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Safety Systems

By Josh Williams, Ph.D.Having the right attitude for safety can be a challenge, particularly as we get back to work during the COVID era. Not only are people stressed out about COVID, but work activities may also seem less consequential than normal with constant news about COVID deaths and sinking economies. Here is a model for assessing attitudes that may be useful for honest self-appraisal and for influencing others. Attitudes can be classified as Complainers, Spectators, and Champions (adapted from Yanna, 1996). Leaders can use this information to positively influence employee attitudes for COVID re-entry. Types of attitudes to COVID re-entry: Complainers usually voice

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By Brie DeLisi Returning to work will require physical work environment changes, as mentioned in Blog 2 of this series, and it will also require considerations around Safe Working Procedures and PPE (personal protective equipment), as it is not likely that employees can just go to work ‘business as usual’. Prevention and physical environment changes should be the first line of defense, followed by administrative and procedural changes, then the last line of defense with PPE. Procedural considerations are of the utmost importance - consider a customer service call center in which first shift starts at 8:00 AM, while the night shift is

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By Brie DeLisi Many of us are in the process of shifting back into office environments or considering the appropriate next steps for a safe return to the office. Fortunately, there are a number of steps that can be taken for the physical work environment to ensure employees are kept as safe and healthy as possible. The purpose of these physical work environment adjustments is to ensure employees can be properly distanced to avoid COVID exposures the air and that shared resources limit surface exposures. Considerations should include employee distancing, space resourcefulness, adding structures, air ventilation, shared resources and sanitation. Employee Distancing Ideally,

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By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.It is the responsibility of leaders to demonstrate how to act during times of uncertainty. At its core, walking the talk involves leaders acting in ways that align with their stated values and the stated values of the company. When a leader practices what they preach, this builds trust among followers, which is the belief that leaders will act in their best interest. This in turn helps create improved safety culture, morale, and safety outcomes. Although employees always look to leaders as role models, this is particularly important during times of crisis. During difficult moments like the

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By Kelly Hamilton, Madison Hanscom, & Josh Williams It's not uncommon for leaders – who are pulled in many directions at once – to take shortcuts when it comes to safety. This can be detrimental, however, to safety culture and employees’ safety behaviors. In fact, research has shown that when employees perceive their leaders are not acting in ways that align with the company’s stated safety values, it leads to a decrease in safety compliance, a decrease in prioritization of avoiding accidents, and an increase in injuries.  Leaders who effectively “walk the talk” demonstrate to employees that their safety is the main

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By Brie DeLisi Many companies are finding themselves making unexpected difficult decisions around their state of business and employee safety. Do I continue operations and potentially expose my employees to COVID-19? Do I shut down operations and risk going out of business? What other options do I have? Some of these decisions feel like a Catch-22 and no situation has an ideal result. Writing a list of pros vs cons may be helpful, but the main focus should be on long-term consequences. Many of us are concerned about short-term impacts, but reframing to long-term may make it more straightforward. Example Situation: I have a

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