safe working environment.
Collecting data in the previous stage is simply the beginning. Once data has been collected, the next step is to review the data. A data use plan is necessary to ensure that data are reviewed on a frequent and periodic basis and actions are taken to drive improvement. Think of it like this—if I stand on a scale and collect my weight each day and record it, will I lose weight? No! I must take the data, compare it against expectations, and then drive actions that will help improve the risk.
The idea is to look for gaps and trends in the data. A gap is something that is not being done that should be, such as observations in a particular category (e.g., electrical, confined space) or in a particular area. A trend is something that is seen over and over and will continue to repeat until the causal factors for the system are identified and remedied.
The last step in the continuous improvement loop is action. Without it, this is all simply wishful thinking or worse—a lesson in futility.
Action drives accountability. Action can include simple things, such as providing feedback or sharing information on trends that have been seen. It can also involve more complex solutions, such as a revision to the way in which work is performed or a pre-incident investigation based on at-risk trend information. It could even drive utilization of data as evidence in a data-driven decision, such as a request for a large capital expenditure.
Creating a Continuous Improvement Cycle
Too often safety programs have elements that are done because “That’s the way we’ve always done it” or, worse, “Because we have to.” Build into your program elements a noble purpose, and people will do them because they want to. Your inspections and observations allow the continuous improvement cycle to keep going, making your safety program that much better each time and ultimately helping to make sure that the entire workforce goes home safely at the end of the day.
According to new research in the Journal of Accounting and Economics, financial goals may be more important than employee safety.
UCLA Anderson of Management Associate Professor of Accounting Judson Caskey and UT Jindal School of Management Assistant Professor of Accounting N. Bugra Ozel collaborated on a study that examined 14 years of data on workplace safety from the OSHA, documenting any data that might show correlation between analysts’ forecasts and injury/illness rates.
Caskey and Ozel found that any changes in operations or production that are meant to increase earnings impacted the number of injuries in the company. Specifically, an increase in employee workloads and in abnormal reductions of discretionary expenses caused a rise in injury/illness rates when analyst forecasts were met or exceeded.
“Managers can indirectly, and perhaps inadvertently, detract from safety by increasing workloads, hours, or the desired speed of work flow,” the authors said. “For example, rushed employees may have more accidents, and increased workload and hours without additional rest and recovery time can increase stress-related injuries. Managers can also directly impact safety by cutting safety-related expenditures.”
Researchers also noted that the relation between benchmark beating and workplace safety is stronger when there is less union presence, when workers’ compensation premiums are less sensitive to injury claims and among firms with less government business.