About Scott Gaddis

Scott Gaddis leads the integration of the Intelex EHSQ Alliance in thought leadership and building partnerships with top influencers in EHS, working with professionals across the globe to deliver a platform for sharing information and collectively driving solutions that mitigate workplace loss. Scott has more than 25 years in EHS leadership experience in heavy manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and packaging. Before joining Intelex, Scott served as Vice President, EHS for Coveris High Performance Packaging, Executive Director of EHS at Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Global Leader for Occupational Safety and Health at Kimberly-Clark Corporation.

What Can Your Organization Learn from the Deepwater Horizon Disaster?

By Scott Gaddis and Graham Freeman

The Deepwater Horizon disaster has left an indelible mark on the field of health and safety. The images and footage of the massive oil rig engulfed in flames and slipping under the water are both emotionally powerful and a searing indictment of the mechanical and organizational failures that led to the tragedy.

The mechanical failures at the heart of the explosion are well-documented. A surge of hydrocarbons overwhelmed the malfunctioning blowout preventer (BOP) and travelled 18,000 feet to the rig, where they ignited and caused an untameable fire that killed 11 workers and injured 16 more. The open well dispersed approximately five million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over the next three months, leading to one of the worst environmental disasters in history. By 2017, British Petroleum (BP) had already spent approximately 62 billion dollars working to mitigate the impact of … Read more...

Safety Management Systems and Improving your Organization’s Safety

What is a safety management system?

A management system is the playbook on how an organization manages its moving parts. It provides guidelines to achieve your operational goals and create a culture of safety. The level of simplicity or the complexity of such a system is entirely dependent on the size of your organization, documentation requirements, the business functions needing control, various stakeholders, the business sector and even legal obligations. Most organizations require more than just a checklist or safety manual to make sure they are doing more than just complying with regulatory requirements. You need help managing the human factors, promoting safety awareness, providing guidelines to your employees and working towards accident prevention.

Specific to safety, a Safety Management System (SMS) is a strategic, systematic approach to ensuring a culture of safety within your organization. It is not just a set of rules based on regulatory standards such as … Read more...

Passing the Test: How Good Is your Safety Management System?

I talk a lot about management systems and why a good one is imperative to sustainable business success.

A management system, simply put, is the playbook in how an organization manages its moving parts to achieve its goals. The level of simplicity or even the complexity of such a system is entirely dependent on things like organization size, the business functions needing control, the business sector and even legal obligations, just to name a few.

Specific to safety, a Safety Management System (SMS) is a systematic approach to ensuring safety. What it is not is a set of rules based on regulatory standards such as OSHA or the HSE. The SMS is a collection of management elements that are identified and evaluated to develop and execute plans to gain and sustain control within a process framework. While organizations will decide what features the Safety Management System needs to control, the … Read more...

How Fall Prevention Strategies Can Protect Your Workforce

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that on average slips, trips and falls cause nearly 700 fatalities per year. Let’s look at how to prevent them.

Fall prevention strategies should be comprehensive and multifaceted but should begin with complete understanding of the variable risk factors that create loss potential opportunity. Given that there have been changes to the Walking-Working Surfaces standard, it’s prudent to consider risk assessment as a starting point to understand the robustness of your program and if you should be doing more. Consider what risks in your workplace may lead to slips and trips. Here are a few areas that should be evaluated:

  • Slippery Surfaces. It’s a safe assumption that most injuries occur on a slippery floor. Assessment should be conducted to understand if the floor surface is impacted by liquid or dry spillage. Some areas to consider are surfaces impacted by production materials like
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Suspended Loads and Respecting the Fall Zone

In almost every industry, a load of some kind is being lifted, manipulated, lowered or carried in a way that poses risk to workers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are more than 50,000 “struck by falling object” recordable injuries every year in the United States. That’s one injury every 10 minutes caused by a dropped object in the workplace.

Understanding the Fall Zone

The fall zone as defined by OSHA is “the area including, but not limited to, the area directly beneath the load in which it is reasonably foreseeable that partially or completely suspended materials could fall in the event of an accident.” OSHA goes on to state that standing under a suspended load is prohibited and that “while the operator is not moving a suspended load, no employee must be within the fall zone, except for employees (who are): engaged in hooking, unhooking or … Read more...

