It’s been awhile since I blogged about the role of behavior in worker safety. Truth be told, despite the tonnage of digital ink I have devoted to criticizing Behavior Based Safety, I am a firm believer in an organization’s need to address worker behaviors that cause injuries, but I differ with many BBS devotees on the best way to do so.
In my last column, I wrote about personality styles and understanding how a person prefers to be treated and tempering ones style of communication to meet another’s needs can make one not only a more effective safety professional, but a very effective professional of whatever career one chooses to pursue.
Several days ago the United States celebrated the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the first step toward its becoming a sovereign nation. It was an event marked in the state of Michigan by the irresponsible and dangerous use of fireworks by drunken amateurs with no training.
The safety rumour mill is buzzing about the probability that governments are about to target a hazard that many of us really haven’t given much thought to: dust. I can’t tell you how many times I have been on audits where the merest mention of poor housekeeping send eyes rolling and smirks crackling like lightning strikes across the faces of both leadership and the rank-and-file alike.
I write provocative material. I deliberately try to elicit a visceral response and take people to a place where they can explore their deepest held beliefs and question basic ideologies of safety. The latest in neuroscience suggests that our decisions or made and our ability to change reside deep in our subconscious beneath our defenses.
Nearly every safety professional worth his or her salt has been told that he or she needs to look at both leading and lagging indicators; it’s good advice, in fact, it’s advice I’ve given many times in articles and speeches over the years. But in my last post (two weeks ago—I spent the last week at a customer site and with the travel travails I just couldn’t bring myself to hammer out a post, deepest apologies to my fans and detractors alike) I questioned the value of tracking (not reporting or investigating, mind you, just tracking) near misses.
As regulators change their view on the relationship of worker safety to contractors and their customers, more companies are using a prospective supplier’s safety record as criteria for awarding business. Some shops have lost profitable contracts to competitors with better safety records. And that’s not all.
Last Saturday and the Saturday before that I made no posts to my blog. It was an unfortunate result of my having been away on business. This is not an excuse mind you; I had every intention of writing and posting using the infernal timer that has vexed me every time I’ve tried using it. In hindsight I’m glad I waited. This week I’d like to talk a bit about an area of safety that I think goes largely ignored: safety while travelling.