- OIL & GAS
I was reading something yesterday where the writer described a person as being at that point in their life where they are saying, “been there, done that, is that all there is?” ISHN reader surveys have pointed out what’s already well-established: the EHS professional ranks are top-heavy with graying baby boomers beyond age 50.
Positive thinking is deeply embedded in American culture, and in American business culture. I’ve worked with enough magazine publishers and advertising sales reps who would be seriously non-productive if not for their “can do, will do” spirit. But here is a counter-intuitive thought: Psychotherapist Albert Ellis, who died in 2007, was a pioneer of the negative path, and he once said the best way to address an uncertain future is to focus on the worst that can happen, instead of the best-case scenario.
One objection of mine to adding more OSHA standards is that the standards cited frequently (top ten in frequency) remain generally the same year to year. Sometimes they shift position in frequency order. Sometimes the numbers of citations trend up or down, but generally it all remains in a controlled range.
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.
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:
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.
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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