The 3 Most Influential Topics of ASSE’s Safety 2016

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Last week, Intelex had the pleasure of attending the American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) Safety 2016 Conference. Recognized as one of the must-attend safety events, this year’s ASSE conference brought over 600 exhibitors and more than 4,000 occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals to Atlanta, Georgia to discuss emerging topics and trends relating to safety excellence. Intelex is proud to support the ASSE—2016 marked our fifth consecutive year as an exhibitor!

As we’ve come to expect from Safety 2016, many valuable insights were shared by attendees and presenters. Here are the three most influential topics of Safety 2016, those that we felt shaped many of the most interesting discussions:

  1. ISO 45001

The upcoming international standard concerning occupational health and safety management systems was one of the most discussed topics at Safety 2016.  The standard, which is currently being developed by a committee of OHS experts, will follow a similar structure to other ISO management standards, including ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 and will take into account other well-accepted international standards, including OHSAS 18001, the International Labour Organization’s ILO-OSH Guidelines and the ILO’s international labor standards and conventions. For many in the OHS field, the upcoming ISO 45001 will provide an international framework that will ultimately improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks, and create better and safer working conditions for people around the world.

Kathy A. Seabrook, CSP, President and Founder of Global Solutions Inc., Chair of the Board of Directors at Center for Safety and Health Sustainability and Vice Chair at US TAG PC 283 for ISO 45001, shared some of the strategic considerations that the committee is taking into account for the upcoming ISO 45001 standard. Some of the considerations Kathy touched on included: existing regulations in the market, international definitions of workers vs. employees, how international organizations define a hazard, the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) at no cost to the employee, if competency is a subset of safety training, and if workers should be involved in policy or decision making as it relates to OHS programs within their organizations.

  1. Transformational Change

The concept of transformational change ran through many aspects of Safety 2016. Transformational change is incredibly proactive, identifying management system deficiencies well before anything negative has transpired as a result of those deficiencies.

Intelex’s Eric Morris, Manager of the Health and Safety Practice, shared insights on the role of transformational indicators in Behavior Based Safety at the Intelex booth. Whereas lagging indicators force a company to be reactive, and leading indicators necessitate an accident to have almost happened (as in the case of a near miss) for a company to act proactively, transformational indicators are incidents where managerial system deficiencies are uncovered and fixed before anything negative has taken place. Transformational indicators allow organizations to identify gaps in safety management systems and to take a more preventative approach to safety within their organizations. Eric emphasized how transformational indicators, in addition to leading and lagging indicators, enable organizations to compile a comprehensive body of data around unsafe actions and conditions.

To learn more about Behavior Based Safety, read about some of the key aspects you should consider when implementing a Behavior Based Safety System here.

  1. Psychological Risks in the Workplace

Another major topic discussed at ASSE related to psychological wellness in the workplace. With a growing number of workers effected by workplace stress, pressure, and harassment, psychological stressors are now being recognized as an emerging workplace health and safety risk.

When psychological safety is not adequately supported within a work environment, workers are at a greater risk of absenteeism, disengagement, conflict, physical and mental strain, decreased productivity, and being involved in accidents.

With over 40% of workers reporting that their job was very or extremely stressful and over 43% reporting that their stress has increased in the past year, psychological wellness is top of mind for many in the OHS profession. Keeping in mind the transformational indicators discussed above, stress and psychological safety may have already revealed themselves as the next important measurements to track and improve.

ISO 45001, the role of transformational change, and workplace wellness defined many of the sessions at this year’s conference. To learn more about these trends, download our whitepaper on the impact data-driven safety can have on your bottom line.

We’re looking forward to ASSE’s Safety 2017 Conference in Denver, Colorado – and we hope to see you there!

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