Walking-Working Surfaces and Pedestrian Safety: Assessing the Risks – Part 1

Working alongside a wide range of material handling equipment, on ill-prepared work surfaces and dealing with elements like weather, congestion and poor illumination are, in many cases, part of work for many. Added to this is the reality that we now deal with the distraction of things like cell phones, creating a perfect storm of substandard conditions met by an increase of substandard behaviors.

Pedestrian safety is not an issue to be overlooked. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that on average, slips, trips and falls cause nearly 700 fatalities per year. OSHA reports that as many as 30,000 forklift accidents occur annually in the United States and close to 20 percent of those accidents involve a pedestrian being struck by the forklift. Of these forklift events, 35 percent resulted in the pedestrian’s death.

Fall injuries also have a considerable cost, with workers’ compensation totals estimated at $70 billion … Read more...

Biomimicry Looks to Natural History for Innovation

Innovation is usually discussed with only the future in mind, but a keynote speaker at the National Association of Environmental Managers (NAEM) Forum in Louisville, Ky. believes the key to meaningful environmental progress lies in our natural past.

Janine Benyus, co-founder of the Biomimicry Institute, presented an audience of 700 professionals from over 300 companies with the concept of Biomimicry: an approach to innovation that seeks to emulate nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies to find sustainable solutions to human challenges. The goal is to create products, processes and policies — new ways of living — that are well-adapted to life on Earth over the long haul.

Benyus – a biologist, author of numerous books, innovation consultant and self-proclaimed “nature nerd” –  said Biomimicry is a way of looking back at 3.8 billion years of good ideas in nature to allow us to leapfrog ahead without having to go through … Read more...

Elements of Leadership and the EHS Professional – Part Two

In Part One, we looked at the role of a EHS professional and some key attributes I believe every EHS professional needs to possess to have sustainable success in their organization and career. In Part Two, let’s look at a few more.

The Affiliative Leader is another attribute closely related to supportive leadership. It is the ability of the EHS professional to bring together groups of people when team building is important. While I do not believe this style can be used alone, there is plenty of evidence to support that our ability to leverage collaboration and teamwork is a pivotal leadership attribute to a well-balanced and sustainable EHS process. It’s the ability to take a management dependent or independent workforce to one of interdependence; where employees and leaders work together to both implement and promote a “values” based system that is built on the premise that ‘no-one gets … Read more...

Elements of Leadership and the EHS Professional – Part One

In an article published in the Harvard Business Review titled, “Managers and Leaders: Are They Different?”, the author explores the difference between “leadership” and “management.” “It takes neither genius nor heroism to be a manager,” he wrote, “but rather persistence, tough-mindedness, hard work, intelligence, analytical ability and perhaps most important, tolerance and goodwill.” Granted, one would be hard pressed to deny that these are not admirable qualities, but it is doubtful that these qualities would ever deliver sustainable EHS performance in a complex and dynamic organization.

Over the past 25 years of my career, I’ve spent most of my time working in local and corporate level positions striving to improve EHS process and performance. Over the years, I discovered that organizations best optimize their efforts when they provide strong well-balanced leadership. Strong and well-balanced meaning that it does not lie strictly on a regulatory focus, but considers employee capability and … Read more...

Good Systems Are Essential to Great Safety Cultures

There’s no easy and quick fix when it comes to building a safety culture.

Every organization is unique and dynamic in nature, and each has its own personality. Added to this is the reality that success in Safety is, for the most part, determined by the Safety professional’s customer – the organization’s workers themselves – and for most of us as Safety pros, our list of customers is long and varied. And each has a different definition of success.

Parallel to this thought is that there is no “one right way” to build a safer culture. Rather, it is a number of elements that must be employed to build robustness within the safety process. Simply put, organizations that demonstrate world-class performance employ a strategy with elements that control loss-producing variation throughout the work system.

Controlling process variation is not a new concept. Many successful operational effectiveness programs have been … Read more...