Just a Simple Challenge……

Name one thing, be specific, about your organization’s safety program that positively impacts all aspects of your program AND can be independently identified and described by any one of your employees.

Why the challengeNew York Harbor?  Because, chances are you can’t provide a simple response to the question or it may take a while.  Sure you may be able to describe what’s good about your program in general.  Or, you may be able to name one thing, but your employees have no awareness of it.  What this illustrates is that safety programs are usually pretty involved and complex.  They are made up of many elements: policies, specific programs, plans, procedures, and practices.  Many elements stand alone and have little relation to another.

I did quick Internet search for responses to “complexity breeds.”  Here’s what was returned:

Complexity breeds complexity
Complexity breeds quality challenges
Complexity breeds mistakes
Complexity breeds risk
Complexity breeds inefficiency
Complexity breeds ignorance

Interestingly enough it appeared the majority of the results were related to IT and data management systems.  However, I find that the challenges of IT and the means successful organizations use to address those issues are applicable to most business challenges. (See Tivix.com/blog)  I’m confident you would acknowledge that your program has been challenged by one or more of the above results.

But, those solutions can be complex in and of themselves.  We need something else to tame complexity.  Of course we are not suggesting that a safety program be defined in a matter of pages.  There are many important parts of a program that cannot be abridged or digested.  But that doesn’t mean there cannot be a common thread drawn through every piece of the program.

Think of it as the thread that is used to tailor a garment to fit a specific customer.  A safety program, to be effective must be developed from a pattern designed to fit your particular workplace.   Once the pattern is designed it is cut out and assembled, but strong thread is needed to hold it together, not just on the rack (or shelf), but when it’s worn (or implemented).  If that thread is not strong, the pieces will begin to separate and gaps will result.  Those gaps will decrease the effectiveness of the program.  A poorly made raincoat will do a poor job protecting from rain.

So what is this one thing that serves as the common thread that can hold your program together giving it strength and resilience?

Safe 6®

In the coming weeks we will revisit Safe 6® and how it can be used to sew your program together in an effort to tame complexity and what it can do to safety.

 

©2015 The Safely Working Project & P.D. Shafer III

“Safe 6” is a registered trademark of Trailmarker Ltd.
“Safely Working” is a trademark of Trailmarker Ltd.

∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼

While we believe what The Safely Working Project is promoting is useful to all employers and safety professionals, our efforts are directed at those small businesses that can’t afford or don’t have a safety professional to facilitate workplace safety.

The Safely Working Project envisions a path to workplace safety that is driven by employees and supervisors.  This is fundamentally different from the traditional Safety Program where an EHS Professional manages workplace safety.  So, instead of top down safety, Safely Working™ endeavors to succeed from the ground up. “We’re turning safety upside down.”

A Drum Roll Please……

znpWhile The Safely Working Project efforts began in earnest two years ago, it was just one year ago that we started to share the fruits of those efforts.  Besides the guidance published on Safelyworking.net we have travelled to conferences from West Virginia to Rhode Island promoting The Safely Working Project.  We’ve been encouraged along the way by everyone we’ve met.

The concepts of Safely Working™ and Safe 6® have evolved and remain a work in progress as we endeavor to bring as much clarity to the Project as possible.  Recently, we revealed the elephant in the room—Safely Working™ as a ValueAs simple and obvious as that is, it is truly the single most important element of The Safely Working Project.

From early on, The Safely Working Project was built on six parts: knowledge, activities, skills, communication, supervision and environment.  We have been developing simple and sensible guidance for each of these.  The intention has been to provide organizations that have no safety staff or safety professional simple tools and direction so they can build a Safely Working Environment for their employees.  That’s where employees are 100% safe 100% of the time. We’re pleased with our progress.

Now we want to share an important decision we’ve made as a result of that progress and the maturation of The Safely Working Project.  All along we’ve recognized that The Project represented a novel collection of guidance and information.  We also knew that it was important that it be organized and designed to be easily utilized by an organization.  We’ve been doing that with the objective of combining all six parts into a system.

Drum roll please—We’ve decided to call it the Safely Working System.  Sure, it’s not very exciting.  But, it really named itself over the past year.  It just makes sense.

In the coming months we will be formalizing the Safely Working System.  We will identify gaps and target areas we have over-done to build a simple and lean system to assure a Safely Working™ Environment.

We appreciate your continued support and encouragement.

 

©2015 The Safely Working Project & P.D. Shafer III

“Safe 6” is a registered trademark of Trailmarker Ltd.
“Safely Working” is a trademark of Trailmarker Ltd.

∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼

While we believe what The Safely Working Project is promoting is useful to all employers and safety professionals, our efforts are directed at those small businesses that can’t afford or don’t have a safety professional to facilitate workplace safety.

The Safely Working Project envisions a path to workplace safety that is driven by employees and supervisors.  This is fundamentally different from the traditional Safety Program where an EHS Professional manages workplace safety.  So, instead of top down safety, Safely Working™ endeavors to succeed from the ground up. “We’re turning safety upside down.”

