Conall

Reducing Injuries

By Josh Williams, Ph.D. For more than 25 years, I’ve heard senior leaders speak passionately about having zero incidents. This is often done with heartfelt messages and personal commitments to make it happen. This is a good thing in many ways: It’s aspirational to strive for zero incidents. This fosters a mindset of internal control and taking charge of your own destiny, which should be reinforced by leadership. This often leads to the development of leading indicators like leader time in the field and action items completed (from worker feedback) to prevent incidents. Incidents typically drop if proper actions are taken on the front end. However,

READ MORE

By Josh Williams, Ph.D. For many years, there was a powerful stigma associated with mental health issues. If someone had a physical injury, the question was, “What happened to you?” If there was a mental health concern, the question was, “What’s wrong with you?” Fortunately, this is beginning to change. There is a growing awareness of mental health concerns

READ MORE

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

READ MORE

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

READ MORE

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

READ MORE

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

READ MORE