Conall

Safety Leadership

By Josh Williams, Ph.D. In late 2021, we began working with a leading chemical manufacturing company to revamp their behavior-based safety (BBS) program. This organization has a strong safety culture and emphasizes safety as a core value. However, their BBS program had grown stale. This was due to an overly long checklist and overemphasis on quotas which led to “pencil whipping” cards and very negative perceptions of the program. Recognizing these limitations, we worked with EHS leaders to create an entirely new BeHOP© process which combined the best elements of both Behavior-Based Safety and Human and Organizational Performance. One of the

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Last week, the G.O.A.T. of college football coaches, Nick Saban, retired as the head football coach at Alabama. Whether or not you’re a fan of Saban (or the Crimson Tide), it’s clear that he is truly the greatest of all time. Saban had an 88% winning percentage at Alabama in the toughest conference in college football. He also won 7 national championships, more than any other college coach in history. In paying tribute to Saban, it’s important to understand that great leadership takes many forms. Lessons learned from sports apply to the world of safety. It takes

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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,

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By Josh Williams, Ph. D. Much of the focus on improving organizational safety today focuses on influencing safety behaviors (e.g., Behavior-Based Safety) and improving organizational systems to reduce human error (e.g., Human Performance). These are both critically important to advance safety culture and prevent serious incidents and fatalities. But what about employee safety attitudes? During training sessions, I’ve often asked employees to tell me which of the following is most important with their coworkers: experience, intelligence, or attitude. Initially, I expected that most employees, especially those with more tenure, would tell me “experience.” However, employees have overwhelmingly said “attitude” regardless of their

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Over the last few years, we’ve been hearing over and over how hard it is to find high-quality employees for physically taxing jobs. In some cases, it’s difficult for employers to substantially raise wages and stay competitive. This leaves them in a position where candidate pools have shrunk and, in many cases, people applying for jobs have little hands-on experience. “We’re hiring people who don’t know how to use a shovel.” This creates insufficient personnel and the people that you do have are often stretched thin, which leads to a host of complications that compromise safety like

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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

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