Process Improvement and Safety Culture: Building a Better Workplace

There has always been debate about safety culture and the premise that "aren't we just in the business of building good organizational culture?"
Effective processes can not only reduce workplace incidents, but can ultimately lead to saving lives.

A conversation with Scott Gaddis, Vice President & Global Practice Leader, Safety and Health at Intelex Technologies, on how a safety culture can be strengthened through health and safety-related process improvements.

In November 2021, Scott Gadds virtually presented to a large H&S International audience on the value of process improvement within organisations, explaining how effective processes can not only reduce workplace incidents but can ultimately lead to saving lives. To learn more around the importance of building safety culture, the tools needed to do so, and what the future may look like for cultural safety processes, please take a read below and watch the webinar “Leveraging Safety Culture through H&S Process Improvement” here.  

Q1. Can you tell us a bit about your background and what attracted you to Intelex? 

Scott Gaddis: I began my career in 1989 after finishing up with degrees in Occupational Safety and Health from Murray State University. I’ve been leading EHS for more than 30 … Read more...

Second Week Highlights from COP26 – The Good and Bad News

Global leaders pledged to work towards ensuring that by 2040 or earlier and no later than 2035 in leading markets all new cars and vans sold will be zero emission vehicles.
Global leaders pledged to work towards ensuring that by 2040 or earlier and no later than 2035 in leading markets all new cars and vans sold will be zero emission vehicles.

“We have kept 1.5°C (global warming limit by the end of the century) alive. But its pulse is weak, and it will only survive if we keep our promises and translate commitments into rapid action.” – COP26 President Alok Sharma

Therein lies the ultimate question as leaders of the world breakoff from the conclusion of COP26. Political will seems absent, particularly among the biggest carbon dioxide-emitting nations, to take rapid action?

But let’s start with the positive. A mere two years ago, only 30 percent of the world was committed to net zero greenhouse gas emission targets and at the conclusion of COP26 it now stands at around 90 percent with 154 parties having submitted new CO2 national targets … Read more...

Insights from NAEM Part III: Technology, Empathy and Diversity

Highlights from the NAEM conference on EHS and sustainability featured expert knowledge on machine learning, change management and workplace diversity, all of which will be important themes in the post-pandemic world.

The EHS & Sustainability Management Forum from the National Association of EHS&S Management (NAEM) demonstrated the importance of balancing cutting-edge technology innovation with human empathy, dignity and inclusion, which will become an increasingly important theme in 2022. Here is a summary of some select sessions:

The Human Side of EHS&S

While conversations about data and digital transformation dominate the marketplace, it’s easy to neglect the needs of the humans who make up the workforce in EHS&S. The morning roundtable discussion on the human side of EHS&S explored how technology and change management need to operate hand-in-hand for organizations to find success.

The role of digital technology as both a tool and a goal was an important theme. … Read more...

Frontline Workers Say They Are ‘Seen but not Heard’

A new research report finds that operations, safety & health and wellbeing are what are most important to employees, though they don’t feel comfortable weighing in.
Operations, safety and health and wellbeing are deemed the most important topics within an organization for most frontline workers.

A new research report finds that operations, safety & health and wellbeing are what are most important to employees, though they don’t feel comfortable weighing in.  

The majority of American, Australian and British frontline workers (67%) say that they are never, rarely or only sometimes listened to on topics that matter to them the most—operations (54%), safety (46%) and health/wellbeing (49%)—according to new research by SafetyCulture. In fact, 66% of American frontline workers said they are rarely, never or only sometimes listened to by management on these important topics. 

SafetyCulture’s new Feedback from the Field research report features the views of American, British and Australian frontline workers, defined as individuals who must “physically show up to their job.” These workers include those in the hospitality, retail, manufacturing … Read more...

Post-Brexit, Britain Faces an Altered Health & Safety Landscape

The big change resulting from Brexit is that the British government is no longer accountable to any external authority or body when formulating and implementing health protection policy.

On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom officially left the European Union in a move that has popularly come to be known as “Brexit” (‘Britain’ + ‘Exit’). The nation’s departure ended 47 years of formal association with its European neighbors since joining what was called the European Communities in 1973. It brought with it significant uncertainty about what would change from both political and economic perspectives and the impacts it would have on all sectors of the economy.

