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By Propulo Consulting

By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Several years ago, we were asked to work with a leading manufacturing company to assess their human performance (HP) and safety culture practices. Although they had high executive safety commitment and numerous progressive HP programs, they wanted to level up their performance. We partnered with them to identify strengths to reinforce and gaps to address to help optimize their safety processes and culture. The first step in these improvement efforts involved the creation of a highly customized survey to assess specific safety culture and process safety efforts. Tailored interview and focus group questions were also created to get

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Create a poster campaign with small rewards to raise safety awareness in a fun, fresh way.  Safety initiatives that include employee participation help develop a stronger safety culture and increase operational performance. Strive for more than just compliance – make safety personal, so that people are using their better judgement to make safe decisions instead of just following orders. How do you make safety personal? One simple way is to use employees’ own words and images. Make posters! Giving employees the opportunity to create their own safety posters makes them more likely to care about the posters and the messages

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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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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. For decades, organizational leaders have used incentives to try and motivate safety. The idea is that providing money for injury avoidance will get employees to “try harder” to stay safe. In reality, it simply encourages non-reporting which is why OSHA now frowns upon outcome-based incentives. Fortunately, most leaders using incentives have moved to process-based rewards. This brings up several important considerations: Proactive, process-based incentives are substantially better than those that are outcome-based. Process-based incentives, when used correctly, can be effective. However, they can be “pencil whipped” too The best “incentive” is genuine appreciation and ongoing recognition. Cautions with Process-Based Incentives Employees may

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. The way in which incident analyses are handled in organizations has a significant impact on organizational culture. In fact, effective incident analysis practices are significantly related to fewer incidents and injuries.1 In healthy organizations, incident analyses are used to get considerable field input into the factors associated with the incident and help leaders understand and analyze system factors contributing to incidents. This reinforces a learning environment to prevent similar incidents in the future and helps avoid typical “blame and train” perceptions following injuries. Leaders should follow these guidelines to create robust incident analysis processes:   Ensure system factors are

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. As the poet Alexander Pope famously wrote, “to error is human.” This is especially true in work environments where people have done a particular job for many years. They may get complacent. Basically, employees start to operate on autopilot despite a myriad of hazards around them, especially if they go years without getting hurt. This is compounded when a large group of employees and field leaders become desensitized to the risks around them. Unfortunately, serious injuries and fatalities often serve as the wakeup call to remain ever vigilant about safety on the job.   The 2-minute rule encourages employees

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