 

Do You See the Elephant?

Safely Working— we’ve associated that phrase with everything.  There’s a nuance to Safely Working™ that distinguishes it from working safely.  Grammatically, there is no difference.  But, it makes all the difference in the world as far as The Safely Working Project is concerned.

If you’ve been following our discussions over the past 12 months we’ve built a strong case for Safely Working.   In fact we’ve been talking around a very important characteristic all thmshat time.  Maybe you know what that is. If so, you get it!  If not, you will shortly.  From our viewpoint it’s the gravy that holds the stew together; it’s the frosting on the cake; it is the cherry on top of the sundae.

Not to be confused with Safety, Safely Working™ influences all aspects of a workplace including training, supervision, processes and procedures in real-time.  Safety is the science that quantifies Safely Workingas it reflects on business success (profit) or failure (loss).  Safely Working™ is not an ancillary or staff function like safety or HR, but one of the required ingredients for assuring quality.  Accordingly, Safely Working™ is arguably a part of an organization’s mission whether stated or not.

Safely Working™ encourages employees to use Sensible Care, not common sense.  It is the employer’s responsibility to assure the Sensible aspect of Safely Working™ guidance and information through training and mentoring.  The Care aspect is the employee’s responsibility to use the guidance provided by the employer correctly and safely.

Safely Working™ is facilitated through the adoption and implementation of Safe 6® in the workplace.  Safe 6® encompasses all aspects of getting the job done.  It does not work in isolation to the task.  It is integral to the task.  Safe 6® provides a frame of reference for procedures, practices, plans and programs.

So, that’s what Safely Working™ does even though we never state exactly what Safely Working™ is.  Well, it’s about time we told you.

Working is an activity;
Safely is a description;
Working Safely is an expectation;
But, Safely Working is a VALUE.

Yes, Safely Working™ is a Value like dedication and honesty.  Remember it this way……

Safety is a Science—Safely Working™ is a Value!

That’s the elephant.  It’s been there the whole time.

 

©2015 The Safely Working Project & P.D. Shafer III

“Safe 6” is a registered trademark of Trailmarker Ltd.
“Safely Working” is a trademark of Trailmarker Ltd.

∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼

While we believe what The Safely Working Project is promoting is useful to all employers and safety professionals, our efforts are directed at those small businesses that can’t afford or don’t have a safety professional to facilitate workplace safety.

The Safely Working Project envisions a path to workplace safety that is driven by employees and supervisors.  This is fundamentally different from the traditional Safety Program where an EHS Professional manages workplace safety.  So, instead of top down safety, Safely Working™ endeavors to succeed from the ground up. “We’re turning safety upside down.”

Recognize All the Dangers……

Safe 6, Step One…… Recognize All the Dangers.  Okay, it’s dangerous.  So what.  We’ll deal with it.  It’s part of the job.  We’ll take our chances……

Playing the lottery is taking a chance.  Few people win, but people still play.  Taking chances in the workplace is the same thing, only you don’t want your number to come up.  When you take chances and your number does comes up, do you get to pick what happens to you?   Cuts, sprains, fractures, disabling injuries, the big “D.”   So you think you can deal with it.  What about your family?  Can they deal with it?

Back to step one.  For the employee, recognizing the danger means knowing what activities are part of the task: think MOTELS.  Everyone should be familiar with the activities and conditions represented by MOTELS and the specific dangers associated with them.  The supervisor needs to know that and more, so she or he can properly monitor and anticipate problems.  If a JSA has been developed, the supervisor already has a great tool for managing conditions and employees activities.  However, if no JSA is available then the supervisor must do a “Danger Check” to make sure all the dangers have been recognized and reviewed.

While the “Danger Check” is not a replacement for the JSA, it is a helpful tool for supervisors.  It should be completed for all tasks regardless of how simple or complicated the task.   At a minimum, it provides the supervisor with a sensible method to carefully consider what is being required of employees.  It can be especially useful when a task must be completed under different conditions or if it’s never been attempted before.

The six concerns of a “Danger Check” are:

  • Characterization – Think MOTELS!
  • Manageability – How is it done safely?
  • Consequences – Can things go wrong?
  • Urgency – Why it must be done?
  • Feasibility – Can it be done?
  • Advisability – Should it be done?

In reality, the answers are well known for normal workplace activities.  Most are manageable because the dangers can be controlled or eliminated in advance.  Consequently, they are unlikely or avoidable.  Typically, activities will be scheduled and are designed to be easily completed.  With that, the task certainly can be completed reasonably by employees using Sensible Care.  However, if the “Danger Check” suggests that the task may be uncontrollable, or the dangers unavoidable, it’s an emergency, or is difficult to do, then task completion may be considered “inadvisable.”

The “Danger Check” is not a JSA or risk assessment nor does it replace either one.  It is a tool that a supervisor can use when evaluating a task in advance of the JSA or risk assessment process.  It helps identify some of the concerns that the supervisor should anticipate in the workplace.   It’s not technical nor complicated.  It’s another simple tool intended to help supervisors build and maintain a Safely Working™ Environment.

