The Safety Management Show
The Safety Management Show

Episode 12 · 1 year ago

Risk Assessment: Why a Safety SME Initiative Is a Gamechanger w/ Darrin Anderson


Risk assessments are absolutely integral to implementing safety at the workplace. Simply put, risk assessments are when you analyze your next series of steps in order to evaluate the safest course of action to address the task at hand.

So, how can you develop a suite of risk assessment and mitigation procedures and implement them at your workplace?

In this episode, Darrin Anderson , Environmental Health, Safety, and Security Manager at Nesher Pharmaceuticals (USA) LLC , shares his advice for building effective risk identification assessments and procedures.

We discuss:

- Risk identification assessments and procedures

- The power of safety SMEs

- The danger of safety being an afterthought

- How technology and ergonomics have changed safety

Hear more stories from safety professionals by subscribing in Apple Podcasts , Spotify, or visiting our website .

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for The Safety Management Show in your favorite podcast player.

You're listening to the Safety Management Show, where safety professional share engaging stories about their time in the trenches and the hard earned lessons they've learned along the way. Let's dig in. A good morning and welcome to the safety management show. Today I have our guests Darren Anderson. He is the environmental, health, safety and security for Nesher pharmaceuticals. He has an interesting background. I think you guys are really going to love hearing from him today. It's got some military's, some NATO things, which I just think is amazing, and quite a diversified background when it comes to health and safety. So good morning, Darren, welcome, good morning. How are you today? I'm fantastic. Thank you so much for joining us. I'm super excited to have you. Well, I'm excited as well. Thanks for the invitation and and for reaching out. It's this is an exciting, exciting moment. Nice. So I'm so glad you're here. So you know a little bit about your background. You develop some emergency response for civil disturbance, natural disasters and military engagement over and coast of vote, which is, you know, not everybody can say that they were. They were part of NATO project, you know, to in still peace and harmony in another country. So Kudos to you for that. Thank you. But that was a pretty fun endeavor. So I bet it was. And and I know you know we talked a little bit about how that kind of jump started, you know, your risk assessment background and how you know you had to take your military background also added to that. So tell us a little bit about Risk Assessment and and your view on it. Well, risk assessment is, to put it simply, it's analyzing your next step or the next series of steps, evaluating the safest mechanical or environmental way in order to address your task at and in other words, if you're going to climb a ladder, you want to look at the train, you want to look at the surface, you want to give the ladder, you want to have a plan in place before you go to identify those areas that that could be a little, a little dangerous and then either avoid them, which would be the primary choice, or mitigate them until you've lowered that risk down to a very safe level. And that can be done in almost every circumstance until you get into the really, really dangerous events such as, you know, firefighting. But then there are risk mitigations that are put in place to make it safer to enter that building to try and rescue people and put out a fire. So even there, in a high risk environment, there are mitigations that can be applied just by understanding your environment and what you have to do to move within. Awesome, you know, and and we've talked a little bit previously, you know about your take on risk assessment and, you know, breaking down the different tasks. Specifically, one of the things that we discussed is your involvement in the military and how it's not, you know, like we see in the movies where, you know, they say, Oh, we're going to go and do this mission and everybody just, you know, grabs our stuff and runs. So tell us a little bit about your involvement in that and how it really breaks down and can be used across any sector. Certainly so in every single task that you do in the military, in peacetime and training, in community efforts and also in wartime, there you have to do a risk assessment. So you have to look at your task at hand, what you're supposed to do, when you're supposed to do it, how you're supposed to do it and evaluate every stage every risk along the way, in fact every task. For instance, if in a training environment, if you're going to a rifle range, well, rifle range has fifteen subtasks, getting people on the range, getting people off the range, the actual shooting on the range, the loading, the unloading. How do you make certain that the rifles being cleared? There are several steps. So every single one of those steps has to be evaluated for risk and you put in measures of action which mitigate the risk. You lower the risk at every level. So when it's compiled into your overall Risk Assessment, you've identified every risk step by step and mitigated those. And that's before you ever start. And that doesn't include the getting people from point a to point B to the rifle range or getting the ammunition. And how do you get it there? How you get it safely? So with the military every single task for the year is subdivided like that and risk assessments are completed for every single one of them. So when you put a plan together, the people know exactly based upon the soopes that are in place in any mitigation so they have there already sops, the training standards that are there. But then you've put in your mitigations for that specific event and you place people in charge. You give people the Authority to make adjustments in the field in order to make it safer if they recognize something that hadn't been pre planned for or a or a situation changes and now you have a new risk. And you do that by giving those people in the field at the lowest level the ability to understand and...

