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ISHN editors and invited workplace safety and health thought leaders offer their cutting-edge views on the profession’s critical issues.

Requiem for prevention

January 15, 2013
I am a loud (some might say obnoxious) and ardent supporter of prevention. In fact, I one of my core values is “Prevention is the key to sustainable safety.”


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Trust beats irony – if you let it

January 9, 2013

A couple months back at my University a young man, a student, was found dead in the creek that runs through a small park on campus. Apparently, he had gotten intoxicated at a party, and then went to a bar with friends.  He ended up leaving the bar at 2 am and walked home alone.  He went to the park, slipped on some of the rocks surrounding the creek and was rendered unconscious in the water where he drowned.


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New Year’s resolutions for the EHS pro

January 2, 2013

The time of reflection on the old year is over. With the brand new year we look to the future with an eye on improving our selves and our impact on the world. For this new year, let’s consider some personal resolutions that focus on behaviors you, an EHS pro, could adopt to increase your effectiveness in helping build your team’s safety culture:


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For your consideration: 10 resolutions for EHS pros for 2013

January 2, 2013

Resolution #1: Less Focus On Preaching More On Teaching. Awareness campaigns are important for the unaware. But most workers who ultimately get hurt do so knowing something they know is dangerous, or at very least that they suspected COULD be dangerous. Too many awareness campaigns make safety professionals feel good about themselves but come off as smug and condescending to workers.


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When and how to use discipline: Principles for getting it right

January 2, 2013

Discipline is among the most confusing and controversial topics in safety. On one hand, it is obvious that companies must have safety procedures and rules. And once those rules are established, it is crucial to support and enforce them. Managers know—as company attorneys routinely remind them—that if they know about a safety rule violation and they ignore it, they put themselves at risk.


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Rules only protect people if everyone follows them

December 26, 2012

Thou shalt not kill. People have been using rules to protect people since man left the primordial forest and walked up right for the first time. For people some rules are sacred—they are worshipped for their own sake. For others, rules were meant to be broken. Irrespective of your view of rules, they form the foundation of society of all levels.


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CEOs to safety pros: “ We need you to know us”

December 26, 2012

At ASSE’s Professional Development Conference for the past several years there has been a session entitled Executive Safety Summit. A panel of CEOs or senior managers and a moderator discuss their views of safety. Good stuff. Near the end of the session is the most important question: What are your recommendations for the safety professionals in attendance here today? The above title was one answer.


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Twas the Night Before Christmas

December 18, 2012

Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the shop
All the elves were busy working
Even Snap, Crackle, and Pop


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Good managers eat up safety data

December 18, 2012

Lately, I've been doing a fair amount of management training in the past few months. What I often see is safety folks, both full-time and part-time, who are struggling to do the compliance thing and a management team that is perfectly happy to let them struggle. Essentially nothing has changed in the 44 years I've been doing occupational safety. The problem is most basic---no one wants to see people hurt but neither do they see safety as a core element of their company culture.


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What are your thoughts about occupational safety and health entering 2013?

We want to know, we really want to know
December 11, 2012
Heading into 2013, I am asking ISHN readers (there are 71,000 of you out there across the U.S.) for input on issues of leadership and organizational culture.


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