We’ve all done it. Sneaked a peek at an incoming text while driving. Punched in a quick reply with one hand on the wheel—our eyes dancing from screen to road as we hurry our message along as quickly as we hurry home. It’s no big deal, right? Just one text?
This workplace safety article was co-written by Ryan Roark, the former director of operations, AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry, and was previously published in the July 2014 issue of Safety+Health magazine.
In a perfect world, safety would be easy. Leaders would look at safety incident reporting and identify and remove the exposures and hazards that cause them. They would improve behavioral reliability and safety by making sure everyone followed the rules. But real life is not so simple. The live workplace is always changing—making it critical that employees be able to detect and respond to real-time changes in risk.
Network! Network! Network! We're encouraged to network with others in safety whether it's over social media or at safety conferences. But what if networking isn’t really your thing. Maybe you don't where to begin or you're an introvert and uncomfortable with approaching strangers. What if you're the opposite and are extremely curious, friendly, outspoken, but find yourself not finding a lot of value out of the conversations you have with others? Often people need help navigating their interactions to have richer, valuable conversations.
This workplace safety article was originally published in BST’s The Manager’s Guide to Workplace Safety (2012: Safety in Action Press).
Managers and supervisors play a critical role in culture change. They are the ones who communicate organizational priorities and values and who build relationships with individual team members. Managers and supervisors act as messengers between employees and the organization at large, and their actions signal what is accepted and rewarded. To many employees, managers and supervisors are the organization.
A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I went out for lunch with friends. When we drove up to the restaurant, we noticed our friends had just arrived and were getting out of the car. This also meant they could see me struggling to wiggle my car into one of the tiny parking places. When we got out, I was expecting some comments on my parking skills, but the first thing one of my friends said was: "Filip, the engine of your car does not sound right. That is a sign something's wrong. You have to take it to the garage."
When done right, safety can transform company culture and produce dramatic results in employee engagement, production, and other corporate goals. Organizations better at safety tend to perform better in other business areas and produce bottom line results everyone can get behind. The benefits safety offers the enterprise, however, are often overlooked in boardrooms where the company’s most important decisions are made. Corporate leaders often fail to recognize the advantages that can be gained by including safety in strategic planning or the ways business functioning can be improved with a comprehensive safety approach. In other words, at the highest levels of planning, safety falls into strategy’s blind spot.
For organizations operating in high-risk conditions, staying safe presents its own set of unique hurdles. What can leaders do to ensure they are fully supporting the technical and operational aspects of effective process safety? What are the key areas of focus, and what characteristics need to be strengthened to protect the enterprise and prevent minor incidents from becoming catastrophic events?