SAFETY PERSPECTIVES

Differences between External and Internal Factors of Employee Safety [Video]

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

We're publishing our first ever Safety Perspectives vlog today! Esteban Tristan, Ph.D., Director of Safety Solutions at Select International takes a moment to discuss the differences between the external and internal factors of employee safety, and why it's important for organizations to understand and focus on both to reduce at-risk behavior in the workplace.


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Safety Leadership: Do You Walk the Talk?

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

Nothing will kill a safety culture like leaders who undermine safety policies, and who fail to be safety role models themselves. I've worked with many companies in all sorts of different industries, and I've heard some crazy stories about unsafe behaviors. I recently heard a particularly alarming story from a warehouse site in a manufacturing company. The EHS manager walked through the warehouse one day and noticed an employee working nearly 20 feet above the floor without any fall protection equipment on. Clearly a safety violation. He immediately instructed the employee to come down and put on a safety harness before he continued any work above 6 feet. The employee came down and indicated he would do this immediately. Problem solved, right?


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Four Tips for Making Your Safety Observations More Impactful

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

How valuable is the information you are currently getting from your behavioral safety observations? Is it worth the time your employees are putting into the process? Safety observations have been a part of everyday life in many organizations for decades, and there are many different schools of thought and opinions about their effectiveness and how they should be done. I work with companies large and small, across multiple industries and I can tell you that for some companies it works wonderfully and truly helps reduce risks, and for others, they simply go through the motions and get very little out of it.


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4 Characteristics to Help Create a Best-In-Class Safety Culture

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

I was talking with a VP from a U.S. power and utility provider yesterday and he raised an interesting question during our call. He said “Our goal is to be the safest energy provider in the country. But, what I’m wrestling with is, what exactly does that look like?” If you worked with this company and spent time with their leaders for just a few hours, you’d understand that this goal is probably not unrealistic at all. They have several sites that have not had a recordable injury in over a year. Their total recordable incident rate (TRIR) is below 1.0, which is less than half the industry average of 2.2 (based on 2015 BLS data), and they have a very comprehensive safety management system in place with all the things you would expect to see – well defined safety policies and procedures, JHAs, near miss reporting, and solid training. They recently joined the VPPPA program as well.


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Managing Employee Safety at Home and Work

Posted by  Guest Blog

One of the clichés in the occupational safety world is that our goal is to ensure that our employees get to go home each day the same way they came. The implication here is that we make them safe in the dangerous workplace until they can get to the safety of their homes. But what if home is not the safest place for them to be?


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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.


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What Are the Traits of Proactive and Reactive Safety Leaders?

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

If your workplace has ever experienced a serious injury, then you may be familiar with the following types of questions:

  • How could this happen?

  • Why weren’t we aware of that situation?

  • Why wasn’t that fixed a long time ago?

  • What was the employee thinking?

  • Why didn’t anyone say anything?

The list could go on and on. Hindsight is 20/20 and it’s easy to be a “Monday morning quarterback,” second guessing decisions and actions after the fact. We hear a lot these days about needing to be more proactive when it comes to safety, but it’s often easier said than done. Why? Because people are busy, plans change, and there are always new potential risks that can emerge in our workplace. This is just the reality of the modern-day work environment, and these days, leaders are being asked to do more and more, with safety becoming an increasingly large part of that.


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Workplace Safety Commitment: Where Does it Begin?

Posted by  Craig White

In a past blog post, I discussed the importance of achieving employee commitment to safety programs and policies as a means of reducing incident rates. Since then, the broader topic of safety commitment has received increased attention in both industry and the safety research literature, warranting further discussion on this key aspect of employee safety. I now want to focus on safety commitment from the organization and top management.

I cannot understate that for a safety program to be effective in reducing accidents and injuries, employees must believe that management is committed to improving safety. In fact, demonstrating management’s commitment to safety is the critical first step in implementing any new safety practice. Without this perception from staff, employers will be hard pressed to enforce any changes that may reduce at-risk behaviors and hazards around the worksite.


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A Real Example of the Danger of Not Being Aware of Your Surroundings

Posted by  Craig White

The video below showing a trench excavation cave-in was filmed in 2009 and has since been used in safety training workshops, but only recently went viral online for unknown reasons. Please take a minute to watch before reading this post:

That was quite a close call. The worker was thankfully unharmed but was a mere split second away from certain death had he not jumped out of the way in time when the dirt walls fell into the trench. Ironically, the person filming the incident and calling for the worker to evacuate the trench just seconds before the collapse was a local OSHA agent who happened to be there at the time to inspect the work site. The cause of the collapse was determined to be inadequate reinforcement of the trench walls, which became more vulnerable as workers progressed deeper below the street surface.


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Why Do Some People Choose to Work Dangerous Jobs?

Posted by  Craig White

We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about the characteristics and behaviors of employees that can lead to a workplace safety incident. This week, I want to switch gears and talk about jobs that are inherently dangerous in and of themselves and the individuals who choose to go into these lines of work.

Before I go any further, please take a couple of minutes to watch this short video that illustrates the type of job I’m referring to here:


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