Why the Human Factor is as Important as Your Technology

In 1979, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) held a workshop at which it presented research demonstrating that the root cause of most aircraft accidents was human error and worker performance relating to poor critical thinking, lack of leadership, and miscommunication. The presentation was a response to the crash of United Airlines Flight 173 in Portland, Oregon in 1978, in which a landing gear problem forced the crew to circle the airport prior to landing. The captain focused on the landing gear problem for over an hour, missing frequent communications from his crew that the fuel supply was running low. The captain only realized his lack of situational awareness moments prior to the plane running out of fuel and crashing only a few miles short of the runway. Two crew members and eight passengers were killed. 

NASA therefore developed the practice of crew resource management (CRM). CRM addresses the human factor in teams … Read more...

Why Your People Are Your Most Important Metric

In the workplace, health and safety strategies specify the need for actions that management expects. Efforts to meet such expectations are employed and measured to ensure a successful journey. Though it is doubtful you are at war where you work, Sun Tzu’s approach involved first looking at the battlefield in detail (your organization), evaluating the enemy (poor performance), understanding any strengths or weaknesses (gaps in the management system) as well as the capabilities (resources) required to win. Once all of this is done, it’s merely a question of deciding what must be deployed and monitored for victory.  

Though they are not exciting parts of the process, the acts of measuring and evaluating how well the organization has implemented its health and safety strategies are the measure of management system success. Metrics are measures used to track, monitor and gain an understanding of the effectiveness of business processes. Such measures are … Read more...

Ontario Increasing Workplace Safety Inspections

Businesses in Ontario should prepare for a workplace safety blitz. Between October 1 and December 27, 2019, inspectors from the Ontario Ministry of Labour will be performing safety inspections across the province, focusing on the health care, mining, and construction sectors.  

Inspectors will be focusing on musculoskeletal injury and respiratory illnesses. Musculoskeletal injuries, such as tendonitis, back pain, and carpal tunnel, are among the most frequently occurring workplace injuries on all worksites in Ontario. They are common injuries for workers who engage in heavy physical labour, including repetitive actions and heavy lifting in awkward positions, and can damage joints, soft tissue, ligaments, and bones. According to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), they also account for more than one-third of all lost-time injury claims in the province. In 2017, that meant approximately 19,000 claims that cost WSIB $72 million and resulted in a cumulative 462,000 days of lost work time. Inspectors will be looking to ensure … Read more...

10 Steps to Take Your Safety Management System from Good to Great

Taking your EHS management system from good to great requires more than just buying a tool or paying lip service to the idea of safety. It requires a strong safety culture that integrates people, processes, and tools so that every worker is connected not only to the technology, but to their peers. Connected workers = safer workers, and that means connecting the organization as a whole to the core value of safety. 

In the new Intelex checklist 10 Steps to Take Your Safety Management System from Good to Great, EHS expert Scott Gaddis, Vice President and Global Practice Leader—Safety and Health at Intelex Technologies Inc., shows you the fundamental principles you need to build upon to make sure your EHS management system can keep your workers safe, provide business value, and provide a positive impact for your bottom line. When it comes down to it, every organization is built out of … Read more...

Knowing When to Buy EHS Software

At what point does the cost of purchasing and implementing new software become preferable to the cost of maintaining your existing organizational software? It’s an important question, especially when you consider that as much as two-thirds of the cost of the new software is probably going to come from your EHS budget. Like just about anything else, software has an expected service life. For most well-designed systems, their useful life cycle can be as long as six to eight years; for systems that are less well designed or for applications that evolve very quickly, the useful life of business software can be as short as three years.

To maintain workplace safety you need a tool that will provide software solutions for a wide variety of services like compliance management, risk management, safety management, incident management, audits, document control, training management … the list goes on.

According to a 2017 survey … Read more...

An Insider’s Guide to Buying Safety Management Software: Part I

With an array of competitive vendors, seemingly complicated technologies, and solutions of varying scope and quality, purchasing enterprise safety management software can seem like an overwhelming process. However, understanding the inner workings of the safety software industry is not as difficult as it may seem.

Further, learning how to maximize your organization’s return on investment (ROI) by choosing the most appropriate software solution for your business needs can be a straightforward process.

The intent of Part I is twofold:

  1. Explain why Safety Management Software can help your organization ensure employee safety and comply with regulatory and legislative standards.
  2. Demystify the software industry, particularly as it relates to safety management software, and provide the questions you need to ask potential providers.

In Part II you will learn:

  1. How to maximize ROI by implementing a safety management software solution.
  2. How to develop effective business proposals that communicate the ROI potential of safety
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...

6 Keys to a Great EHSQ Software Implementation

During a panel discussion at the recent 2018 EHSQ Alliance conference in Austin, Tex., Tim Wolf and Greg Oickle from Arcadis – global design and consultancy experts that implement Intelex software for clients – offered their top six keys to successful implementations:

  • It’s important to establish and stay focused on a long-term vision. “It’s about making decisions today that aren’t going to prevent you from doing things tomorrow or two years or five years from now,” said Oickle. “It’s also about considering where you want to be five years from now. Today you might want to do incident management, which will let you enter incidents and figure out what’s happening, but maybe two years from now you might want to assess risks and figure out how you can actually reduce the number of incidents that are reported. So designing with the future in mind is important.”Added Wolf: “There is
Read more...

6 Reasons Why Quality Professionals Support Integrated Management Systems

On February 8, 2017, I delivered a presentation to 138 attendees on Integrated Management Systems (IMS) at the monthly ASQ Toronto section meeting. To learn more about IMS, read The Case for EHSQ Integrated Management Systems. The audience consisted of a broad range of experts including CQEs, CQAs, CQIAs, CSSGB, CSSBB, management consultants, auditors, among others.

As part of the introduction, I asked the audience how many people have either heard about or were already familiar with Integrated Management Systems and I’d say about 40% of the audience raised their hands – which is a good sign! I was actually only expecting about 10 to 20 people to raise their hands. This definitely demonstrates that Integrated Management Systems is of interest to quality management professionals.  The concept of an IMS becomes even more important because of the harmonization of standards due to the recent changes in ISO 9001:2015, ISO … Read more...