In 2017, more than 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes according to the National Safety Council, with the three biggest causes of fatalities on the road being alcohol, speeding, and distracted driving. And, as an employer, you play a big role in keeping roads safe. Millions of employees drive as part of their jobs. Some are professionally trained drivers, but many are not, and if a job does not primarily involve driving, the employee often does not receive the same driver safety management that professional drivers do.
Each year, thousands are killed while working on the job and even more are injured or have a close call that could result in injury. An appendage to those tragic events is the fact that organizations lose thousands and even millions of dollars due to these safety incidents. OSHA has stated:
If you’re in charge of OHS at your workplace, you’ve probably considered whether the new ISO 45001 standard makes sense for your company. You’ve likely read about it or heard people in the industry discussing it. Or you may be wondering whether your company is ready for the requirements and the process involved. There are several factors which can impact the implementation and eventual success of any ISO standard within an organization, such as its size, nature of operations, current OHS policies, or available resources. However, one factor you will not typically hear about is arguably the most important – the people who make up the organization.
More and more, I hear organizations setting higher safety goals for their workforces, using terms to describe them as Zero Harm or Injury Free. Some go as far as sending leaders offsite for days to safety commitment workshops. There they must articulate their commitment to lofty safety goals, returning as enlightened safety emissaries.
It’s not easy to be Amtrak right now. Talk about a rough stretch…three major accidents in the past two months alone. First, in December 2017, a Cascades train traveling from Seattle to Portland came to an abrupt halt, derailing off a bridge and onto a busy highway. Then, a chartered Amtrak train traveling through Virginia collided with a garbage truck. Most recently, an Amtrak train traveling from New York to Miami collided with a freight train in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, these are just the most recent incidents…barely three years ago was one of the largest train derailments in history: the Philadelphia Amtrak crash, which killed eight people and left 180 injured. How can we prevent these accidents?
Safety professionals are notorious for getting hit with the gotcha questions that, if not answered correctly, make us look stupid. On the surface these questions seem simple to answer, but there’s always a catch. Here’s one I recently heard. Are today’s new mid-size sedans safe to drive? For the sake of this argument, let’s consider the 2018 Toyota Camry. What do you say – is it a safe vehicle? Well, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently gave this car their Top Safety Pick Award. If you're like most astute safety professionals, your answer will sound like this: “Yes, but…it depends on who is driving the Camry!” You quickly recognize that, while the vehicle is reasonably safe, the person behind the wheel ultimately decides how the car is driven.
The third weekend in September brings about the annual Mothman Festival in the small town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. The festival is a two-day event celebrating all things Mothman, and is the largest festival in the state of West Virginia, with as many as 14,000 attendees. The Mothman is a figure steeped in mystery, most only know the legend from the 2002 movie “The Mothman Prophecies” starring Richard Gere.
Imagine you are in prison. Your application for parole is being reviewed today by a judge. What time of day do you want to have your application reviewed?
Think about your answer and hold onto it. We’ll revisit the question later…
Self-control. It's critical to safety behavior and important decision-making. When thinking of self-control, let’s focus closely on people’s ability to control emotions and desires in challenging situations. It’s a tricky effort.
Which of the following management activities best describes “management commitment to safety” to you? (Note: by ‘management’ I primarily mean Supervisors)
Participating actively in safety meetings and safety training events
Investing time and resources on effective safety improvements
Talking frequently about safety with employees
Role modeling safe behavior at all times
Whatever the company defines as “commitment to safety”