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Safety Leadership

By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Improving safety culture requires a lot of time, effort, and energy…plus a LOT of employee participation! One powerful way to get employees involved in safety is to advertise all the good things you’re doing to keep them safe. This is especially important when improvements are made based on employees’ suggestions. When workers bring up concerns, report close calls, and provide safety suggestions it’s extremely important to listen and respond well. Otherwise, people’s opinions go into “a black hole” and employees shut down. There’s little point providing your safety input if no one is listening. Strong leaders share safety successes

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Sometimes safety can feel like a drag. Leaders are constantly reinforcing safety meetings, rules, policies etc. These are critical safety accountabilities but aren’t always fun. Here are two quick ways to add a little spice to your safety programs. Safety Fairs Fairs aren’t just for kids. Establish annual employee safety fairs to reinforce safety and have some fun. Provide speakers, health tests, music, food, and giveaways (like first aid kits) and invite employees’ families to join in on the fun. Forward-thinking organizations emphasize wellness programs to promote employee health and safety. Hosting events centered around safety shows that your

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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 Eduardo Lan Recognizing employees for the good work they do is a powerful way to strengthen desired behavior. When we are aware of the things people do right and point them out to them, they are more inclined to repeat them. This happens because people feel seen and appreciated, a desire and need for all human beings, and because they can more easily identify said behaviors (2014). When the recognition relates to safety, we are promoting a culture of safety ownership where people work safely out of desire rather than obligation. This is known as discretionary effort, and it represents the

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By Dr. Josh Williams and Emily Wood Smart safety leadership is critical for exceptional safety performance. There are five core leadership competencies that can help you, as leaders, better reinforce safety excellence and prevent incidents and injuries. Successfully applying the competencies in your everyday work will improve your influence over team activities. This includes shifting the narrative from “safety is managed through enforcement” to “safety is managed through team participation” as employees recognize their why for safety and actively engage in safety efforts. Anchored in years of research and experience, these leadership competencies include: Actively Care, Walk the Talk, Build/Live the

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By Eduardo Lan Many of the clients we work with at Propulo Consulting ask us what it takes to create a robust Safety Culture where people work safely out of choice rather than obligation. Three critical elements of this are an organizational willingness to learn, an engaged workforce, and the leadership that creates such an environment. Leaders set the cultural tone Leaders are critical to this equation because they set the cultural tone of the organization. As Edgar H. Schein, former MIT professor and organizational culture guru, says: “Leaders reinforce an organization’s culture by what they pay attention to and how they choose

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