...identify risks and to look at that task. Takes just a few seconds to look at the task and to decide the safest way to approach it. And and that's how it supplied in the military started doing that in the s and really changed it in the S and and it and it has significantly lowered the injury and death rates in both training and in active duty and involvement. That's really amazing. You know, you don't think about it in those terms. Most of us, you know, civilians, don't. anyways, you know and and I think I really enjoy speaking with you because you know one of the things that you've done is, you know, you developed risk identification, assessment in mitigation procedures for the company that you're with now. Kudos you are you've saved about twelve million dollars a year. I on your workmen's comp not a small task at all. We know that. You know the injuries that people face on the workplace really drives up the cost right when it comes from a business standpoint, safety, the insurances, things of that nature. What are some of the things that you brought in to those identification assessments and procedures that you'd like to share? Well, yeah, one of the things in this was with a previous company, but we were able to take the software which ran their job tasks. In other words, they would get their their orders and they worked in the field, typically at either business or person's residents, and they would have their job task that told them what tasks they were going to do where they it was a communications company, so we're they going to input digital video or was it going to be digital for Internet, or any of those tests. So we embedded if this. Then I worked with a data team and we developed if this then protocols for every one of the steps. So there are inherently some risk, some behaviors within that job task that haven't a higher inherent risk. So, for instance, getting on a ladder, when they would get to the point where they would have to get on the ladder in their job task. Then they would get a series of quick questions that was designed to only take three to six seconds. But if they answered one, then it would prompt them to a very specific next question. So, for instance, do you need to use a ladder as or no? Yes, oh well, which ladder? And they would have to look, assess their situation and determine which ladder and then which terrain, because it is going to determine whether you're putting out fleets or not fleets and how you're going to bind and secure that at the base. And each one of those questions then fed to a specific next question and when they were finished, they gave them a paragraph remind them in order how to more safely proceed. So within three to six seconds they have to look at that environment and they had to make a true evaluation based upon the question that was given. So we were able to embed that in every one of the work orders for people in multiple different skill sets, which allowed them to to perform those simple risk identification assessments just a few seconds at a time before they went on to each of the tasks, and that's what that helped. That was one of the big things in the other big thing was creating safety smee teams, safety smeas and teams, and and that has been where I'm at now, the biggest success. We took individuals who were interested in safety and individuals at every level of responsibility in the company and train them as a safety smee or they got extra training in safe behaviors and risk identification and risk men again, and it wasn't just about checking a block or answering question. It was about looking at the behaviors and looking at the job as you're going through every step that you do, even if you do it a hundred times a day, and re evaluating it everything. It takes only a second. But developing those skill sets and then giving the people on their team and other teams that work in the same area the ability to contact them directly when they have a question, or those folks have the ability to stop and coach someone and say hey, you know, if you do it this way, then you're not exposing yourself to this risk and working together as a team. It empowers them gives them the ability to help each other. They have a question, they reach out to me, you or anybody on the age just s team and it also allows us to make it part of the everyday process rather than a block that you have to check. It becomes part of their everyday motion. Yeah's awesome. You know the peer to peer support and sharing. You know that we previously discussed and and I like the idea at your company with the ownership of safety roles. So you know, tell us a little bit about that and you know how you feel it's impacted a safety as far as your organization goes.

