2015…… The Year of Safe 6!!

At least that’s what our calendar says……

Anyway, we’re really excited to launch right into 2015 with new plans to promote The Safely Working Project and Safe 6.  Not only will we continue to post useful information about implementing Safe 6, we are finishing our first video production scheduled to be posted on YouTube later this month.

We will be announcing our theme for 2015 on January 6 along with a special opportunity to make it easy for you to introduce Safe 6 in your workplace.

The Safely Working Project is committed to making it as easy as possible for supervisors and employees to be Safely Working 100% of the time.  Your interest and support means everything to us.

Please have a wonderful, prosperous and safe 2015.

Happy New Year!!!!!!

The Safely Working Project

 

©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.

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Lifting the Hood on Safe 6

Let’s lift the hood on Safe 6.  Do you think it’s a straight 6 or a V-6?  Never mind, that’s going a bit too far.  Let’s just consider each cylinder of the Safe 6 engine.  (Okay, I heard you, enough already with the car analogy.)

In the previous post we laid out what employees need to know about Safe 6.  It wasn’t extensive.  It was practical.  We also said the person responsible for explaining the Safe 6 Brief should have a solid understanding.  Obviously, the person preparing the Brief needs to have the greatest familiarity with Safe 6.  However, Safe 6 is very forgiving. Briefs don’t have to start out as a complete and thorough document.

A Safe 6 Brief that covers the important points is just fine for a start.  In fact, it really should evolve as it is used by employees and with solicited input from employees. Employee involvement cannot be stressed enough.  So, the point is that to get started you don’t need a service department, just a motivated and enthusiastic salesman, I mean supervisor!

It’s time to break down Safe 6. There are 6 simple steps, three that are addressed prior to the task and three that encompass task completion:

Pre-Work Phase: Recognize – Prepare – Inspect
Work Phase: Control – Operate – Guard

A key commitment of The Safely Working Project is to build concepts using simple and sensible as guidelines (among others).  Safe 6 has been designed using these guidelines.  In fact, the best way to describe Safe 6 is by using a parts list (sorry, couldn’t resist).  Frankly, if Safe 6 can’t be put together with a simple parts list and diagram, it is too complicated.

Pre-Work Phase

1-Recognize All the Dangers – Know the Task

Authorization
Activities
Conditions
Dangers
Effects
Impact

2-Prepare and Organize the Workspace – Gather Everything Needed

Tools
Supplies
Equipment
PPE
Procedures
Qualifications

3-Inspect and Check the Equipment – Eliminate the Unexpected

Workspace
Inspection records
Ratings
Controls
Safety features
Components

Work Phase

4-Control the Conditions and Eliminate Dangers – Make it Safe

Verification
Team review
Supervisor approval
Eliminate
Control
Personal protective equipment

5-Operate and Complete the Task Skillfully – The Do’s

Trained
Posture
Awareness
Attentiveness
Start-up/shutdown
Work practices – do’s

6-Guard Against Mishaps – The Don’ts

Precautions – don’ts
Monitoring
Communications
Supervision
Emergency
Security

Safe 6 is designed to be flexible and applied to most any task.  That means that certain steps may not be as applicable as others or some of the “parts” won’t be needed.  Safe 6 attempts to be more inclusive than exclusive.  It’s always easier to cross things off a list than it is to add to it.  Don’t hesitate to apply Safe 6 as it can be best applied in your work situation.  Safe 6 applied is better than Safe 6 ignored.

Finally, Safe 6, along with The Safely Working Project, is a work in progress.  It is evolving and constantly being refined and improved.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please contact us.  Your feedback is important to all that use Safe 6 in their Safely Working Environment.

Speaking of Safely Working Environment, there’s more to come on that subject.  Stay tuned.

©2014 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.

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Safe 6 Under the Hood…… Who Needs to Know?

Stay with me here…. let’s pretend Safe 6 is a car.  It’s a nicely equipped vehicle designed to get you from here to there quickly and safely.  With practical and functional controls for the driver, Safe 6 also has a whole lot under the hood that makes it terrific at what it does.

