Thursday, July 30, 2009

And the Winner Is . . .

Well over 300 people stopped by our booth to say "hello" during last month's ASSE PDC Conference in San Antonio, which (of course) made our visit especially gratifying. Thank you! And out of the 234 conference attendees who entered our drawing, we’re proud to announce this year's winner: American Valve & Hydrant Manufacturing's Jimmy Evans. Congratulations!

Mr. Evans' name was "drawn" from a random-digit generator; he's now being contacted about his winnings: How We Lead and Recognize It! video-training kits.

Congrats, Mr. Evans!

Thanks to all those who participated. Much appreciated.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

At The Very Least: Make Safety an Equal

The people who're truly responsible for safety are the same people who are responsible for production, quality, cost, schedules, rewards, recognition, promotion and discipline. That's because every interaction between supervisors, managers and people on the front-line helps to determine what the workers believe about safety's role in the organization. Be honest: are workers really empowered and inspired to do every task safely? Or do they believe that the only way to keep looking good is to get the job done quickly and cost effectively?

For true safety leaders, the priority given to safety is not subject to change. It is a value that complements quality, cost and productivity. True safety leaders understand that embracing safety as a value creates an environment where people are motivated to excel and reach every business goal -- without ever putting themselves at risk of an injury.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Fatality in Compton

We so often hear about the deaths from falls and confined spaces, but this one is different. In Irvine, Calif., on Thursday, a Compton man was "being strangled by equipment" as emergency workers freed him. He died in an area hospital four or five hours later. Antonio Gonzalez, 38, was doing maintenance on a machine at JSN Cosmetic Packaging (in the middle of the night) when his clothing got caught in the equipment.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pedal Power: NYC Public Safety Announcement

When it comes to creating safety awareness videos, we've all heard the debate between taking a positive "informative" road versus the "scary" shock-n-awe approach. What we have here is a NYCDOT production that manages to meld both. During the course of this :60 PSA, it sends a compelling message without one single narrated word.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Falling while Texting

Here's one of those incidents for the times. A 15-year-old Staten Island girl fell down an open manhole while texting. The teen dropped four feet or so and, fortunately, wasn't seriously hurt.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Proof (data) is Change's Best Friend

Culture-change item for the day: Initiating safety culture change is probably best boiled down to reframing what the organization is accustomed to, and then finding ways to view the organization from a variety of perspectives to find the holes and vulnerabilities.

No matter how many times we say change is good, it's not going to happen by itself. Change needs a reason. It needs proof. And whoever's determined to introduce change, needs something compelling to make the case.

Initiating culture change includes overcoming the status quo or discomfirmation, which can be described as providing data that the current methods simply aren't working.

Only after you have people agreeing that change is a necessary and positive force, can you seriously begin introducing new or revised values.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Safety's ROI (aside from protecting life)

Ahem. Majority of the CFOs in a Liberty Mutual Safety Workplace Study cited PRODUCTIVITY as the #1 benefit of safety.

OSHA's Office of Regulatory Analysis states that companies that implement effective safety and health management programs can expect significant reductions (20% or greater) in injury and illness rates and a return of no less than $4 for every $1 invested.

Simple calculus: safety equals efficiency, efficiency equals savings, and savings equals profitability. Therefore, safety equals profitability. Solid safety means avoidance of unnecessary costs, whether it's in damages, lost production, absent workers, extra recruitment, or an eroding reputation. And it's no surprise construction companies find a strong correlation between site safety performance and site profitability. According a U.K. HSE study: if a contractor can surpass its peers in safety performance, it's worth at least $10 million a year.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Garnering Internal Support: Tip #13

Culture is the real bottom line? What do you mean?
With a healthy culture, you can expect improved teamwork and communications. You can also expect sustainable increases in productivity, performance and even elevated customer service where everyone’s actions and motives put the client first. A vibrant and dynamic and evolving culture is the equivalent of having a systemic ability to attract and retain key employees, too. Great companies (ergo, great cultures) get more collaboration, motivation and a greater openness toward change. There’s no way to overstate this: combine those attributes and forces -- all of which are modest and achievable -- and your impact will extend well beyond safety.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Word (or several) about Compromise

Management insights aren’t just the perview of business execs and management gurus. In fact, the most powerful lessons probably come from history's great thinkers, whether it's Sidhartha or Thoreau.

Here's this nugget from Mohatma Gandhi:

All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.

so, what's my point?

Companies need clearly articulated safety-culture and behavioral ”fundamentals.”

Gandhi’s quote means that organizations start to fall apart when they compromise their fundamental beliefs. Over time, the compromises can undermine, or even eliminate, the core value of the organization.

Increasing profits represents a very clear mission for companies -- everyone can understand why most companies have an army of accountants tracking fiscal performance. But safety-culture visions are often much less formed and not nearly as well tracked. At least when it comes to safety's leading indicators.

Without a clear vision about safety culture, companies will constantly feel the pressure to make decisions that optimize the well-defined goal (profits) at the expense of less-defined goals (like customer service) and, um, safety. It’s not that profitability is bad (of course), but organizations need to think of profits more as an outcome than as a goal. That’s why companies need to better articulate their beliefs about how they create value for people -- which impacts how we're able to eliminate risk and complacency.

The bottom line: Understanding your safety culture “fundamental” beliefs is critical to sustainability.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

One more in-flight safety video

Excellent concept and execution: I've never viewed a more upbeat, pithy, entertaining and informative in-flight safety video. It's called Air New Zealand's "Bare Essentials," which features real staff and the plane's first officer who appear in body paint and some strategically placed equipment. What's there not to like about a bunch of nude Kiwis?

From the airline with "nothing to hide," here's a clip to get under your skin. It's hard not to watch:

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fatality on Disney's Monorail

If a fatality can happen at The Happiest Place on Earth, it can happen anywhere.

If you haven't heard, a young man died aboard a Monorail train at "The Magic Kingdom" near Orlando on Sunday. Two monorail trains were returning from a fireworks show at Epcot crashed, one rear-ending the other. The 21-year-old driver of the striking train died.

Fortunately, it occurred in the middle of the night when only a handful of passengers were on board.

It's hard not to think about the Washington, D.C., Metro disaster a few weeks ago, or the Rockford, Ill., train explosion. Lives are affected. We're going to hear about investigators looking into the train crews, their performance, the condition of the mechanical components, the signals and their electronic components, the integrity of the cars, the emergency response, and so on. And we should. We can trust that we'll learn from whatever occurred so it won't happen again.

Meantime, let's not forget that the fatality isn't necessarily about trains or the current state of our rail system. Awareness and eliminating risk is entirely agnostic. It doesn't matter what industry you work in, where you live, how you arrive to work every day: hazards and incidents and near misses are everywhere.

A disaster is a disaster. A fatality is a fatality. These events impact lives in the most profound ways, which brings me to the obvious point: the best thing any of us can do is to be wary of all the ways to anticipate what can go wrong. Right now. And at all times.

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