Well, I think when you give individuals ownership and you give them the support, you can't just say hey, you own it and run away. So you given the support, you can continue training, you spend time with them, you go out on the floor possible and spend time with them and watch them and and encourage and coach and let them have that ownership and they understand it's not about checking a block, it's not about an extra step or it. Sometimes it's about removing extra steps in order to make it more streamlined, in a smoother flow and to reduce the risk between one point and another. Sometimes it is reduction and steps. But if you give them that ownership and give them that support, then it becomes not about doing the safety guys stuff, you know our are doing, or we got to check the block because that's part of our process. Now it becomes hey, how can we take care of each other? And they begin to recognize taking care of each other and okay, man, watch that. Oh yeah, thanks, I didn't see that. And then you start to see where it becomes a team effort getting through the process, doing their normal daily work, but doing it while watching out for the other individual and it becomes not about applying the rules but applying concept of getting to go home healthy at the end of the day, you know, and and being healthy while you're doing it. Yeah, it's so, you know, refreshing to see that being more into organizations. I know I'm personally taking some ocean training right now and I've noticed things similar to that and when they give you examples of the different risks and different areas of safety. Right. So, you know, I recently did some fall pro and some ladder safety and things of that nature, you know, scaffolding, and I just moved on to cranes, which is like, whoak cranes and Silka does scare me, because there's a lot of information to know. There but you know, they in the modules. They really, you know, said Hey, if you're in this situation and you see somebody doing this, how would you react to that? What would you stay to them? And I think it's really great that your company is doing that and that it's a supportive environment when it comes to safety, you know, making sure everybody, your neighbor, gets home safe at night, your coworker, you know, because we spend so much time with the people on our teams and, you know, most of us spend a lot more time at work than we do, you know, at home, unfortunately. So there are family for you know, most of the time and we need to take care of them. One of the things that I noticed, you know, that we had talked about, was something that you passionately disagree with, which was that safeties and afterthought. So tell me, I talk to me a little bit about what that looks like for you. Well, when safety is an afterthought, you find that people will take shortcuts and not consider their next step. They're only focused on what they're doing now and it's just okay, I'll go back and I'll check the block and I won't consider that, and it puts them in an unknown risk. I mean nobody willingly walks into the or rarely do people willingly walk into traffic. We get an injuries because because we're not considering a possible risk of something, we not we we don't consider something other than what we're doing. So when people take the idea that safeties and afterthought or it's an add on or is just another block I have to check and I'll take care of it when it's time to do that, every quarter we lose the idea that safety is simply about doing what we do every day and doing it in such a way that we get to go home and be healthy for our family and that we get to take care of our family. So I think we often misplace the idea of safety being applied for the idea that safety is just a qualification that you have to get. Yeah, absolutely, a hundred percent correct on that. And you know, I like the way that you look at the why of the mechanics right. So it doesn't do as any good to just say, okay, you need to do this, this and this. If you explain to someone why they need to do it in a particular manner and what the hazards are, it really seems to make a difference and I know that something that you know you've experienced in the past and that you think a lot of people and maybe need to head in that direction when it comes to explaining safety. Yeah, I think if, when you're working with folks for safety, you ask a lot of questions, you don't just don't just throw the the answers out there and you don't, you certainly aren't going to get anywhere with death by powerpoint. Yeah, to get hands on, you have to spend time with folks and when you do ask them, well, why do you decide it that way? Why did you decide to do it that way? What would be a way? What would be a risk that could happen if you did that? Well, this could happen. Well, how can you avoid that? Well, you know, and you... with folks and have them start to think through those things. Then run and getting their safety glasses. It's not a hassle. It's Oh, wait a minute, you know, I only get two eyes and if something happens then I only have one. You can't go to the store and get another. So they start to realize that, oh, it's a simple step, but it stops the the enormous risk of getting something in my eye or or damaging my eye or damaging my vision, and can I continue this job if, if I do lose my peripheral vision? There's some jobs that you just can't do that with. So yeah, oftentimes just spending that time with people and asking them a lot of questions. One of the great things about creating those safety smears is is that whole process is teaching them how to ask the right questions, as well as what questions to ask and what questions get answer. And you know the policies and they go through and work with everyone. Our safety smears give the safety briefing in the morning when we do our daily operations meeting before we start. They're the ones that give the briefing and it's not just okay, we got to look out for this, watch your eyes and watch for ice and snow in the winter. It's they're given the freedom to share hey, best practices. This question came up yesterday in the field and this is how we resolved it. Or this happened and this person did this to avoid that. They recognize that. Or this came up yesterday. So make sure you guys are preparing and considering that, thankfully, no one got injured, but this could have been a real risk and they're given that freedom and they're giving the freedom to, you know, reward others in front of each other. Hey, this person made a really good decision yesterday by doing this, when they encountered this this risk or or this problem, and they resolved it this way. So when it becomes active and it becomes a living, active part of their decisionmaking and it's no longer just about getting the nine questions right or the twelve questions for yeah, I love the whole you know, safety as a conversation. You know, it's not just, you know, standing in front of people and saying, okay, well, this, you need to do this, this and this. What if you did it this way? And I really enjoy the way and I liked a concept of, you know, safety being a conversation between people and not a demand or a rule, even though they are, you know, we need to have them in place to protect our employees, but, you know, just getting them more involved in their own safety and the safety of others, you know, through in person training that goes back and forth, or even zoom training that goes back and forth rate. So you're having a conversation about safety. It's not, you know, one person standing and can find, you know, saying, okay, here's a little chart, we're going to do this, this in this today, and it's more interactive. And I think that holds true for us, you know, as older adults, as adults in general, we tend to learn a little bit differently and it's so, you know, I mean, Hey, I know it's been many decades since I was in school, but you know, I still do active learning now and I find that I tend to get a little more out of, you know, a live training, so to speak, like something like a zoom meeting or in person training. You know, then I do from just, you know, watching a module on a screen. You know, one of the things we did with ergonomics and multiple locations was we did sky because zoom wasn't really big then. It was about three years ago, but we had the remote locations set up the same exercise platform that we set up in in one location. We went through with that all of the remote locations. Everybody got together and their different training cycles and we all talked about the right type of Warehouse Ergonomics and then we all performed it together and we critiqued each other and we assisted each other. Well, you know. You know, I found if I lift my Chin that my shoulders go back and I stand a little straight, or when I'm lifting with my legs, and they're doing that with each other and it became a virtual classroom environment. The only logistics was setting up exactly the same series of boxes and Palettes in the same fashion at all of the remote locations, and that turned out to be extremely beneficial. Folks then use that same concept and did that with other other shifts and other tasks and when they were redoing their training classes they incorporated some of those hands on in their training classes. So it worked out really well in that we were able to have that immediate feedback and it was participatory. It wasn't just you weren't just sitting back and trying to worry about how long this is going to go on because you have several things that they care of. It actually put people in place of doing what they need to do and understanding why. If you tell people why, oftentimes it's the why that people don't you know,...

