SAFETY PERSPECTIVES

2 Major Reasons Why Your Company Isn't Improving Its Safety Performance

Posted by  David Juristy

Albert Einstein famously said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” So, why is it that so many companies conduct the same safety training year after year, yet see very little difference when it comes to improving their safety performance? I know that’s not always the case. However, when you consider the amount of time, money, and effort spent on reducing incidents and injury rates, one would expect to see better results.

There are two main reasons we fail to see the type of improvement we desire:


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What Can the Cleveland Browns' Failures Teach You about Safety Leadership?

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

Playing quarterback for the Cleveland Browns is a dangerous occupation. I fear for their personal safety, and I don’t think Browns leadership is providing a safe environment at all for the most important position on the field.

This recent blog presented some interesting data showing that they also allow more sacks per game (over 2.5 per game, on average) and had allowed the fifth most sacks of any team in the league, as of Week 6 of this season. While a few other teams this season have allowed more sacks on their quarterback, interestingly, those quarterbacks seem to stay healthy, whereas Browns quarterbacks have been injured much more frequently. On average, they are injured or are leaving the field once every 9 hits this season. And this trend spans well beyond this season. In fact, the Browns have the unfortunate distinction of being the only NFL team (by far) to have four straight seasons where they start three or more quarterbacks in a season.


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How Valuable Is Your Behavior-Based Safety Process? What One Company Found Out

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

Question - if you had to rank the importance of Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) relative to other parts of your safety management system, where would you rank it?

More importantly – where would your company’s employees rank BBS in terms of added value? This is exactly what a global manufacturing company with over 11,000 employees and over $10 billion in annual revenue is doing, and the answers that it got from its leaders were very interesting.

This organization just finished polling over 160 supervisors, managers and EHS professionals across all of their North American operations (over 10 sites) as part of a comprehensive safety leadership training effort. They have had BBS in place across these facilities for nearly 20 years, and have invested extensive money, time and resources into its BBS systems. Clearly, somebody has seen value in it.


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How Does Social Proof Affect Your Workplace Safety Culture?

Posted by  Brian Dishman

This is part 4 of our series on how cognitive biases affect workplace safety. Click here to read Part 1, click here for Part 2, and here is part 3.

Rules don’t drive employee behavior. Watch the below video.

This classic Candid Camera segment illustrates the powerful impact of social proof on human behavior. Social proof is the psychological phenomenon where people match the actions of others in an attempt to display correct behavior for a given situation.


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Measuring Safety in the Hiring Process: Questions and Answers

Posted by  Megan Why

Last week, we held a great safety webinar about how you can measure safety risk in your hiring process. Our Safety Practice Manager, Dr. Tristan and Brian Dishman, a senior consultant, discussed how to determine whether a potential hire would be safe on the job or not. Wouldn’t you want to know if someone has the potential to be a safety risk, before hiring that person?

The webinar ended with a great Q&A session, but we ran out of time before we could answer all of the questions! We decided to answer the remaining questions in this week’s blog post.

By the way, if you haven’t watched the webinar yet, you should! Click here to access a recording of it and learn how to measure safety risk in your hiring process.

Read on for the questions and answers…


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Why Is One Company Paying $213,000 a Day for a Basic Safety Violation?

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

Could your company currently afford to pay over $213,000 in fines per DAY, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair costs, for a basic safety violation? Well, that’s exactly what is happening right now to Joseph B. Fay Co., a contractor based near Pittsburgh, PA. For those of us who live and work here in the greater Pittsburgh area (our hometown here at Select International), this story is very relevant to us because we are still living with the effects of having a major bridge out of service.

On Friday, September 2nd, the Liberty Bridge, which crosses the Monongahela River and provides a major connection for drivers between downtown and the South Hills, was shut down due to a dangerous fire that damaged a 30-foot long beam supporting the structure of the 90-year old bridge.


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Measuring Safety Risk in the Hiring Process: Research and Best Practices

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

If you are a safety professional, you probably realize the significant time, money, and resources that organizations invest in creating an injury-free workplace. We work with companies of all sizes, and nearly everyone tells us “Safety is our number one priority.” Yet when I ask them whether their company’s current hiring process specifically screens job candidates for safety risk, I often hear “no” or get blank stares.

So why do organizations invest so much effort into creating a safe workplace and then turn around and hire a job applicant who is a high safety risk, is unlikely to follow safety policies, and is likely to be injured (or injure a co-worker) soon after being hired? Why would an organization develop its leaders to create a strong safety culture, only to hire or promote a supervisor who will probably undermine safety and put his/her team at risk of injury just to meet productivity goals? It doesn’t make sense, yet many organizations do just that.


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How Can the Ostrich Effect Negatively Impact Workplace Safety?

Posted by  Brian Dishman

This is part 3 of our series on how cognitive biases affect workplace safety. Click here to read Part 1, click here for Part 2, and here is Part 4.

A few weeks ago I had two problems that occurred almost simultaneously at my home:

Problem #1: Occasionally my wife and I would hear some strange scratching sounds right above our bedroom at night.

Problem #2: The air handler component of my A/C system was leaking water.

How did I prioritize and act on these problems? I wish I could say that my logical system kicked in for these decisions, but as readers of this blog series should know it was the intuitive system driving my behavior.


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How the Availability Heuristic Affects Your Personal Safety at Work

Posted by  Brian Dishman

This is part 2 of our workplace safety series on how cognitive biases affect safety. Click here to read Part 1, click here for Part 3, and here is Part 4.

At a family gathering, my cousin expressed concern about his dad’s lifelong smoking habit. His dad slyly replied, “I been smoking my entire life and I ain’t dead yet.”

The availability heuristic is our tendency to overestimate the importance of information that is most immediately available to us. The immediacy of the information holds more power than the accuracy or completeness of the information. A personal anecdote is more powerful than an actuarial table because of the availability heuristic. It is the part of our intuitive system that internally whispers “it won’t happen to me” because the potential negative consequences of a behavior are not immediately available to our attention.


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Safety Outside of the Workplace Must Be a Priority for Expats

Posted by  Craig White

Many of my Safety Perspectives blog posts focus on the hazards faced by individuals who work jobs with inherently high levels of danger, such as construction and plant workers. However, as the global economy continues to grow, American companies are doing business all over the world more so than ever, and consequently, are sending employees to various countries to work on and manage their projects.

These expatriates (commonly referred to as expats) are those who temporarily or permanently reside, as an immigrant, in a country other than that of their citizenship, many of whom perform what we traditionally consider white collar jobs. Working overseas can present unique concerns for workplace safety, as these employees are placed in new cultures with laws and safety regulations that may differ significantly from those in the U.S., as well as a variety of other things to consider, depending on the country.


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