The technical detail available to members of our profession is incredible. It also has the potential to be suffocating as the voluminous regulations, ISO policies, procedures, local site requirements, paperwork, basic training, etc. become overwhelming commitments of our time and effort. With all this focus on reactive and condition-based issues, where is the time for a safety engineering focus that goes beyond traditional safety?
With the summer season officially here, backyard chefs everywhere are dusting off their grills, eager to spring into the long-awaited barbeque season. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that grillers pay particular attention to safety in the spring and summer months when home fires involving grilling incidents occur most often.
In the 1960s, there was a popular show called Candid Camera. It was one of the first reality TV shows. The premise of the show was that individuals were secretly filmed after being placed in unusual, ridiculous or embarrassing situations.
As a young child, I would occasionally ask my parents why I had to do something (OK, maybe more than just occasionally). I remember at a very early age the reason they gave me was, “Because I’m the parent and I say so.” It didn’t matter that they didn’t seem to be brushing their teeth when I did or making their bed when I was told to; even though I knew that they did those things too.
A heavy manufacturing organization commonly used Total Quality Manufacturing (TQM) and Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) techniques. They had some small Continuous Improvement (CI) Teams that engaged in solving the front line day-to-day difficulties which commonly occur in operations of organizations worldwide.
Recently, one of our safety pro acquaintances made a disturbing discovery --his responsibility for improving safety was being hampered by a culture of evaporative acts in the work groups with whom he was to meet. His approach of engaging in open-ended safety conversations with front line employees had developed trust among many of the people at each of the work sites.