Safe 6: Step Two…… …… …… we’ll get to that later.

 

©2015 The Safely Working Project & P.D. Shafer III

“Safe 6” is a registered trademark of Trailmarker Ltd.
“Safely Working” is a trademark of Trailmarker Ltd.

∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼

While we believe what The Safely Working Project is promoting will be useful to all employers and safety professionals, our efforts are directed at those small businesses that can’t afford or don’t have a safety professional to facilitate workplace safety.

The Safely Working Project is an approach to workplace safety that is driven by employees and supervisors.  This is fundamentally different from the traditional Safety Program where an EHS Professional manages workplace safety.  So, instead of top down safety, Safely Working™ endeavors to succeed from the ground up. “We’re turning safety upside down.”

Safety as a Forlorn Hope……

Safety BookshelfRecently, I organized my “safety” bookshelf after gathering several stacks of books scattered around my office.  I have accumulated a significant library over the years in support of my training, safety and industrial hygiene activities.  Many are recommended references and textbooks for the environmental, health and safety profession.  Click on the photo to get a closer look at the titles.

It occurred to me that my bookshelf provides additional evidence of why many managers and company owners see a barrier when it comes to safety.   I don’t mean the expense involved in buying the books.  I’m referring to the implied expertise required to find, interpret and apply the appropriate information and guidance.   It’s not unlike the perception of a “forlorn hope.”  This perception suggests that safety is not without great perseverance and incredible expense.

Are these books required for establishing and building a Safely Working™ Environment in a workplace?  Is safety really a “forlorn hope?”  Certainly not.  I’m confident many successful safety programs have been established without these books, even before the Internet existed.  A Safely Working™ Environment is more than safety, it’s how things get done.  It doesn’t take a huge budget to make it happen.

That doesn’t mean these books aren’t useful.  They’re great when you have a program already.  They are very helpful when you know what you need.   But, if you aren’t sure what you are looking for, these books can be overwhelming.  That’s why The Safely Working Project is focused on assisting employers build a Safely Working™ Environment in their place of work.

It doesn’t take books to create a Safely Working™ Environment.  It takes supervisors and employees using “Sensible Care.”  Safe 6® needs to be the one workplace rule that rules them all!   It really works when an employer is committed to Safely Working™ 100% of the Time.  It doesn’t take a technical library to do it.

start here (Mobile)

 

 

©2015 The Safely Working Project & P.D. Shafer III

“Safe 6″ is a registered trademark of Trailmarker Ltd.
“Safely Working” is a trademark of Trailmarker Ltd.

 

No Moral Equivalence Intended……

At times I feel like a missionary.  While my colleagues have important positions in firms and corporations with strong commitments to safety I’m dedicated to promoting Safely Working where safety is not a significant part of the culture.

My colleagues are responsible and accountable for building and maintaining leading edge safety programs.  Employees enjoy safe working conditions and a culture that helps assure they go home every day able to enjoy their families and lifestyle.

I’m don’t envy them.  I’m sure they have challenges that I’ve not experienced during my career.  The fact is, the majority of my experience has been with employers that don’t have safety programs.  In many instances my efforts were accepted grudgingly only to satisfy certain OSHA dictates or customer requirements.  In others, one visit or training session was regarded as all that’s needed.  The box has been checked.  When those employees go home healthy at night it’s a result based more on luck than any coordinated effort.  So, is chance a reasonable approach to safety?

Why don’t some employers take safety seriously?  The reasons are many…. “We aren’t covered by OSHA.”…. “We never have accidents.” …. “Safety is common sense.” …. “We can’t afford safety.” …… “Our business is not dangerous” …… “We aren’t big enough to have a safety program.” …… “Safety isn’t important.” …… “It’s up to employees to be safe.”  But the reasons aren’t important.  What is important is that chance is not an acceptable approach to safety for any size employer.

This brings me back to why I feel like a missionary.   Consider this, missionaries go to disadvantaged places where they may be misunderstood or not necessarily wanted.  They teach and enlighten people with information and tools intended to better their lives.  That’s what I’ve been doing for many years, but in the field of safety. (No moral equivalence is intended.)

That experience led to the creation of The Safely Working Project.  We are promoting knowledge and tools for employees and supervisors to remove chance from the workplace.  With employees and supervisors empowered with safely working knowledge chance of mishaps is reduced.  Safely Working becomes the norm.  Our objective is to get this information to those employees who need it more than others.  Every employee deserves to work in a safe workplace.  Every employee needs to know how to be safely working, not how to take a chance!

We firmly believe that if employees and supervisors are properly equipped with the knowledge and skills a Safely Working Environment is inevitable.  Chance will no longer be the joker that nullifies workplace safety.  The Safely Working Project is committed to support employees and supervisors because they are “Safely Working from the Ground Up!”

Who else is going to do it?

 

©2015 The Safely Working Project & P.D. Shafer III

“Safe 6” is a registered trademark of Trailmarker Ltd.
“Safely Working” is a trademark of Trailmarker Ltd.