- ISHN GLOBAL
- EHS RESEARCH
Articles by Dave Johnson
Many safety pros are exasperated by their senior leadership’s slavish devotion to tracking OSHA recordables, lost-time incidents, severity rates and fatalities. In a way, you can’t blame them when their pay bonuses are based on these numbers, and the numbers represent pretty much all senior leaders know about safety.
For decades the safety products market as known was a rather sleepy commodity market (a hard hat is a hard hat is a hard hat, etc.) with few technological breaththroughs. That was then, this is now. The expo floor this week at Safety 2013 showcased more tech innovations than I have seen in coming to ASSE national meetings for 30 years.
At ASSE’s Safety 2013 I was asked by an author writing an upcoming article for ISHN magazine: “Should I title it, ‘The Demise of BBS,’ or the ‘Evolution of BBS’?” To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of BBS’s death are greatly exaggerated. It’s been employed by safety pros for more than 30 years now, since Proctor & Gamble Safety Manager Gene Ernst started industry’s first BBS program in the 1970s.
“Are we kidding ourselves?” Dr. Tom Krause, founder of BST and now an independent consultant, asked several hundred safety pros at a session at ASSE’s Safety 2013. Kidding about what? Dr. Krause’s point: low OSHA injury rates are deceiving many companies into believing they have better safety performance than is really the case.
In an exclusive with ISHN magazine, outgoing ASSE President Rick Pollock explains the profession’s expanding focus on risk and myths about human performance, as well as other issues. “ASSE now has, and will into the future, have a much greater focus on risk. Clearly, any true business leader understands the concept of risk as it applies to investment and decision making. Business is about understanding enterprise risk and how investment is always at risk of loss or under performance."
The title of one Thursday session at ASSE’s Safety 2013: “Why Every Safety Professional/Manager Must Understand the Ideas of Peter F. Drucker,” presented by Jay C. Brakensiek, CSP, MSIH, EMBA, Claremont University Consortium, Claremont, CA. Brakensiek was a former student of Professor Drucker, considered the “Father of Management.”
A session at ASSE’s Safety 2013 focused on, “Integrating Risk Management and Prevention Through Design Standards,” and ASSE has been beating the drum in support of what’s known as PtD. Presenters were Georgi I. Popov, PhD., QEP, University of Central Missouri, Overland Park, KS; and John N. Zey, Ed.D., CIH, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO.
Two sessions this week at ASSE’s Safety 2013 took up the subject of zero injury goals. The first was presented by Tom Krause Ph.D., the founder of BST who now works as an independent consultant in Ojai, CA after selling the company to Dekra of Germany. Tom posed the question: “Are We on the Path to Zero or Are We Kidding Ourselves?“
A highlight at ASSE’s annual professional development conference, this year titled Safety 2013, is the Executive Summit Panel Discussion. This year’s featured panelists: Robert Zaist, President of Energy and Construction, URS Corporation; Rafael Moure-Eraso, Chair, U.S. Chemical Safety Board; Lester Grey, Sr. Vice President of Operations, Perdue Farms; Stephanie Buchanan, Vice President of Operations, United Airlines, Houston Hub; and Virginia Valentine, Nevada Resort Association.
In recent years, the issue of the aging workforce in the U.S. has been a staple education session at safety and health meetings. So too this week at ASSE’s Safety 2013, which featured a session on, “So You’re Retired? Not So Fast - Attacking Injuries of an Aging Workforce.” According to a recent AARP study, 70 percent of workers report they plan to work past retirement or never retire.