We had just witnessed a large toolbox talk at a mining construction site in Africa. It wasn’t a bad session; the safety officers were loud and lively in their statements, there was some humor and even the safety manager from the general contractor stepped in to say a couple words.
Deloitte (2014) describes the modern learner in its infographic, “Meet the Modern Learner.” The infographic shows multiple constraints employees face when developing necessary skills. Many writers and training professionals interpret this to say that people today learn differently. Learning has evolved with the office.
Safety professionals work diligently to engage both leaders and employees. But there is often a challenge: leaders wish their employees would just "be careful" without doing diligence to hazard identification, assessment and control. The result: workers claim leaders are only concerned with productivity and budgets.
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Not many people walk around throughout their day with a risk assessment in hand. We should, however, always have an informal risk assessment tool in our mind that allows us to perform at least a cursory assessment until we can dig deeper or in a more formal way.
It wasn’t until recently that we started understanding that people with different personalities tend to naturally pay more attention to safety attributes like work environment, people, equipment, processes, etc. based on their personality tendencies.
Identifying hazards in the workplace, determining the degree of risk they represent, and taking appropriate action is a fundamental component of any safety management system. While simple to say, it can be more difficult in practice than we might expect.
Most all of us have been around a boss or supervisor who isn’t very likeable or open to feedback. He or she is often avoided, and people may even fear approaching that boss with a safety-related concern or idea for improvement. Workers who perceive their bosses as open believe their leader really listens to their ideas and acts upon them when appropriate — or at the very least, gives their ideas a fair shake.