Good Friday morning:


One pro who recently changed jobs wonders:

How has the uneasiness of the economy impacted EHS (postively or negatively)? Do you find workload increasing with low hiring? What leading initiatives are you looking to implement in 2011? Are injury rates and/or # of injuries increasing with your company?

What about EHS work keeps pros up at night? How to demonstrate the full value of the EHS profession to employers to keep driving improvements during a tough economic time. The impact of the economy on worker safety & health. How to manage in a larger role with fewer resources (i.e. low hiring).

How do we feel about our jobs at this point? What's the state of the job market?


One pro emails us: “Feeling pretty secure in current position. Although, wonder about potential of a double-dip recession, and how that would impact.

”Job market for EHS pros, that I have seen, seems to be opening recently, likely because companies are seeing a potential for cost-savings by reducing injuries ... and also potential result of increased regulatory enforcement (possible).


Here’s what professional discussion groups are talking about this Friday morning:


The QUESTION: "I would like opinions on the control of items entered into company safety manuals. Is it normally seen as a safety professional document or is it open for all departments to recommend and approve content?

“I am not asking from a legal or liability perspective. My question deals more about what is appropriate to include and who normally controls the input. I know it is not supposed to be draconian, but should the SH&E Professional/Department have the ‘final say’ over what is included in the manual?"


QUESTION: What is the one thing every single human being on the planet can do that's considered GREEN?

This simple query received more than 1,200 COMMENTS!

Including: “Drink water from the tap!”

"To promote a living in harmony with Nature / a Sustainable Development oriented state of mind".


Topic of discussion: “Matters of judgment can be taught, starting with lead (mis)bhevarior.”


“SAFETY CHALLENGE? - I would like to hear from anyone on what they think is the greatest challenge that we face - in keeping our Employees Safe in the today's current workplace.”

83 comments received, including:

One response: “The Effects of Radical Downsizing on Worker Safety. In my research I discovered a fairly high level of consensus that the greatest threat to worker safety in this recession is stress related accidents, injuries, and illnesses. Most have seen a spike in injuries caused by distracted workers, and some experts are predicting that we will see a serious issue involving Post Traumatic Stress Disorders among workers still on the job, but who have worked under the threat of layoff for so long that they are ready to snap. “

Second response: “I've found that the economic slowdown has had the opposite effect: my employees pay more attention to what is needed to keep their jobs. The old poster used to say: ‘New incentive plan: work or get fired’ and it applies to safety compliance as well. We have let some people go for violating serious safety policy and everyone knows that. One of my major customers is just as zealous, and will refuse entry to a vendor employee who breaks their rules. This could end that employee's career in our industry.”

Third response: “I believe cost is the greatest challenge, H&S is perceived as expensive and there are many myths surrounding it. Most people think if we keep our heads down and we don’t get a visit then we are doing OK, this will inevitably result one day in someone getting hurt, there’s never a dull day there!!!”

Fourth response: “Simply put - Employee safety as it relates to behavior. Minding/closing the gap in knowledge versus application or expected behavior.”


QUESTION: What safety leadership strategies have you adopted in your company, and how do you know if they are effective?

From Dominic Cooper; “The background for starting the debate is that [a] in 1988 Blackspot Construction (a British HSE Doc) the 'root causes' of 70% of incidents were firmly placed at managements door; [b] During the 1990's, James Reason at Manchester University(UK) showed that Executive level decision-making and line-management implementation were involved in many major disasters (aka the 'Swiss Cheese' model); [c] Modern Safety Culture approaches (via Maturity Models, Culture Change processes, etc) emphasize the 'supreme' importance of safety leadership; [d] Managerial commitment to safety has been emphasized throughout the history of the 'safety discipline. Given this background, it would seem sensible for ‘Safety Leadership' strategies to be high on the 'Safety professionals' agenda, when implementing HSE systems, improvement initiatives, etc.

“I recently posted the above question on safety leadership strategies and their effectiveness on 30+ forums, comprising some 107,000 potential respondents. Of the responses received to date, Safety Leadership was defined by one respondent as "The process of defining the desired state, setting up the team to succeed, and engaging in the discretionary efforts that drive the safety value," which broadly boils down to "engaging in and maintaining behaviors that help others achieve our safety goals."


[1] Encouraging people to take personal responsibility for safety by setting expectations for each layer (Senior, Middle, Front-line management, and employees) linked to clear goals. These should be created at a dedicated session where the CEO outlines his/her vision and senior managers determine how to translate that into concrete actions. It is important to ensure the strategies and interventions adopted are aligned to their strategic intent and do not just boil down to a simple signing of the safety policy. A reinforcement strategy is for all board members to hold a weekly conference call where plant managers are required to discuss incidents occurring in the previous week, root cause analysis results, corrective actions, best practices, etc. At plant/operation levels, morning meetings should be held to discuss any and all pressing safety issues. Effectiveness assessments are held with 360 reviews of managers, an organizational wide safety climate survey and further diagnostics around organizational systems.

[2] Putting a robust Risk or Safety management system in place encompassing (but not limited to) preventive maintenance, operation procedures, inspections, permit to work systems, safety talks, Safety committees, risk assessments, near miss reporting, training, management of change, risk management plans, etc. In terms of effectiveness, the monitoring focus is primarily on incident rates (lagging indicators), safety surveys, and Gap Analyses via Internal Audit functions (leading Indicators).

[3] Education & Awareness: Providing safety leadership training so that safety leadership becomes a corporate value. Effectiveness assessment of the training strategy revolves around employees visibly observing the leadership commitment to a safe workplace, and leaders in the organization being more knowledgeable on safety with line management accepting safety responsibilities. However, a comment was made that realistically education is not effective for more than a few days post course. This implies that some type of monitoring system is required to ensure attendees are held accountable for demonstrating the behaviors taught (leading Indicator).

[4] Encouraging the management team (from the most senior down) to exhibit visible leadership commitment to a safe workplace. This visible demonstration appears to take the form of chairing of safety meetings, ownership of the SMS (i.e. conducting risk assessments, investigating accidents), involvement in quarterly reviews & training, two-way dialogues about safety, going around site, looking around and talking with people. Effectiveness is assessed by monitoring the number and quality of managerial observations / conversations (leading Indicator). Again, this implies that some type of robust, but easily accessible tracking system is required to monitor the outcomes of the observations and discussions.: