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Employee Engagement

By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Leaders need to get more input from employees about safety. Better decisions are made and practical improvements are made when employee input is solicited and used. Participation rates are also higher. Years ago, a behavioural safety process was implemented in a manufacturing firm as part of a NIOSH grant. Half of the group designed their own card and rules for use (“participation group”). The other half were given a card with instructions to follow (“compliance group”). The participation group that designed their own process completed 7 times as many observations as the passive compliance group. And employees

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Improving safety culture requires a lot of time, effort, and energy…plus a LOT of employee participation! One powerful way to get employees involved in safety is to advertise all the good things you’re doing to keep them safe. This is especially important when improvements are made based on employees’ suggestions. When workers bring up concerns, report close calls, and provide safety suggestions it’s extremely important to listen and respond well. Otherwise, people’s opinions go into “a black hole” and employees shut down. There’s little point providing your safety input if no one is listening. Strong leaders share safety successes

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Sometimes safety can feel like a drag. Leaders are constantly reinforcing safety meetings, rules, policies etc. These are critical safety accountabilities but aren’t always fun. Here are two quick ways to add a little spice to your safety programs. Safety Fairs Fairs aren’t just for kids. Establish annual employee safety fairs to reinforce safety and have some fun. Provide speakers, health tests, music, food, and giveaways (like first aid kits) and invite employees’ families to join in on the fun. Forward-thinking organizations emphasize wellness programs to promote employee health and safety. Hosting events centered around safety shows that your

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Strong safety rules, policies and procedures are integral to incident prevention. While the topic of “rules” isn’t scintillating, it’s extremely important to get it right with procedures. It’s also easy to mess up if you’re not careful. For example, one auto manufacturing facility over-reacted to an employee eye injury by mandating safety glasses in all areas of the plant even where glasses really weren’t needed. This is sometimes called the shotgun effect. Although most employees begrudgingly wore their safety glasses, several employees got creative and popped the lenses out of their safety glasses and simply wore the

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Effective and interactive pre-job briefs are an essential way to start the day and keep people safe. Unfortunately, in some organizations, these meetings are simply a “check the box” activity that is repetitive and stale. Field leaders go through the motions and read items off a piece of paper, then quickly get back to work. In other companies, pre-job briefs are robust and interactive. Hourly employees often speak up during these sessions and sometimes lead the meetings. So why do pre-job briefs matter anyway? Throughout the course of any given day, there are a number of unforeseen circumstances that

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By Eduardo Lan Many of the clients we work with at Propulo Consulting ask us what it takes to create a robust Safety Culture where people work safely out of choice rather than obligation. Three critical elements of this are an organizational willingness to learn, an engaged workforce, and the leadership that creates such an environment. Leaders set the cultural tone Leaders are critical to this equation because they set the cultural tone of the organization. As Edgar H. Schein, former MIT professor and organizational culture guru, says: “Leaders reinforce an organization’s culture by what they pay attention to and how they choose

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