- OIL & GAS
Articles by Dave Johnson
Last May, 28-year-old Adrien Zamora fell 40 feet from a scaffold while restoring an 11-story building in New York. It was his first day on the job, and he had not been given a fall protection harness or the necessary safety training. He left behind a wife and their two young daughters.
High, high above the desert floor and a gleaming Las Vegas downtown as the sun set Tuesday evening at ASSE’s Safety 2013, Cintas Corporation hosted a reception atop the Stratosphere Hotel, the iconic needle in the sky in Vegas. The keynoter was Dr. Richard Fulwiler, the former worldwide head of health and safety at Procter and Gamble.
Vendors of exposure and training monitoring and personnel location and PPE tracking software despise the name Big Brother to describe their expanding arsenal of analytics. But that’s how many employees look at what they consider an invasion of privacy.
The rap against setting a goal of zero injuries is that workers know it is an impossibility, and will tune out further safety messages. Three different safety experts at ASSE’s Safety 2013 gave us almost identical definitions: First, you start by asking employees, “Can you go a day without an injury?” Well, yeah, probably.” So the day does go by without an injury.” Next you ask:
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.”