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Safety Systems

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. 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 Julia Beckel Due to the dispersed nature of their work, lone workers are largely responsible for their own health and safety, and often are needed to assess and identify a variety of occupational hazards such as heat exhaustion, fatigue, and environmental distractions. While modern research has shown a number of mechanisms for supporting the health and safety of traditional workforces, organizations are increasingly tasked with understanding how to translate these support systems for their dispersed workforce.   A particularly relevant challenge is how to extend and promote a strong safety culture among workers who are not co-located – keeping mobile

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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. We have worked with numerous organizations over the years to re-create or re-energize their behavior-based safety (BBS) programs. Several years ago, a leading manufacturing company asked us to revamp their program. Despite early success, their process had devolved into a “pencil whipping” exercise with an overly long checklist that people didn’t want to fill out. There was also an absence of effective safety feedback following observations and insufficient follow-up with identified concerns (“black hole”). This is typical of most clients reaching out to us to improve their BBS program. We started fresh by discarding the lengthy behavioral

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Increasing leadership ownership and engagement is critical for safety performance and safety culture improvement. EHS groups should support and partner with operational leaders but should NOT be the sole owners of safety. Here are a few guidelines for improving operational leadership support of safety. Minimize Blame Safety-related shortcuts or risky actions are involved in most incidents. However, these actions are almost always influenced by system factors like excessive production pressure, unavailable tools/equipment, insufficient manpower, ineffective training, confusing/incomplete procedures etc. Leaders need to maintain accountability but also improve system factors when gaps are identified. The first question when someone

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