- OIL & GAS
Articles by Mike Williamsen Ph.D., CSP
What is truth when it comes to safety? The regulation-oriented data tells us a part of the story with respect to training, incident records, safety meetings, work orders, policies/procedures and the like. Observations add a bit more insight to what our people are actually doing when they are occasionally being watched/evaluated by others.
Former U.S. president Harry Truman had a rule: any letters written in anger had to sit on his desk 24 hours before they could be mailed. If at the end of the “cooling off” period, he still felt the same sentiments, he would send the letter. By the end of his life, the letters that Truman never mailed filled a large desk drawer.
The regulation-oriented data tells us a part of the story with respect to training, incident records, safety meetings, work orders, policies/procedures and the like. Observations add a bit more insight to what our people are actually doing when they are occasionally being watched/evaluated by others.
Way back in time I had the distinct opportunity to join a military service branch and go through the boot camp experience. “Young and stupid,” physical fitness at its peak, “10 feet tall and bullet proof” – all these and other attributes, like adrenaline and testosterone, made each of us raw recruits confident we could take on the world and come out unscathed.
The medical technology advancements that have occurred in the past few decades are nothing short of astounding. Many surgeries and treatments that used to require extensive hospital stays are now performed in a doctor’s office, and the patient is back at home within hours. A few of the amazing medical applications include: scar removal through plastic surgery, titanium bone replacements, tape replacing sutures, and stents taking the place of vein removal and relocation.
Recently, a manager in one of our service organizations asked some questions about recurring injury trends. The trends revealed a higher incident rate among newer employees and also an injury pattern around time of day. The manager understood how newer employees can have a higher injury frequency rate; however, he was intrigued by the other data.
It seems that workplace injuries are directly influenced by economic situations. As the price of raw materials increases, there is a natural tendency to take additional risks to produce more volume. As the end of the calendar quarter approaches, there is added pressure to meet goals or deadlines.
In recent years, there have been significant advances in technology that have helped reduce injury risk. A few examples include:
Repetitive tasks exist in most workplaces and wherever they’re present, so too is a frustrating safety risk. It seems like the more we perform a particular task, the better we should be at it. I guess that is true for the first few times we do a task, but then our human minds have a tendency to wander.