Safety Stew Reheated……

IMG_20150903_183714I recently attended a luncheon featuring an attorney who discussed current Workers’ Compensation issues in our state.  The speaker was an expert and fielded lots of very specific questions.  I am always amazed how much time safety professionals spend dealing with these issues.  As I have been more involved through the years with the active ingredients in the “safety stew” I have been fortunate to avoid workers’ compensation woes.  What strikes me is that the time consumed by workers’ comp takes away time from the active ingredients that drive Safely Working.

If you are new to The Safely Working Project you may be asking what the heck is “Safety Stew?”  It is a concept we introduced here.  It occurred to me that it was time to reheat the Stew and consider whether we can turn it into Stroganoff.  Basically, “Safety Stew” is made up of active ingredients, inactive ingredients and fillers.  The active ingredients are what really makes the stew good.  If we use just the active ingredients we can make a more refined plate of stroganoff, or for our purposes Safely Working Stroganoff.  The principal active ingredients are:

  • Employer commitment – Empower supervisors and employees
  • Danger check – Recognize the dangers from activities and conditions
  • Practices and procedures – Safe 6, one rule to rule them all
  • Employee training – Skills for Safely Working
  • Supervision – Working with employees to protect their lifestyles
  • Promotion – Keep the stroganoff deliciously warm!

These are all common ingredients any workplace can produce themselves.  The fact is when Stroganoff is the main entry on the menu the need for adding fillers (like workers’ comp management) should be kept to a minimum and not dominate the dish.

For now, let’s consider employer and management commitment.  Remember, The Safely Working Project is geared toward employers that have no safety professional for whatever reason.  The Project’s mission is to provide guidance that can be simply applied and implemented by supervisors and employees.  We want to put employers in a position where there are no obstacles and no excuse for not promoting a Safely Working Environment. (See this post)  An employer who is committed to making Stroganoff and empowering employees and supervisors to be Safely Working will likely have fewer mishaps and thus less likely to have to deal with the fillers like workers’ comp to any great extent.

Something to keep in mind is that over time it’s employees that become supervisors. Many CEO’s started at the bottom.  Empowered employees will continue promoting a Safely Working Environment.  As more and more employees are given responsibility for Safely Working, the Safely Working Environment will be evident and pervasive.  That’s why we believe “Safely Working From The Ground Up!” is more effective than trickle down safety.

 

©2016 The Safely Working Project & P.D. Shafer III

“Safe 6” and “Safely Working” are registered trademarks of Trailmarker Ltd.
∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼

The Safely Working Project is focused wholly on employees and their health and well-being in the workplace.  The Project promotes useful guidance that does not depend on a safety professional or staff to facilitate in the workplace.

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.”

Guard Against Mishaps

guardBe attentive.  Know all emergency switches, alarms, evacuation routes, spill supplies, fire extinguishers, first aid stations, emergency showers and eye washes.  Be aware of any change in conditions that can adversely affect the safe completion of your task.  Act immediately when something goes wrong.  Protect yourself, notify others in the area and your supervisor.  Follow your company procedures for the type of incident.

See “The Safe 6 Pack

 

©2016 The Safely Working Project & P.D. Shafer III

“Safe 6” and “Safely Working” are registered trademarks of Trailmarker Ltd.
∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼

The Safely Working Project is focused wholly on employees and their health and well-being in the workplace.  The Project promotes useful guidance that does not depend on a safety professional or staff to facilitate in the workplace.

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.”

 

Safety Stew – Will They Come Back for More?

IMG_20150903_184326Safety Stew Ingredients
  • Fillers: accident investigation; worker comp management; record-keeping
  • Inactive ingredients:  environmental management; security; human resources
  • Active ingredients: management commitment; risk analysis; training; supervision; plans and procedures; safety promotion

The world of workplace safety, or safety stew for the sake of discussion, is made up of a variety of ingredients.  Many of the ingredients are inactive or just fillers as they may have little or no impact — it is the active ingredients that are important and essential to the success of the Stew.  Of course, this is measured by how many people eat the stew and come back for more!

It’s important that the safety stew is not overwhelmed or dominated by the fillers and inactive ingredients.  If this happens, fewer people will eat it and are less likely to try it again, even with a new and improved recipe.  Additionally, when inactive ingredients overwhelm the stew, it is an indication of bad ingredients, not following the recipe, or not blending and cooking the ingredients properly.

So if we apply our stew analogy to workplace safety, the more attention paid to the active ingredients of safety will result in a flourishing Safely Working Environment.  The Safely Working Project is focused on the most important active ingredients of the Safety Stew.  How’s your Stew?

 

©2016 The Safely Working Project & P.D. Shafer III

“Safe 6” and “Safely Working” are registered trademarks of Trailmarker Ltd.
∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼

The Safely Working Project is focused wholly on employees and their health and well-being in the workplace.  The Project promotes useful guidance that does not depend on a safety professional or staff to facilitate in the workplace.

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.”

 

 

Operate and Compete the Task Skillfully

operateThe Do’s – Complete task only if you are trained and authorized. Know what’s going on around you.  Complete a visual inventory of what else is happening that could be distracting.  Remove all distractions.  Attend to the task with focus. Shutdown and protect equipment when taking breaks or talking to other workers.

See “The Safe 6 Pack

 

©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.

∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼

The Safely Working Project is focused wholly on employees and their health and well-being in the workplace.  The Project promotes useful guidance that does not depend on a safety professional or staff to facilitate in the workplace.

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.”

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

“Safe 6” and “Safely Working” are registered trademarks of Trailmarker Ltd.
∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼

The Safely Working Project is focused wholly on employees and their health and well-being in the workplace.  The Project promotes useful guidance that does not depend on a safety professional or staff to facilitate in the workplace.

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.”

Control Conditions and Remove Dangers

controlMake it Safe – Clear the workspace of all unneeded materials, equipment and other possible obstructions.  Complete applicable work permit requirements.  Post any required signs or permits and install barricades.  Have the permit reviewed and approved by your supervisor.  Put on required PPE.

See “The Safe 6 Pack

 

©2016 The Safely Working Project & P.D. Shafer III

“Safe 6” and “Safely Working” are registered trademarks of Trailmarker Ltd.
∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼

The Safely Working Project is focused wholly on employees and their health and well-being in the workplace.  The Project promotes useful guidance that does not depend on a safety professional or staff to facilitate in the workplace.

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.”

 

 

Does Everyone Have It?

IMG_20150903_183855Recently, 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>

 

©2016 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.

∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼

The Safely Working Project is focused wholly on employees and their health and well-being in the workplace.  The Project promotes useful guidance that does not depend on a safety professional or staff to facilitate in the workplace.

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.”