E. Scott Geller, Ph.D., Alumni Distinguished Professor, Virginia Tech, and senior partner, Safety Performance Solutions, gave a presentation at ASSE’s Safety 2014 conference in Orlando this past June emphasizing the need for the safety profession to embrace these paradigm shifts to achieve an injury-free culture:
Many years ago Hawaiian Cement employees designated four main values their organization would uphold: Trust, Excellence, Aloha and Adaptability. Today the organization is using Caterpillar’s effective communication tools, Speak Up!, Listen Up! and Recognize It!, to fortify each of its core values by building a proactive safety culture.
Recognition for doing things correctly seems to be a lost art. Over the years, I have assessed perception surveys for hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of employees. As I tally the results, recognition for performance of doing things right is the lowest scoring safety management process. Interestingly, discipline (i.e., correcting people when they do something wrong) scores as the sixth lowest of the 21 safety management processes measured by the Caterpillar Safety Services statistically validated survey.
I agree with the premise that $$ only drives algorithmic (my word) tasks. Safety is not algorithmic... it is heuristic. We are asking for strategies and decisions, not just following directions, to get real results.
Safety procedures, safety talks, signs and other instructions direct workers. But attempting to identify all behaviors needed to keep employees safe fail in the midst of a changing work environment of aging equipment, cost-cutting, and changes in processes and people.