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I recently received the following inquiry: “We're getting ready to perform safety coaching sessions with some of our frequently injured employees. Do you know of anyone who might have a script to outline the dialogue?”
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.
There was a statement in a commentary in the Wall Street Journal a couple of months ago: "A fundamental principle in medicine is that if you get the diagnosis wrong, you'll probably apply the wrong therapy. A corollary is that if the therapy isn't working, increasing the dose may make things worse."
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.
The term "Safety Culture" has become like the term "Engagement" in popular management writings. There is no common agreement on the term. We are left with (mis)interpretations of terms like “Safety Culture”, which lead to haphazard attempts at changing organizations toward improvement.
Over the years I have watched many safety professionals struggle to get their message across. In addition to this basic struggle another has also been common: an inability to be promoted beyond a position that just evaluates and enforces government safety regulations (regs).
Accountability in its truest sense refers to one’s responsibility for one’s obligations. You are responsible for some result or you are obligated to someone. These are the things you are accountable for. In practice, we would say a person is accountable when he chooses a job that best provides for his family, or that a doctor is accountable when she looks out for the best interests of her patients.
You may or may not be old enough to remember, but eight-track tapes were a technological wonder back in the ‘70s, and anyone who was cool had one. At the time, it was hard to imagine this state-of-the-art audio technology could ever be replaced or improved upon. That was then, this is now.
I am familiar with the “delivering bad news” pointers that are already here on your website. But I was wondering about “bad news” when it is not about hazard – for example when a decision is made to not implement the community’s desires for a local building to be in a certain spot (for various reasons, some of which are very good, others of which aren’t!).
I have often used a safety perception survey originally developed by Dr. Dan Petersen as a safety culture diagnostic to help focus an organization’s efforts on areas that the employees believe need improvement. One of the questions in this safety perception survey reads something like “Would a safety incentive/recognition program cause you to work more safely?
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