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.

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...

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...