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.

Communicating in Crisis: Preparing the Public Information Officer

In Part Six of the series “Communicating in Crisis,” a checklist for the EHS professional provides insight into the information you might  be asked to provide in a crisis.

Depending on the magnitude of the crisis, the role of the EHS practitioner in many cases is not only to gather and report information but to anticipate what information will be asked Shot of two warehouse workers standing on stairs using a digital tablet and looking at paperwork.

The EHS practitioner likely will lead or be a big part of gathering data and producing information that will be used for communications with the public, media sources and officials affected by the crisis. In most organizations, there is a role defined as public information officer (PIO), and while various titles may be used organizationally, it is this person who serves as the public face for the organization.

The Role of the PIO

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Communicating in Crisis: Emergency Response Planning, Preparation and Training

In Part Five of the series “Communicating in Crisis,” Scott Gaddis explains why you should not leave crisis planning to chance.

It’s not if but when a crisis event occurs at your facility, so make sure you have planned for it and employees are trained in emergency response.

How an organization handles emergency response during a crisis – and the communications of such events – cannot be left to chance. Planning, preparation and especially, training contribute to successfully managing emergency response. So, handle these in a way that benefits you as a practitioner and the organization you represent.  

Personally, and with few exceptions, I always was totally surprised when a crisis event happened. Some were small events, others quite large and complex, but most were very unexpected. Don’t think that a crisis event might happen, because at some point, such an event will occur. Prepare employees by providing emergency … Read more...

Communicating in Crisis: Government Agencies

In Part Four of the series “Communicating in Crisis,” Scott Gaddis explains how important it is for EHS practitioners to know and understand regulations – local, state, and federal – that require reports to be filed following an emergency situation such as an environmental spill or employee injury.

Some emergency situations require reporting to local, regional or federal agencies, which may step in to coordinate a response.

There are no “hard and fast” rules for the EHS practitioner in reporting a crisis event to government agencies. So, know the regulations required by the specific agency that has jurisdiction over your operation.

For instance, in the United States, an environmental emergency is reportable to EPA when there’s a threat that reaches a threshold limit. Likewise, OSHA has similar protocols when fatal or specifically defined injuries occur.

Understand Reporting Requirements

It is vital that you understand the reporting requirements for all government … Read more...

Communicating in Crisis: Employees

In Part Three of the series “Communicating in Crisis,” Scott Gaddis explains how important it is for EHS practitioners to be as honest and transparent as possible when communicating to employees about a crisis situation.

Unless employees are front row center as a crisis unfolds, it’s a safe bet that only versions of the truth are being shared with them by coworkers.

First and foremost, it is paramount during a crisis that the EHS practitioner and the management team be as upfront and honest as possible with employees. This does not mean the organization is admitting fault or taking the blame, but is communicating what is known as truth at the time the crisis is occurring. Unless employees were front row center as the crisis unfolded, it’s a safe bet that only versions of the truth are being shared with various fabrications of the facts crafting a new storyline as … Read more...

Communicating in Crisis: The Role of EHS in Managing Communication

In Part Two of the series “Communicating in Crisis,” Scott Gaddis explains the role of the EHS function in gathering information to help the organization make informed decisions as part of crisis management efforts. Read Part One, “Communicating in Crisis: The Role of the EHS Practitioner.”

The EHS function often plays a role in internal and external communication during crisis management.

The EHS practitioner is likely to work along several paths in dealing with and communicating in a crisis.  In an emergency, the practitioner has multiple audiences that will need to be informed including employees, senior management and government agencies. The media and the public also are a consideration, but usually with the idea of supporting that activity with data that will be shared externally by others.    

It is imperative to gather as much information as you can about what happened. Taking for granted that people have … Read more...

Communicating in Crisis: The Role of the EHS Practitioner

How you manage crisis events impacts their lasting effect on employees, the business, the community and your value as an EHS practitioner.

It’s a safe assumption that you will face a situation at some point, either manmade or natural, in which the need for effective crisis communication is likely.  

Crisis communication for the EHS practitioner is a necessary skill to master and should be part of your skills toolbox. Whether you are a staff-level specialist, leading a program or working within a defined incident command system, there is a need to be able to actively listen, gather and analyze information and deliver credible communications in high-stress situations. 

Granted, and I would venture a guess that this is true for most of us, there are organizational policies that dictate specifically who speaks in crisis and who does not. At least for me – and for most of my career it was … Read more...

Coronavirus – Leading EHS During Crisis

Have your priorities as an EHS leader changed during the current Coronavirus crisis?

Organizations are experiencing an unprecedented situation. Now more than ever, EHS professionals can help lead their organizations through the crisis caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Over the past 25 years, I’ve spent all my time working as an EHS professional in local and corporate level positions, determined to improve business processes and performance. Throughout my career, I’ve noticed one consistent theme: organizations optimize their efforts when they provide robust and well-balanced leadership.

This means that they do not focus on a single factor but consider the work system, employee capability and capacity, how the organization is led, and the management system. During times of crisis such as what we’re now experiencing with Coronavirus, it is vital to lead your organization more effectively.

Simply, the dividing line between managing things and leading them is measured by the ability to affect … Read more...

Coronavirus: Will It Cause Workplace Distraction?

Mention the word Coronavirus, and an unsettling knot grows in your stomach. It is sweeping across the globe with great voracity.  Every newspaper headline screams it. Every television news program I’ve watched over the last month leads with it.  

While we can’t dismiss Coronavirus as a medical concern, what is it doing to the mental health of workers?  As a safety practitioner, I’m concerned about how much distraction this creates in the workplace. This especially is true in those work environments where an absolute focus on work tasks separates staying safe or becoming a tragic loss statistic.

Don’t allow workers to become so distracted by the latest news about Coronavirus that they become so distracted that they commit unsafe acts.

My Experience

Years ago, I worked in a paper mill that was progressive in the care for its people. You knew you were driving into a different type of manufacturing plant when you passed signage in the parking lot with the company name … Read more...

Make 2020 Your Year for the Perfect Vision Statement

Does your vision statement set the tone for how your company, your EHSQ function, and your employees should think and act moving forward? 

If not, you might be ignoring an opportunity to integrate EHS with operational excellence efforts at your organization. 

Earlier this year, Intelex Technologies, where I am a vice president and practice lead for safety and health, was acquired by Industrial Scientific Corp. (ISC). 

Not long after assuming leadership of Intelex, Justin McElhattan, president of ISC and its subsidiaries, shared the vision for the companies he oversees. “We are here to dedicate our careers to eliminating death on the job by the year 2050,” McElhattan declared. 

His statement was not elaborate, but it was clear, concise, and set the tone for how the companies and employees are to think and act moving forward. Metaphorically speaking, Justin McElhattan did not just communicate a corporate vision, but our true north star; the fixed destination for the next three decades. It’s … Read more...

Flip the Leadership Pyramid

There’s much to be said for the “power of We.”

Over the past several years, I have written articles and lectured on numerous occasions about effective leadership and management systems. There’s inherently one important idea always floating in the back of my mind, and it serves as the foundation for most any actionable content I create.

I learned about the inverted leadership pyramid on the first day of my first corporate-level job in the mid-1990s. I had assumed the role of Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) leader for a large chunk of the company’s business portfolio. My boss, a guy who would become a mentor and coach, sat me down and drew a triangle that displayed Vision & Mission / Strategy & Goals.

It looked like this: 

It was the standard pyramid used to explain the organizational structure. He drew dividing lines; splitting the triangle with the upper one-third reserved … Read more...