The technical detail available to members of our profession is incredible. It also has the potential to be suffocating as the voluminous regulations, ISO policies, procedures, local site requirements, paperwork, basic training, etc. become overwhelming commitments of our time and effort. With all this focus on reactive and condition-based issues, where is the time for a safety engineering focus that goes beyond traditional safety?
Ashley Alewelt, CSP, Caterpillar, gave a presentation Monday morning at the 2015 AIHce urging EHS professionals to go beyond developing technical competencies. According to Alewelt, pros often go to technical trainings and read scientific books, but forget to build their leadership strengths.
Recently, one of our safety pro acquaintances made a disturbing discovery --his responsibility for improving safety was being hampered by a culture of evaporative acts in the work groups with whom he was to meet. His approach of engaging in open-ended safety conversations with front line employees had developed trust among many of the people at each of the work sites.
Earlier in my career, I was fortunate enough to have worked for a few organizational giants like NASA, TRW, and United Airlines. Within these organizations, I was exposed to the rigors of systems thinking, Total Quality Management (TQM), and the Baldrige Award efforts of the 1990s.
CPWR (the Center to Protect Workers’ Rights) recently developed eight practical worksheets compiled into a booklet titled Strengthening Jobsite Safety Climate by Using and Improving Leading Indicators.
An effective safety program doesn’t come out of nowhere. It takes years of hard work and dedication, a company’s leadership, an engaged workforce and a safety system that addresses all the major causes of injuries.
Human factors can confer a number of benefits to an organization, including drastic reductions in injury rates. For example, Strad Energy reduced its TRIF by 87% after implementing training to reduce human error.
In the National Football League (NFL), there’s a term bantered about by owners, management, coaches, and scouts - it’s “the nerd factor.” In the NFL, it’s a positive term because it often translates into success.
As a frontline worker I understand my safety role and responsibilities, along with federal, state and local regulations and what is expected of my employer. What I have concern about is... how many businesses don't utilize the safety expertise of a safety professional if "safety is their overriding priority" or "safety is their value."
A gallery of photos from the sprawling Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, where ASSE’s annual professional development conference was held June 8-11. All photos courtesy of the American Society of Safety Engineers.