Conall

Reducing Injuries

By Josh Williams, Ph.D. For too many organizations, safety is reduced to a scoreboard of recordable rates. Life is good when rates are low. The sky is falling when rates are high. The absurdity comes in when comprehensive root cause analyses are done with recordables like bee stings and tick bites. Employees have to figure out how they could have prevented it. Managers get worried that their numbers will go up and that may put them on the radar screen with executives. What are we doing here? When everything is important, nothing is important. Leaders need to better distinguish between incidents with serious

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Cognitive biases are systematic errors in thinking that occur as we process and interpret the world around us. In our increasingly fast-paced world, our “need for speed” from a mental processing standpoint is necessary. In fact, it’s an advantage and a sign of intelligence. However, it also causes problems because our big brains have limitations.1 We’re making up to 10,000 decisions every day and our brains use shortcuts to avoid being overwhelmed. Also, we make mistakes when we’re in a hurry. So, we fall back on what’s worked well in the past and make quick decisions

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Since COVID, employees are working from home now more than ever. There are many benefits to this arrangement and people often report how much more productive they are now compared to working in a designated office (plus no rush hour traffic). However, there can be disadvantages as well. People may feel increasingly isolated and may also be less vigilant when it comes to their own physical safety. Here are some reminders for working from home…safely. Set aside a specific place to work. Having a designated work area helps compartmentalize work and minimize home distractions. It also sends a

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Safety leadership can be tricky. Conscientious leaders regularly review safety incidents but often fail to distinguish between more minor incidents and those that can kill you. The primary focus is often “on the numbers,” especially when bonuses are tied to recordable rates. This can result in smaller incidents (tick bites) being blown out of proportion and very serious incidents (falling from heights) being treated like any other incident. Here are a few things to consider. There is natural variation in incident occurrence. For instance, you may be managing safety poorly but still have reasonable outcome numbers for

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. One of the most important aspects of safety leadership is optimizing safety systems to prevent risky actions and incidents. Employees are more likely to be injured when leaders fail to address system gaps like inadequate personnel, unreasonable production pressure, excessive overtime, faulty equipment, insufficient safety training, unclear safety policies, non-existent safety meetings, poor safety communication, and blame-oriented discipline procedures. Leaders improve safety culture by optimizing these key safety management systems: ·      Close Call Reporting: Near-miss reporting should be encouraged from a learning culture perspective. Close calls help people learn from each other to prevent serious injuries and

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. The way in which incident analyses are handled in organizations has a significant impact on organizational culture. In fact, effective incident analysis practices are significantly related to fewer incidents and injuries.1 In healthy organizations, incident analyses are used to get considerable field input into the factors associated with the incident and help leaders understand and analyze system factors contributing to incidents. This reinforces a learning environment to prevent similar incidents in the future and helps avoid typical “blame and train” perceptions following injuries. Leaders should follow these guidelines to create robust incident analysis processes:   Ensure system factors are

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