Drive Engagement in Quality and Safety Management with the Help of Technology

“If only I could get my organization to a state where our quality culture is embedded as a norm in every leader, contributor and partner. This would alleviate our constant trouble-shooting and reactive-stance dilemma. We’ve invested, stopped to ‘sharpen the saw’ multiple times, and while we have seen initial improvements, it’s very challenging to sustain.”

“We’ve made all the right ‘traditional’ moves by putting in place a mentoring program, defining accountability, consulting stakeholders, holding events, providing support and putting training programs in place. It seems though, that we experience diminishing returns and even I can’t remember the last time I took notice of the multitude of posters (some of which I sourced) dotted around the workplace.”

Sound familiar? If you’ve said it, thought it or heard it, maybe it’s time to think differently about quality culture and, more specifically, engagement in the context of quality and/or safety management. Engagement is … Read more...

The Connected Worker Brings Many Benefits

Connecting workers to electronic systems from their actual place of work allows companies to monitor their performance, health and safety and make real-time decisions to help them work as effectively as possible. The concept of the connected employee can take many forms, from giving workers devices that wirelessly connect to an EHSQ system to outfitting them with cutting-edge clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE) with embedded sensors.

The issue was the subject of an EHSQ Alliance Conference session, detailing various approaches to drive adoption of these kinds of technologies. “The connected worker drives safety and compliance. It’s really about taking paper out of the system and getting information into it faster,” said a software director at a leading technology manufacturer, explaining that it can sometimes take three months to get paper-based reports into the system.

When EHSQ-related data can be entered into the system automatically, right on the shop … 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...

Tightening Processes is Key to Worker Safety

Variations that exist within system processes may be putting workers on a path to making poor decisions while performing their work and invariably compromising their safety. That’s an assertion made by Scott Gaddis, the Health and Safety Practice Leader for Intelex Technologies and a 25-year veteran of environmental health and safety leadership and management.

It’s important to tighten process methodologies to ensure there’s little room for interpretation by workers that forms bad safety habits. In his recently published Intelex Insight Report, entitled, Unleash a Better Safety Culture by Controlling Process Variability, Gaddis notes that, in many incidents where a worker performs an unsafe act, the decision that often led to err was likely influenced by other uncontrolled variables residing within the work system itself.

Dan Peterson, in his book, Human Error Reduction and Safety Management, writes that “Human error is involved in every accident and there are many reasons … Read more...

The Importance of Permit to Work Analytics

Permit to Work processes are a necessary part of a company’s Safety management process, but they aren’t often recognized as a source of valuable insights. With the majority of companies using paper trails to manage their Permit to Work process, the ability to consolidate information, link that information to other areas of the business, and ultimately draw impactful insights is non-existent. Using software to manage your Permit to Work process can unlock those important hidden insights.

Linking Permit to Work data with EHS information can help Safety managers:

  1. Perform accurate audits to ensure Permit to Work procedures are properly followed

If it isn’t measured and tracked, then it likely isn’t happening. Auditing your Permit to Work process is essential to ensure that management, supervisors and workers alike are properly following your standardized process.

It will also allow you to objectively look at the process and identify areas for improvement, … Read more...

Technology Helps Drive Improved Safety Commitment

Technology might just be the solution needed to break through employee resistance to safety program participation and drive personal commitment and engagement to new heights of effectiveness within many organizations.

Today’s high-tech safety innovations can be of benefit to workers and also enhance safety in many workplaces. The key is to align the use of technology with the needs of workers, and do it in ways that will help get your workers, your technology and your safety goals all pulling together.

Some of today’s technology solutions have a clear and obvious part to play.

Tablets and smart phones, for example, have virtually endless applications in workplace safety. Workers can use them to access chemical hazard information and specific safety procedures, or to report hazards and make suggestions. Devices can enhance security for lone workers, or summon assistance in the event of an accident or medical emergency. There are apps that … Read more...

Safety Leadership Spotlight | How to Use Leading Indicators to Benchmark Your Safety Program

On March 31, 2017, I sat down with EHSQ Community member Faustino Martinez, a V.P of EHS, to hear his thoughts on how using leading indicators in EHSQ is transforming workplace safety in business.

In several of our recent community open discussions we have been learning from our members the Leading Indicators they are using to benchmark their safety data, such as near misses, and unsafe conditions.

During our interview conversation, Faustino shared his view that part of the key to success is identifying the right leading indicators that will strengthen your own organization’s management system. He stated to look at it like an “iceberg”. Often we only see 10% of what is happening when we look at lagging indicators. It is really the last minute view which means you have no opportunity to gain actionable proactive insights.

In his experiences, the secret to preventing incidents and accidents is to … Read more...

Enterprise Mobile Apps – Don’t Just Shrink the Screen

ehs & quality mobile app

Do you have a smart phone? I do, and chances are you do as well. In fact, research from Mary Meeker shows that today there are over $2.5 billion smartphone users around the world. Much like the internet before it smart phones and the rising use of mobile devices is a technology trend that is influencing many facets of our lives today, both personal and professional.

Over the last few years mobile has driven significant changes in how, where and when we use the internet. The internet’s initial value proposition of – all the world’s information available to anyone – has now become – all the world’s information available anywhere. This constant connectivity has impacted all areas of our lives, from how we navigate around town, to how we do our work, even to how we shop. In fact, earlier this year mobile use reached a very significant milestone. During … Read more...

Health and Safety Program Performance, Engagement and Autonomy

Health & Safety

The national retail federation in the U.S. estimates that retail supports 1 out of every 4 jobs in the United States. Retail is incredibly important to the global economy.  In fact, many if not all of us have probably been employed by the retail industry at some point in our lives. As such, most of us understand how critical motivation and culture are in that industry. This is especially true as it relates to employee workplace health and safety.

The interesting thing about “work” and modern research into workplace culture, motivation, and engagement, is that many of the core philosophies of business are being challenged. Even in industries such as retail that come with so much history. Research today is showing a direct link between employee happiness and engagement, with company performance, and ultimately company safety and quality performance.

What does it means to really be engaged at work Read more...

Transforming Health & Safety

Saving safetyWhat got us to where we are today will not get us to where we want to be tomorrow.

Decades of awareness building, training, and record keeping on Occupational Health and Safety – spearheaded by private and public enterprises and prodded along by governments – have got us to where we are today. These efforts have moved us incrementally along a path over the past four decades from literally dozens of deaths per day in the US alone, to a quarter of this number today.

However, the new standard many companies are striving for of zero fatalities and zero serious injuries requires a breakthrough. Traditional health and safety investments relying on moral suasion and larger budgets suffer from diminished returns after a certain point. To drastically change safety outcomes, we need to look beyond traditional Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) approaches. New social and mobile technology offer hope of getting … Read more...