...the why makes a big difference. You had mentioned it earlier. Why do we do it this way. You know why do we do why do we take a ladder off a rack this way? Why, when we put a ladder up, do we make sure it's between seventy three and a half and seventy five degrees? You know what can what tools can we use? In fact, it was by talking with folks and working with folks. You get some phenomenal ideas out of individuals that may not be in a traditional safety roll. For instance, when I first learned of the Nyash ladder safety APP, it was not from a safety meeting or a safety blog or or even a meeting with Nyash. It was from one of the technicians whose brother was a roofer and they were using it and he showed me and the the APP is fantastic. So essentially, you open you set your ladder up, you open the APP, you put it on the center dial button, literally, you hold it against the legs and it tells you exactly where you need to be. It gives you a vibration tone, alarm and a colored visual image of where you need to be to get it at that seventy three and a half to seventy five degree rate. And then you flip it over and it automatically makes an adjustment for the horizontal balance and it does exactly the same thing. So you're able then to mount that ladder knowing that your center of gravity is directly over every step. It's not in front and not behind, because you're within that one and a half to rerange that you should be. Just the application of that reduced ladder slippages or ladder falls or ladder ladder incidents in which the ladder move because it was inappropriately placed. Reduce that by eighteen percent within four months. Now that's significant. We were all the way down to two percent within four months and that carried on. We were two percent was our highest over the next year for ladder placement. A simple tool quite literally takes just a few seconds, but that did. That wasn't some great grand idea that anyone from the hi team had. There was a guy saying, Hey, have you seen this? You know, because they were engaged. That's cool, because they knew, Hey, this works and this is a great thing and and I'm engaged now, I'm doing something with I'm and and then of course they got you give them a safety ward and you let people know about stuff like that and it helps create an atmosphere where everyone realizes that they're valuable not only to the company for what money they can bring to it, but they're valuable just simply as a person and a team number, and then they start to see other people that same way. It's not just a punch the clock and get out of there. So there's the company payoff as well, not just saving money and Workman's comp or saving money and, you know, equipment breakage or downtime because something is now has to be cleaned, we had a hazardous bill or something like that. But it's beneficial to the company environment and the company health in that people are engaged with each other in a positive manner, keeping each other safe as as they're doing the production for whatever company that you have. Yeah, it's so interesting that someone you know that wasn't essentially a safety person that brought that to you and that kind of we've talked a little bit about different technology right and that seems to be the direction that I see a lot of companies, you know, your your local you know AC guy and you're field worker, are now, you know, getting tablets and everything's becoming more digital on their work orders and things of that nature. But I'm starting to see a trend in technology. You know, of course, the pandemic produced a lot of that, with the need for zoom and all of our meetings and nobody can get together, and you know all of this. So you know it's kind of relief that we can get back together now. But I think it really made people brainstorm on the future of technology when it comes to a field like safety. What are you seeing for a trends when it comes to technology and safety? Oh yeah, absolutely. One of the things that I like, we were able to do it the last place and able to do it this place, is is to take technology and put safety policies and then what what I call just Vignett's little safety a one or two minute quick safety brief, and create hyper links within the text of their work orders. So if they have to work on an elevated platform, that happen, link sits there and if they need to look at it to get a refresher, they just hit that and it brings up that that one or two minute then yet where you walk through that quick process or they want to look at the policy, they can hit that that button and that will take them to a main page where the policies are all stored. So I was able to do that at the last place. Working on that at this at this company. Sometimes our folks don't have the technology at a...

