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Culture Change

By Josh Williams, Ph.D. There are no shortcuts to safety culture improvement. However, if there was a safety culture improvement ‘hack’ it would be getting and using more employee input for safety. One of the best ways of doing this is through safety suggestions from front-line employees. This should be done both formally (e.g., peer checks, safety committees) and informally (1-1 conversations). Many of the best and most practical safety ideas come from front-line employees. Also, getting more employee input leads to better decision-making and increased front-line discretionary effort for safety. For example, at one manufacturing facility in Southwest Virginia, the safety

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Organizational safety communication is a key litmus test for healthy (or unhealthy) safety cultures. The best organizations have ongoing, open feedback throughout the organization. Weaker organizations have one-way traffic with communications (not getting employee input), insufficient psychological safety, and disorganized messaging. It is common for us to meet with EHS leaders who will provide pages of safety improvements over the last few months. However, when we speak with field employees, many are unable to list a single improvement they’ve seen. The hard work of making changes was made but the (seemingly) easy task of advertising them was not.

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By Eric Michrowski Active care is one of the most critical safety leadership competencies. While most leaders care about their team members’ wellbeing, they often fail to fully reflect this care in their actions. Leaders are busy and have to juggle many tasks and decisions competing for their attention at all times, but the importance of active care should not be swept aside. In fact, research shows that when employees feel genuinely cared for by their management, they demonstrate less risk-taking behavior and have less physical health complaints. Actively caring means showing personal concern and respect for employees on an individual level.

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By Eduardo Lan When it comes to assessing an organization’s safety culture, we often look at the organization’s leaders, the behaviors of workers and employees, and the rules, policies and procedures. These are all important pieces of the puzzle, but they do not paint a full picture. According to Michael D. Watkins (2013), “While there is universal agreement that (1) it [organizational culture] exists, and (2) that it plays a crucial role in shaping behavior in organizations, there is little consensus on what organizational culture actually is, never mind how it influences behavior and whether it is something leaders can change.” When working

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By KyoungHee Choi As leaders, have you ever felt that you are carrying too many heavy bags on your shoulders? Felt overwhelmed by circumstances around you? Often, leaders are trying to fill in their busy life with more than they can carry or don’t feel comfortable to be in a “Comfort Zone” position. While the concept of “Minimalist Leadership” is relatively new, the word and principles of “Minimalism” has been around for quite a while. We have all heard the saying “Less is more” popularized by minimalist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. I personally love his architectural style and this principle. In Asian

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By Madison Hanscom, PhD Most of us know what it feels like to grind for 8 hours at work and feel drained at the end of the day. Micro-breaks are a way to keep us feeling refreshed throughout the day and avoid feeling exhausted later. There are several types of work breaks that vary in length. There are vacations, weekends, the period of time between work shifts (the evening for most people), the lunch break, and then those little breaks we take during the workday, usually in between tasks. Those small, informal breaks during the workday are what researchers call “micro-breaks”. Depending

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