Yes, You Should Argue with Success: Why You’re Luckier Than You Think You Are

Many organizations operate according to the maxim “you can’t argue with success.” In other words, if it works, it’s worth doing. You might have heard this in another guise when someone says, “I don’t care how you do it, just get it done.” 

But what if you should argue with success? What if what you think is success is simply sheer luck that the small failures that take place unnoticed every day simply haven’t yet aggregated into an inevitable cataclysm that results in injury, financial damage, or loss of life? 

Humans are not particularly good at extrapolating possible negative future outcomes from the information they learn from past events. We’re prone to assuming that if something has gone well when we performed the task on a previous occasion, that it will always go well. As a consequence, we get an inflated sense of our abilities and our skills at handling other similar situations, and the level … Read more...

Being a safe employer pays off: Ontario announces program to reward excellence in health and safety

The Government of Ontario has announced that it will provide $140 million in WSIB (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board) rebates over three years for employers who successfully implement occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS) in the workplace. The program is open to any employer regardless of sector or size, and while it will recognize existing safety management systems, it will also encourage organizations that don’t have safety management systems to create them. 

This program is the first of its kind in Canada. The incentive is part of Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers, a voluntary program that recognizes employers who are working towards lowering the accident and injury rate among Ontario workers. The program is accredited by Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) under the authority of the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development with the goal of promoting health and safety in the workplace and encouraging continuous improvement in existing safety management systems. The program has … Read more...

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...

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...

Adopting ‘Lean’ Safety Takes You Beyond Compliance

How to embed safety into every minute of every day—and continuously improve it.

Robert Hafey, a 25-year lean practitioner and consultant with 10 years specializing in safety, is working to change how business leaders think about workplace safety. He’s trying to help them understand how much more effective “lean safety” is, compared to “compliance safety.”

Writing in a recent issue of Target magazine, the quarterly publication of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME), he explains the difference. Compliance safety, he writes, “focuses almost exclusively on following OSHA or other regulatory agency rules.” In organizations that focus on compliance safety, he explains, “practices are ‘pushed’ from regulatory agencies to safety professionals, who then take the new or changed requirements to their management team and eventually to those who perform the work.”

While this approach is right as far as it goes, Hafey asserts that this top-down directive approach often causes safety … Read more...

What Can We Learn from the Organizational Cultures of Different Industries?

Many industries have no clear boundary between safety and quality culture. In fact, they are often very closely integrated. Quality failures and nonconformances that require rework have been correlated with increased accidents and recordable injury rates in manufacturing organizations. These injuries are frequently the result of fatigue, workplace pressure, and the pressure from extra work due to quality failures.

Among the important collective of people, processes, and tools, people are the primary point of failure in increasingly automated systems. Unlike machines, we are subject to fatigue, information overload, and stress that can have a serious impact on our ability to work safely and efficiently. However, people are also the place where dynamic sensemaking, decision-making, and situational awareness reside, which are vital ingredients in complex and high-reliability organizations (HRO).

Culture is therefore an integral element of every organization. In the new Intelex Insight Report Integrating Quality and Safety in Organizational Culture: Read more...

Tackling the Evolution of Your EHS Program

It can be hard to step away from the day-to-day demands of managing an EHS program and take a critical look at what needs to evolve. Often, the people, business and goals of the organization evolve while safety processes remain the same.

Identifying areas for improvement can include leveraging leading and lagging metrics, getting stakeholder and employee feedback, or learning from peers.

Once opportunities for improvement are identified, a structured process to make those changes is required. This will require securing stakeholder improvement for the new ideas, initiatives and tools.

Want to learn more? Access our free webinar to listen to Billy Powell, an EHS Director for Smith & Nephew, talk about the challenges he faces today and how he evolves his EHS processes.

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Brexit Worries, CDM 2015 Define Future of Health and Safety in U.K. Construction

The likelihood of a construction worker being killed on the job in the United Kingdom is on average four times higher than in other industries. With the sector employing roughly seven percent of the U.K. workforce, that translates into a high number of people who unfortunately do not return home at the end of the work day.

According to the U.K. Health and Safety Executive, the government agency that oversees workplace health and safety, there were 38 fatal injuries to workers (and six to members of the public) in the construction sector during the period between April 2017 and March 2018. That number has not changed in five years, with the average during the past half-decade sitting at 39 fatalities per year.

It’s easy to discern the causes for a large majority of these deaths. According to the HSE, a staggering 47 percent of construction-related fatalities were due to falls … Read more...

Construction Abatements, Data Collection OSHA’s Chief Challenges: Report

Obtaining reliable data about workplace injuries is hindering OSHA’s efforts to determine how best to use its resources to help protect U.S. workers’ health and safety, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DoL) Office of Inspector General. This challenge is particularly acute in high-risk industries like forestry, fishing, agriculture, mining and construction.

The report, titled “Top Management and Performance Challenges Facing the U.S. Department of Labor,” details challenges faced by all arms of the DoL, of which OSHA is a part.

The situation, the DoL writes, is exacerbated by underreporting of injuries by employers. Without reliable data regarding workplace injuries, OSHA “lacks the information needed to effectively focus inspection and compliance efforts on the most hazardous workplaces.”

One former OSHA official, however, believes the agency already receives more than enough data to prioritize its actions.

“Most employers over-report, not under-report. They put stuff down … 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...