...hand, so we're making it in some central locations where they can, you know, step off the line and walk back, maybe stop what they're doing for a minute or wait till their break because it's something that's coming up after their break and they just walk over and get that refresher before they go on. And the fact that people are reminding each other you're going to be doing that. Have you looked at this? Or I did this yesterday in this work really well and is an encouraging factor when I'm out on the floor and I see that and I get that from other folks as well that are come up to me and say, Hey, this person had a great idea, and then we look at that, we look at our behaviors, we see whether or not their idea can work and we've made some adjustments with some of our processes and blending because of that, which has been wonderful, because now they have ownership, they get by in and their voice is heard and it's not just a matter of you take it to this guy and or this or this lady and and the two of them decide whether or not they think it's good. And they're not the one out on the floor every day doing that or they're not the one out in the field going to to that person's house or for whatever job it is. You know, give those people that ability to make those those assessments and have those great ideas and bring them to you. It's tremendous. Shouldn't be in a little box. If you're in a box, then it's not working the way it's supposed to. It's supposed to keep, people say, save the company money, not just in payouts for people and and injuries, but in breakage and downtime and all those other things. All of that's part of safety and if it's not a central part of your focus when you're starting your next past, inherently it's riskier than it would be if you've taken one second, quite literally seconds. We spend that long just pausing between movements. In that pause between movements you can make that assessment. It just has to become a habit. It has to be something that that we develop. It's a skill we have to develop. Yeah, it's interesting, you know, how more companies are are putting that into the initial training and orientation, particularly when it comes to menufacturing of any type of product. You know, my roommate works for major consumer goods company that has a plant here in Phoenix and you know, she was telling me when she went through her initial training about how they were said, you know, you need to when you're doing this job, you need to stand in this particular manner in and turn this way and not, you know, just don't just pivot at the waist. And it's interesting to see now how more manufacturing companies are really looking at, you know, Ergonomics and and the risk assessment when it comes to how their employees are moving and working. But have you seen that as something that that your company is developing more in their safety program yes, actually we've been reevaluating everything and getting individuals who are on the line, who are actually doing the repetitive motions, who are doing that, involved in that assessment. So rather than just one person going and watching WHO's an organomics trained expert, getting the others involved and and then making a collaborative effort. And here what we do aren't what we call Theo our new employee orientation training we spend more than twenty percent on safety and safe behaviors. Of that, depending on the job classification. The minimum is twenty. It can be as high at thirty. percent of their full training is and how to safely do their job, which is significant. There are a lot of places where, you know, you just read a couple of SOPs and you move along and we've incorporated as part of our new employee orientation in each step of the the process so that when people so that we can make certain that, especially somebody that's new is learning the right habits to help them make better decisions and as they move throughout their they transition from one task to another and as they're doing specific tasks. Yeah, it's I find it's so refreshing that companies are starting to build that into their training programs when they're on em boarding new people. Because, one I think that it allows the employee to have some ownership of what they're doing and how they do their job. It shows that the companies management has a buy in when it comes to safety. Biggest problem I see throughout companies is, you know, trying to get upper management's approval and when it comes to implementing I don't want to say new, because a lot of the a lot of the techniques aren't brand new, but they're new to them. So, you know, I I think that's great that that you guys implement, you know, the twenty to thirty percent when it comes to your new...

