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Safety Communication

By Eduardo Lan Creating a safe workplace has a lot to do with redirecting people's risky behaviors toward safer decisions and actions, which in turn produce safer outcomes. This is achieved, in part, by having policies and procedures, as well as other systems, that make it clear for people what is expected of them. The other crucial element is effective leadership. Together they foster a safe work culture. Redirecting people's behavior is an integral part of a leaders responsibility. However, doing so is neither comfortable nor easy, and thus many leaders avoid this responsibility or do so unskilfully, failing to change the

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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 Josh Williams, Ph.D. Improving supervisory safety leadership is critical for safety culture advancement. And to be sure, being in a supervisory role is one of the toughest jobs in organizational settings. And one of the most important when it comes to safety. The term “where the rubber meets the road” is often applied to this level of leadership because supervisors carry out the vision and directives from senior leaders but also manage the difficult day-to-day challenges with front-line employees doing the work. For years, we have talked about the dangers of old-school leadership. Decades ago, the norm for field leaders was

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By Eduardo Lan I often hear clients complain about workers' lack of engagement. It is not uncommon to hear comments like, “we ask them for their feedback and opinions, but they hardly speak up,” “it's like pulling teeth” or “we are afraid to ask them because we´ll get a laundry list of complaints.” Never for a moment do they stop to consider that the problem with communication might have more to do with how they listen than with what workers say. There are many benefits to effective listening. According to the article “Are you Really Listening?”, “When leaders listen in focused, attentive,

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By Eduardo Lan Raising safety awareness is essential to getting frontline workers to work safely and speak up whenever they encounter an unsafe condition. It is also necessary to generate a strong safety culture where workers actively care for each other and warn their peers when they see them taking an unnecessary risk. However, this level of safety awareness does not usually come naturally to people. As I wrote in my recent blog post “Start With Your Why For Safety”, people aren’t born thinking safety is important. Thus, we need others, typically our leaders, to help us awaken to this importance. Unfortunately, many

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