Do you need to know and understand what’s under the hood or just how to drive it?  All I’ve ever asked is whether the car will do what I want and get me where I need to go.  However, the salesman must be prepared for the customer who wants to know what’s under the hood.  It’s important he or she is ready with answers and explanations.  If we go a step further the service department has to know how it’s put together and how to keep it functional and running smoothly.

We can use the under the hood analogy with Safe 6.  Whoever develops Safe 6 Briefs for a company would be the vehicle service department; the trainer and supervisor would be the car salesmen; and the employee is the customer.   Since the supervisor may also develop the Safe 6 Brief, he or she would have the dual role of sales and service.  You get the idea, let’s discuss Safe 6 using a who needs to know what approach.

Eventually, every task should have its own Safe 6 Brief.  The Safe 6 Brief is a customized written safe work practice….. supercharged, detailed and ready to go!  The Brief provides a simple, yet complete description an employee needs to understand to safely carry out a specific task.  It may be posted in the work area or used as a training tool.  A person knowledgeable with the task should prepare the brief before it is implemented.  The Brief can be reviewed and finalized in a team safety meeting.  It could even be developed there in the first place. The positive benefits of involving employees are long lasting in building and maintaining a Safely Working Environment.

What don’t employees need to know about Safe 6 and the Safe 6 Brief?

  • The detailed requirements of a Safe 6 Brief – don’t burden employees with too much information
  • How to prepare a Safe 6 Brief – leave that to the person responsible

What do employees need to know about Safe 6 and the Safe 6 Brief?

  • At a minimum, employees should know and understand Safe 6 as a concept

Recognize All the Dangers – Know the Task
Prepare and Organize the Workspace – Gather Everything Needed
Inspect and Check the Equipment – Eliminate the Unexpected
Control the Conditions and Eliminate Dangers – Make it Safe
Operate and Complete the Task Skillfully – The Do’s
Guard Against Mishaps – The Don’ts

  • Employees must understand that Safe 6 is the rule of the workplace – One rule to rule them all!
  • Then they need to know what makes Safe 6, Safe 6 – Sensible Care for Safely Working
  • They need to know when and how to use Safe 6 – “Do It All the Time!”

If employees know the features of Safe 6 as described above and Safe 6 is used to frame Safely Working for all activities, it will become part of the workplace vocabulary.  The success of Safe 6 will be realized when it becomes part of the workplace conversation, not just a topic during an occasional toolbox team meeting.

We’ll lift the hood of Safe 6 soon…… promise.

 

©2014 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.

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Either You’ve Got It…… Or You Don’t. Tough Luck If You Don’t!!

In the last post I discussed the supervisor’s job description that included safety responsibilities, yet required no safety skills or qualifications.  I asked why and answered with……

“I believe it’s for the same reason there is no good definition of safe work practice ……  Safety is common sense, isn’t it?  Everyone knows you have to be safe.  Yes, but does everyone know how to be safe?  We’ll discuss this in another installment.”

I guess I should have said we’ll discuss it in the next installment, because that’s what I want to focus on now.

The assumption that safety is common sense (at least general safety) is not acceptable. How many times have you heard a trainer or supervisor say “you can do it, it’s just common sense?”  Okay, what is common sense?  As I do much more often than I did years ago, I looked it up in the dictionary. (Actually dictionary.com to be truthful.) Here’s the definition:

common sense, (noun) 1. sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training, or the like; normal native intelligence.   From <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/common%20sense?s=t>

So, is safety a reasonable component of “normal native intelligence?” Not really but, that’s why it’s assumed everyone knows what a safe work practice is and why supervisors are responsible for safety, but need no safety qualifications.

Did you see how I ignored the main part of the definition to make my point?  Let me ask the question again, this way: So, is safety “sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training, or the like?”   Are you wired with “sound practical judgment” or is it learned? Some might say yes, to the extent that people want to avoid injury and pain.  But, that assumption is contradicted by those who enjoy the thrill of risk-taking.  Even if an employee has common sense, is it used?  I’m reminded of a statement I’ve heard numerous times over the years….. “common sense ain’t so common.”