...employ orientation, and I'm finding that a lot of major companies are starting to do that. They've learned through the past that safety really is important. You know, it's not something we do just to get Osha off our backs. You know, it's not something we do to lower overhead, but it's an intricate part of what we do to keep our workplace safe and our employees healthy. You know, and that they are the longevity, especially when you have people that are doing, you know, the repetitive motions, like in a manufacturing situation or even, you know, some types of construction. You know you got roofers that are just hammering away and you know they've got that they're moving the hammer in the same way all day long, and so, you know, I think it's so important so nice that companies are starting to build that into their programs right away when they're bringing people in. So do you find that doing that has made a significant difference to the safety culture there where you are. Yeah, I think so. I think when when we make it part of the not just the process of what you're doing every day, but you give those team members the the freedom to take care of each other and make suggestions and and to reach out to each other, to others who have been trained, appropriately trained with with extra training, it changes the way they approach when they walk on the line or when they're working the warehouse or when they're having to do even those very repetitive actions. It changes the way they do it and the way they look at it. They're more aware of not only their mechanics, but their mechanics and relation to their task and in relation to the other environment around them. They're not just worried about their little station, they worried about the other individuals. So I find or I shouldn't say worried, but there's a concern and a thought process in which that other person is evaluated in their evaluation of how they're going to do this. It takes a little while for people to get used to it and comfortable and able to do it frequently. So being there, you know to use a biomechanics term, to get that muscle memory. So being there to encourage and to train and to ask the questions helps them develop that, because if they just if they're told one time, they'll do it for about a week and then they'll forget again because their other habit was to not be involved with that or do not think incorporate that. I think what that's the challenge is to get everyone to develop that as a pattern of habit. That's why that it would by putting it in their work order process. That allowed they were they were making those decisions all day long and they were doing it as they were making they were making those identifications and they couldn't go forward in the next step of their job task without it. So it helped develop that in which they had already made most of those assessments before they were started their job, when they pulled up, which is really what you want, and then as they start that next task they re evaluate it momentarily and does it does it stay the same, does it go down? Just go up and risk and what do I have to do to make that change? I think the hardest part that I've seen you were talking about with senior staff and senior leadership is to help them understand that safety isn't just something that costs them money and it doesn't just save them money in workmen's lower workmen's coperates or lower environmental hazard rates, but that it changes the atmosphere, fear and the culture of their business and people who are empowered and have the ability to help each other tend to tend to not only take care of each other, but they do a better job in production and performance and they tend to stay longer because they're being taken care of. They believe they're being taking care of a bout a company because a company truly values there that person as an individual, not just stance of work or be yeah, it's interesting, you know, with with the habits and how companies take care of their employees. Right. So every morning I just moved, but before I moved I had to drive through the city of Phoenix to get out here to Tempe. Yeah, every morning it is a lot of traffic, but it's interesting because I would see different work crews, you know, starting their day. So there's one national construction company that does a lot of I'm not sure if it's utility work, but I think that it is underground or, you know, it's where the roads are all Phoenix, all the roads are all tore up all the time because they're always doing something. But it was interesting because I see this one crew, I actually see them in different location. So it's the same company with different crews that I see throughout my way to work and every morning at the same time, because I...