On the health and safety front, though, many observers felt that the impacts of the pullout would be minimal, said Kevin Bampton, CEO of the British Occupational Hygiene Society. Bampton made his remarks during the recent Health & Safety Matters virtual conference … Read more...

Highlights from COP26 – Will Leaders Deliver on Promises Made?

The tools needed to solve the environment crisis exist and commitments promised by world leaders last week could help the world move towards solutions.
Over 130 leaders of countries representing more than 90 percent of the world’s forests pledged to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030.

The halfway point of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP26 saw many green commitments made by world leaders, but will these promises be kept?

Judging by a historical lack of collective action from the international community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the answer to that question would seem to be a resounding “no!” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had estimated in 2011 that limiting global average temperature increases to 1.5C would require a reduction of carbon dioxide or CO2 emissions of 45 percent in 2030, or a 25 percent reduction by 2030 to limit warming to 2C.  

Discouraging news came this week with the latest results of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) from more than 100 nations monitoring their CO2 … Read more...

Once Bitten, Twice Shy: Why Disaster Isn’t Inevitable

Disasters aren’t inevitable. From tragedies involving crowds to cataclysmic organizational failures, disasters often begin with minor failures that aggregate over time in complex systems.

Preventable deaths in the workplace happen around the world every day. They rarely make front-page news, even when they have important lessons we could learn to avoid them in the future. However, the deaths of eight people at a Houston music festival on November 5, 2021 have cast the spotlight on how multiple, seemingly minor factors can aggregate within a system and culminate in a tragedy that could have been avoided with better planning and more insightful risk management. 

Tragedies involving large crowds and poor planning have a long history. Despite the fact that event organizers often seem not to have learned from these disasters, there are several factors we might recognize in common with other similar events. Here’s a brief review of some of the most … Read more...

Resiliency and Risk: Lessons from the Adaptation Gap Report 2021

At COP26, work is being done to figure out how we can adapt to inevitable climate disruption and protect vulnerable people, closing the adaptation gap.

The Gathering Storm: Adapting to climate change in a post-pandemic world is the 2021 Adaption Gap Report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). As Glasgow hosts a diverse group of stakeholders at COP26, the Adaption Gap Report (AGR2021) assess global trends in the planning, finance and implementation of adaptation efforts to mitigate the impact of global warming. 

The basis of the report is that even the most optimistic of achievements to curb global warming—including reaching the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050—are probably not sufficient to undo the damage that has already been done. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its report Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis, recently concluded that the impact of global warming, particularly on the oceans and ice sheets, is irreversible, and that … Read more...

Majority of Private Sector Workforce in U.S. Impacted by OSHA COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Standard

Occupational Safety and Health Administrationannounces an emergency temporary standard to protect more than 84 million workers from the spread of coronavirus.
84 million workers covered under an emergency temporary standard aimed at protecting workers from coronavirus.

The waiting and speculation is over: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced a new emergency temporary standard to protect more than 84 million workers from the spread of the coronavirus on the job. It is estimated two-thirds of workers in the private sector are included in this mandate.

Under this standard, covered employers—which includes any employer with 100 or more employees total—must develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to choose to either be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work.

Since 2020, the coronavirus has led to the deaths of 750,000 people in the United States, and the infection of millions more, making it the deadliest pandemic in the nation’s history. Many of … Read more...

Why Wellbeing Programs Fail – And How to Build Ones That Work

The need for improved wellbeing in the workplace is clear.
BCS Support Manager Joanna Saines recently outlined why so many well-intentioned organizations fail to implement a successful wellbeing program and offered practical advice on how to establish one that works.

The term “wellbeing” has truly become a buzzword within the last few years, particularly as it applies to the workplace. Despite its ubiquitous presence in corporate literature and CEO speeches, however, its exact meaning is often unclear. This is the case partly because so many different definitions have been put forth by so many different groups and individuals. For some, the term refers to mental health. To others it involves physical health, while some associate it primarily with diet and nutrition. There are many other interpretations as well.

The British Safety Council (BSC) has spent considerable time studying the topic and recently defined wellbeing as, “An individual’s ongoing state which enables them to thrive.”

Using this definition as a foundation, … Read more...