The idea of common sense as a reasonable expectation may be perpetuated by employees obediently listening quietly to trainers and supervisors.  While important safety information may be short changed because it is thought to be common sense, employees may also be accepting information with blind faith.  I am not talking about spiritual or religious faith.  I mean generally as “belief without true understanding, perception, or discrimination” as defined here: From <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/blind%20faith?s=t>  Keep in mind, not everyone knows they don’t understand something during training.  They may be hesitant to ask for an explanation because the implication is that they should already understand.  New employees may be more susceptible to this.

My point is that trainers and supervisors may inappropriately assume employees have common sense and employees are not always well-prepared to challenge trainers and supervisors for better safety information.  The combination is less than ideal from a safety perspective.

The Safely Working Project is working to remove common sense from safety vocabulary and replace it with “Sensible Care*.”  Sensible Care cannot be assumed because it is not “native intelligence,” it is learned.  It can be achieved by providing employees with all the information and guidance needed to be Safely Working.  With sound information, employees will be better poised to use good judgment so their efforts can be completed safely.   Supervisors will also be in a better position to monitor and mentor employees.

Safe 6 is integral to Sensible CareSafe 6 doesn’t assume common sense as a prerequisite.  It is designed to identify the information employees need to be Safely Working with Sensible Care.  All the more reason to get into detail about Safe 6….. Soon.

 

*Just for the sake of completeness, here are definitions of sensible and care that form the basis of the application of the phrase “Sensible Care:”

Sensible: having or showing good sense or judgment. From <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sensible>
Care: effort made to do something correctly, safely, or without causing damage. From <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/care>

 

©2014 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.

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Safely Supervising…… The Most Important Part of My Job!!

Is Safely Working really an important part of a supervisor’s job?  I scoured the Internet for supervisor job descriptions.  The results were less than impressive.  One site seemed to offer a very comprehensive job description.  As part of the description it described  “job purpose,”  “job duties,” and  required “skills/qualifications.”  Of the 10 duties listed, one addressed safety responsibilities.  It stated:

  • Maintains safe, secure, and healthy work environment by following and enforcing standards and procedures; complying with legal regulations.

Not bad, so I then reviewed the skills and qualifications.  The list included supervision, delegation, quality focus, profitability, and even more requirements.  Guess what?  None had anything to do with safety.  Why is that?

I believe it’s for the same reason there is no good definition of safe work practice (not that it is needed now that we use Safe 6!),  safety is common sense, isn’t it?  Everyone knows you have to be safe.  Yes, but does everyone know how to be safe?  We’ll discuss this in another installment.

By the way, I trust we are all on the same page in the belief that supervisors and group leaders are in the best position to facilitate workplace safety.  Let’s consider a supervisor job description that focuses on Safely Working:

  1. Set a good example by compliance with Safety Program requirements, proper work attire and use of protective equipment.
  2. Inspect work areas daily to identify unsafe conditions and/or work practices.
  3. Ensure that suitable tools are used for each task, and are maintained in safe operating condition.
  4. Verify and document that all employees are trained and have read and fully understand the operating procedures before machinery or equipment is used.
  5. Verify that the work is being performed using safe work practices and work methods.
  6. Continuously monitor the work site and correct any unsafe practices or conditions that exist on any part of the job.
  7. Initiate prompt, corrective action when hazards are apparent to him or are brought to his attention by others.
  8. Hold weekly “Team” safety meetings to:
    1. Encourage safety suggestions from employees.
    2. Discuss unsafe work practices and conditions observed.
    3. Review recent accidents or incidents and discuss ways to prevent similar occurrences.

Now that covers the landscape pretty well.  Of course for a supervisor to be successful the employer and employees must be committed to Safely Supervising*.  Otherwise, the supervisor will soon ignore those responsibilities and will be spending more time investigating and documenting accidents and injuries.

