Good Monday morning,

As we head down the homestretch of summer…

KNEE-JERK SAFETY REACTIONS

From the discussion group EHSQ Elite:

The Question: “There's got to be some pretty entertaining ‘mistakes’ we humans have made with the best intentions of making it safer. These we can file under the ‘FAILED’ folder.

My personal favorite was a knee jerk reaction to a fatal train derailment caused by snow build up on the track...one senior manager sent out a comany wide memo making it a new rule that EVERY train had to have someone WALK the track in front of the train anytime we had an INCH or more of snow on the track! File this under FAILED!

Another response: “Unfortunately most Safety Professionals have similiar stories. I worked for a Manager who utilized temporary labor for tasks where exposure to carcinogens occurred. In his mind it was cheaper than installing engineering controls. He was promoted several times because his facility was very profitable. This Manager eventually was removed from his position for other unrelated unacceptable behavior, but only after years of intentionally putting people at risk. “



THE TRUST GAP WITH YOUNG PROFESSIONALS

From the discussion group Safety Training on LinkdedIn

“Almost one in three young professionals do not trust their employer, according to the latest research from recruitment consultants Badenoch & Clark.

“When asked whether they trust their employer to deliver accurate information on business performance, 32.2 per cent of 16 – 24 yr olds revealed that they refuse to believe either ‘most’ or ‘any’ of what they are told by their employer. This is in contrast to 18.2 per cent last year, suggesting that Generation Y is becoming increasingly disillusioned with the workplace.

“Guy Emmerson, Associate Director of Badenoch & Clark commented, ‘Without a culture of trust in the workplace, employers will struggle to foster employee engagement and, in-turn, retain their workforce.

“’As recruitment activity levels pick up, employers need to consider the strength of their relationship with employees across all levels of the business, or run the risk of staff voting with their feet.

“’Younger employees – the so-called Generation Y – have specific expectations of their employers, so encouraging more two-way conversations on business performance will prove vital to increasing levels of trust and gauging job satisfaction. Without this it will be become harder to obtain any kind of staff loyalty and in-turn retain talented graduates.”

“Those in the legal profession were particularly skeptical of their employers, with 36.9 per cent of employees across all age ranges stating that they do not believe either ‘most’ or ‘any’ of what their employers tells them about business performance. A further 26.3 per cent admitted to only trusting ‘parts’ of what their employer tells them and only one in ten (10.5 per cent) stated that they ‘totally trust’ their employer. By comparison, only 5.9 per cent of HR professionals distrust their employers and almost a quarter of sales and marketing (23.3 per cent) and administration and clerical professionals (23.2) totally trust their employers.

“Mr Emmerson continued, ‘This research highlights the detrimental impact the recession has had on the workforce, not just in terms of job losses and pay freezes, but in terms of the relationship between employer and employee. Now is the time to start repairing this relationship and being more honest and open with employees about business performance.’”

DO COMPANIES ACTUALLY CARE?

67 percent of corporate sustainability professionals who responded to an Ethical Corporation survey said their company "measures social and/or economic impact of their business on the communities where they operate" (n=116).

This positive response surprised 100 corporate sustainability professionals who turned up in London for a debate where Ethical Corporation shared its preliminary results for an upcoming report on "Social and economic impact: measurement, evaluation and reporting."

Companies are beginning to realize that corporate sustainability is about more than being green, despite a hazy understanding of exactly how social and economic impact studies benefit their business.

Ethical Corporation's report presents four distinct impact models, explaining the business reasons for conducting studies and exactly how the studies benefit their bottom line.

Supply chain management - The continuing propensity of labour rights campaigns against some well-known companies such as Nike, Gap and Primark has meant that ethical management of the supply chain has become fairly wide-spread practice.

External reporting standards - Companies now seek to meet industry benchmarks and guidelines offered by voluntary initiatives. These initiatives are increasingly demanding measurement beyond performance, so that companies can monitor actual societal impacts and the root cause of community challenges.

Site-level community impact - Increasingly, companies with a strong physical presence and reliance on a local community are implementing processes to understand and manage the site/ community impacts.

Socio-economic impact assessment - A small number of companies are beginning much more systematically to understand how their activities impact on the overall development trajectory of the countries where they operate. Findings inform corporate strategy, and result in outcomes such as innovation of new, sustainable products that respond to a local market demand.

This final approach is still in its infancy, and is posing challenges in terms both of attribution of impact, and in developing relationships with new partners. Nonetheless, this approach is a highly significant development not just in terms of the 'technology' of assessing impacts on society, but also in how companies see their very role within society.

Another challenge, especially for health and safety pros: in the majority of organizations touting their sustainability programs, employee safety and health is largely absent from the conversation.

How can a company be sustainable with sustaining a safe and healthy workforce?