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Culture Change

By Josh Williams, Ph.D. It’s tough being a new employee. There are procedures to learn, relationships to build, and new skills to figure out. On top of that, many jobs are full of hidden (and not so hidden) hazards that make people nervous. Proper onboarding helps acclimate new hires to their novel environment. Supplementing your safety onboarding with a formalized “buddy for a week” program accelerates this acclimation and gets employees up to speed more quickly and more safely.    Real-life example:  To formalize mentoring with new hires, an energy company in Tennessee implemented a “buddy for a week” system. Essentially, experienced employees (with high job knowledge and

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By Eric Michrowski Speaking up saves lives. Looking back on the series of events that led to an incident, most people will recall something “off” – a gut feeling that they shouldn’t have proceeded as normal. Unfortunately, people usually don’t feel comfortable raising issues or sharing bad news. One of the most critical levers for leaders to drive is increasing team members’ comfort with speaking up, stopping work, and escalating issues. Feeling comfortable enough to raise issues without fear of negative repercussions is also referred to as psychological safety. Leaders often inadvertently encourage their teams to get the job done at all costs by praising a rapid

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By Eric Michrowski When it comes to culture change, people often reference a ‘concrete middle’, which is the idea that senior leadership’s desire for change doesn’t pass through middle levels of management to reach the front line. It’s essential that safety culture changes pierce through this potential resistance, as safety is a primary concern, especially for front-line team members. Driving Safety Culture Across Your Organization Once training has clearly communicated leadership expectations around culture change to your team members, it’s time to turn these expectations into actions so that change momentum drives through your entire organization. Themes such as Psychological Safety (comfort speaking

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Dr. Josh Williams and Emily Wood On July 2nd of 2021, two people at the University Hospital Cleveland Medical Center were undergoing surgery to receive new kidneys to save their lives. And then something went wrong. “The health system confirms a kidney meant for one patient was mistakenly transplanted into the wrong person. Now we’re told the mistake wasn’t noticed until the second operation. UH won’t confirm how far along the surgery was when the transplant team realized they had the kidney intended for the first patient. Two “caregivers" — UH would not disclose if they are doctors, nurses, or other staff —

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By Eric Michrowski At the end of the day, every operation needs to deliver a product or service at a certain cost and quality level in order for the business to succeed. Improvements in productivity have a direct impact on the ultimate success of a business. The flip side is that most incidents tend to happen because of unsafe shortcuts due to the pressure of meeting customer or productivity needs. So what is the solution? It’s not about choosing between productivity and safety. Instead, it’s about creating a solid balance where people drive results and continuous improvement but don’t feel pressured to

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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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