The Next Step to Improving an Already Strong Safety Culture

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

I was recently doing some development training for a global manufacturing company with a large presence here in North America. Overall, this organization has a great safety culture and has a pretty comprehensive safety management system. Not surprisingly, their TRIR (Total Recordable Incidence Rate) is currently below 1.0. However, they are actively looking for steps to get to 0.5 or lower and take the next step in terms of their safety journey.

In preparation for my training, I was reviewing some of their incident reports from the past year and noticed a similar trend. Regardless of the department where it occurred, the nature of the event, or the employee’s experience level, none of the injuries were due to any safety rule violations. In addition, they all tended to occur on tasks that were rare or unexpected. In some of the incidents, investigations revealed that there were actually no documented procedures for how to safely complete one of the steps in the process because it was rare or had such little risk associated with it. Simply put, these were not simple, garden variety safety incidents. They were more complex, and had various potential precursors related to anything from ergonomics to training to equipment maintenance.


4 Simple Safety Behaviors That Put You at Risk on Ladders

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

Every year, falls from height are a leading cause of fatalities and serious injuries, according to OSHA statistics. A large percentage of these falls are from ladders, which are so common on worksites. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that over 40% of fatal workplace falls involve ladders, and in the Construction industry, this number goes all the way up to 80%.

It’s no surprise, therefore, that ladder safety is a frequent and critical topic for safety professionals in any industry. From the type of ladder, to proper placement and usage, there are various aspects to consider. So if there is so much information out there about ladder safety, why are there still so many ladder-related injuries?


3 Reasons Why Contractors Often Fail at Safety

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

A few years ago I was touring a coal mine in Australia as part of a project to help improve employee safety. We were just about to wrap up our tour when a small truck sped past us on the dirt road, leaving us in a large, billowing cloud of dust. I couldn’t help but comment to the Mine Superintendent, who was our tour guide, “Wow – seemed like he was going pretty fast, huh?” He immediately responded, “Yeah, that’s that (expletive) contractor again. The speed limit is 40 km per hour on this road! We’ve already talked to them twice about that.”


12 Days of Christmas Safety [Infographic]

Posted by  Mark Rogers

Usually, we focus on workplace safety in this blog, but with Christmas coming up, we thought it would be a good time to remind everyone about the safety hazards that can occur at home. Many people are off of work and spending more time with family over the next few weeks. That extra time at home can lead to different hazards that you might not have thought of. 

Here are a few examples:

  • Make sure your outdoor lights are actually meant for outdoor use.

  • Have you checked all of your smoke alarms in your house?

  • Don't overload electrical circuits or extension cords.

The infographic below comes from Creative Safety Supply, and is a great reminder of how to keep yourself and your family safe while at home for the holidays.


4 Ways Your SafetyDNA Impacts Serious Injuries and Fatalities (SIFs) Risk

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

Serious injuries and fatalities, commonly referred to as SIFs, are the types of incidents that can cause the most harm. SIF incidents commonly lead to life-altering injuries, loss of life, and catastrophic events with multiple deaths. It’s no wonder that safety professionals and researchers have been increasing their focus on how to identify events that lead to SIFs, and how to prevent these events from occurring.

Research over the past decade has looked at various types of precursors, and systematic processes that can help prevent SIFs proactively. Experts typically recommend identifying SIF precursors, heightened education of SIFs, using root cause analysis and implementing various controls. However, research on SIFs is still an emerging field, and there is still much we do not know about the exact types of factors or events that contribute to these events.


How the Theory of Risk Compensation Affects Your Personal Safety

Posted by  Brian Dishman

Prior to 1967 Swedes drove on the left-hand side of the road. Högertrafikomläggningen is the day that Sweden switched all traffic to the right-hand side of the road. Picture that scenario. Imagine driving in the opposite direction on familiar streets, looking over a different shoulder while changing lanes, or reflexively reaching for the shifter with the wrong hand. You'd be trying to overcome years of muscle memory and habits.

Now imagine all of your fellow motorists suddenly experiencing this together on the road. Scary? You might think it was a rough time for Swedish car insurance representatives.

You’d be wrong.


How Cognitive Biases Affect Your Personal Safety

Posted by  Brian Dishman

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

Personal safety is an outcome of decision making. Consciously identifying and considering risk factors before acting will lower the odds of negative safety outcomes over time. Unfortunately, we humans aren’t completely rational decision makers. In fact, some neuroscience and psychological studies over the past decade indicate that our decision making is much more irrational than we previously would have imagined.

Nobel Prize winning, Princeton University Prof. Daniel Kahneman’s research indicates that we have two systems of thinking. One system is logical, deliberate, and analytically pursues rational answers to problems. We are aware of this part of our mind. It’s good at making decisions but it requires a lot of energy. If our mind is a computer the logical system is the program that causes our mind, fan spinning, to overheat with effort.


Preventable Deaths Are Higher Than Ever - Here's How to Help Reduce Them

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

Earlier this month, EHS Today published an interesting article discussing how preventable deaths resulting from injuries have reached an “all-time high.” In this piece, they cited an analysis conducted by the National Safety Council, which found that there were 136,053 preventable injury deaths in the U.S. in 2014 – a 57 percent increase since 1992. As NSC noted, this amounts to someone dying every four minutes, when essentially, they did not have to. That is a remarkably high and concerning number.


Is Your Preventative Maintenance Work Actually Safe?

Posted by  Craig White

When we talk about workplace safety, we tend to focus on ways of improving individual safety performance through awareness of safety blind spots and potential hazards around the worksite. This includes maintenance processes that prevent equipment malfunctions which can place employees in danger. However, often times the maintenance work performed to keep people safe is just as dangerous as everyday tasks on the job.


Understanding the Four Factor S.A.F.E. Model - Exhibiting Caution

Posted by  Greg Kedenburg

As we wrap up our series dedicated to reviewing the S.A.F.E. model, we’ll be going over the final piece of the puzzle, Exhibits Caution. As with the other three factors, an employee’s behaviors as they relate to Exhibiting Caution are determined by where they fall on several smaller, sub-factors that make up this psychological factor.

Boiled down to its components, Exhibits Caution is made up of one’s overall comfort level with risk and one’s level of impulsivity. Whether or not an individual leans towards or away from thrill-seeking, risky, and spontaneous behavior tells us a lot about their safety on the job. Is a given individual the type of person that prefers to think carefully before they act? Or do they tend to dive headfirst into an unknown situation, trying to make it up as they go? Are they generally comfortable in situations where there is an inherently higher level of risk? If so, they may be naturally lower on the Exhibits Caution factor.


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