Now, where does Safe 6 fit into this and how does it help supervisors?  In the previous article I provided this list of ways to apply Safe 6:

Safe 6 as the Rule
Safe 6 as the Meeting Agenda
Safe 6 as the Training Objectives
Safe 6 as the Corrective Conversation
Safe 6 as the Mentoring Guide
Safe 6 as the Solution

If you review this list with the job duties above you’ll find them to be quite compatible, if not totally in alignment.  I wish I could take credit for that but, some things just work.  Safe 6 is a customized safe work practice: supercharged, detailed and ready to go!

My next stop will be looking under the hood of Safe 6.  Don’t worry, I’ll keep it simple and sensible.

A special thanks to LNB for granting permission to use the supervisor job description.

*The Safely Working Project encourages Safely Supervising.  Check out the STS page for information about becoming a Safety Trained Supervisor.

 

©2014-2015 The Safely Working Project & P.D. Shafer III
minor edits 7/8/15

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

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You Heard That Right…… Do It All The Time!

Ah, yes, Safe 6, (Safely Working Skills) not just a plain, ordinary safe work practice.   Safe 6 is a true, clear and structured representation of a safe work practice.  What’s so great about that?  Well, there are plenty of checklists, toolbox talks, and articles on specific tasks.  You can come up with them on your own if you want.  If you are using a checklist developed by someone else, how do you know if it’s complete?  If you develop your own safe work practice, how do you know it’s complete short of doing a full JHA?

Safe 6, by its design, is self-defining.  Each step in Safe 6 can be applied to any task. One step may be more relevant than another, but they all still apply.  I’ll be coming back with a more complete discussion of each step in Safe 6 in the future.  But, here’s the digest version:

Recognize All the Dangers – Know the Task
Prepare and Organize the Workspace – Gather Everything Needed
Inspect and Check the Equipment – Eliminate the Unexpected
Control the Conditions and Eliminate Dangers – Make it Safe
Operate and Complete the Task Skillfully – The Do’s
Guard Against Mishaps – The Don’ts

These steps make sense.  They are logical and not difficult to remember.  If Safe 6 is used as the structure and form for Safely Working in the workplace, employees will begin to address tasks using Safe 6.  Safe 6 will become what it takes to get the job done safely.  If that happens, employees will be in control of their Safely Working Environment.  (We’ll talk about that another day.)

In an ideal workplace, every task would have its own Safe 6 Brief (a safe work practice – Safe 6 style.)  Great idea, good goal — but maybe not possible right now.  So, where does that leave us?  You don’t have to have a binder full of Safe 6 Briefs to benefit from the value of Safe 6.  Let’s look at how use Safe 6.

Safe 6 as the Rule
Safe 6 as the Meeting Agenda
Safe 6 as the Training Objectives
Safe 6 as the Corrective Conversation
Safe 6 as the Mentoring Guide
Safe 6 as the Solution

First, we establish Safe 6 as the one rule to rule them all.  That means that as we work forward, Safe 6 is used as the structure and theme to workplace activities.  Safe 6 Briefs are developed and used for every task.  As I said, you can ‘t expect to develop them all in an instant.  That will take time.  The convenient way is to develop them before you schedule and conduct training.

Use the steps in Safe 6 as the objectives for a training class.  This is when you can build that Safe 6 Brief.  Think about this:   If you already have a Safe 6 Brief prepared, you already the heart of a meeting agenda.  That will give you time to refine some of the specific objectives you have for the training.  For a Toolbox Safety Session, the Safe 6 Brief is perfect.  Conducting the session will be a breeze for Supervisors.  By its structure, Safe 6 lends itself to easy discussion and group interaction.

If Safe 6 is the one rule, then it will be easy for supervisors to have corrective conversations with employees not using Safe 6.  It will also be helpful for experienced employees mentoring new hires or newly transferred employees into the work area.

Safe 6 will be the solution because it will be part of the vocabulary of the workplace.  The Safe 6 Brief will be front and center, not a checklist or Toolbox Talk that only comes out during obligatory safety meetings.  That’s why we say “Safe 6, Do It All The Time!”

I intend to stay on track in the next article as I relate all this to the original reason for this series: to explain how supervisors can leverage Safe 6 to their team’s benefit.

 

©2014-2015 The Safely Working Project & P.D. Shafer III
minor edits 7/8/15

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

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