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: 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...

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
Read more...