...have my little pattern on my way to work, unless traffic gets too bad there's an accident. You know, they're out there doing like stretches and exercises before they start their day, and it's first I was like what are they doing over there? And then and then I saw it, you know, and they're doing their arm exercises and, you know, just stretching for the day. And ironically, you know, I see other crews that don't do that and they seem a little I don't know, I want to say sleepy in the morning right everybody's got their cup of coffee and they're just kind of hanging around the equipment, but these guys are up and doing stuff and I'm going to buy at thirty in the morning. So, you know, for them to be that active was impressive. But what really struck me is that at the end of the day, you know, three and thirty four clock, when I'm traveling back through the city to go home, they're still working and they seem to be working as vigorously as they were in the morning, and so I I was so curious, you know, how that incorporates in, you know, their daily mentality and their rigorousness to do their job and to continue to do it in the same manner throughout the day. You know, do you find that incorporating some of these habits? That one that I mentioned, but I'm sure you have other ones in your company. You know that people do on a daily basis, that it really impacts someone's attitude towards doing their work and getting it done as well in the morning as it is in the afternoon. Yes, I think so. I think first you're giving them the opportunity to to pause and take care of themselves and to stretch in their and warm up those muscles before they jump on the line and they're not or free. Your instance, you know, working on the highway crew, and I get it. Your you guys are like four feet from the sun out there feeling so I'm sure you're I always melt fast, but it's they're always working on them. But yeah, it not only warms them up and makes it a safer makes their mechanics, their bio mechanics safer. To go into that by giving them appropriate breaks throughout the day and adjusting for the environment, the heat and the humidity as those things go through the roof. Where I live we get pretty hot summers. You know. We're in the high n s to the to the low one hundreds for about three weeks as typically a three to four weeks. So it's not terrible. However, a low humidity day here is about seventy percent. Wow, and we can have yesterday it was was ninety six degrees with a ninety three percent humidity, so heated decks a hundred and seven. So you know that gets hot and a friend of mine who came out from the West Coast that I feel like I'm drinking your air. So we have to make we have to make those adjustments for individuals and giving them a chance to step back rat rest and restretch or relax in adjustments to the temperature also lets them know that we're not only caring for them, but they'll make fewer mistakes and they'll be more consistent in their production on a production inside that five minute pause to let everyone rehydrate, let everyone that that may not have been in their threehour section, they'll come back and their production will be better if you're making those appropriate adjustments now. If it's just a matter of okay, we're going to do if I've been a pause every day, then it's not about taking care of anybody, it's not about actually paying attention, it's not about making the adjustments that are needed. It's just simply stopping production and that's not effective. So as long as they're aware that and the people have the ability to come to you and say, Hey, you know, we have extremely hot and here's our heated decks, and then the the team leader has the the authority to say, okay, at this point we'll go another thirty minutes and everybody's taking a ten minute breaking rehigrating, and then when you go back to that you're making safer decisions again because you don't have that excessive the d yeah, it's it in that maybe exactly what that highway crews doing, that they're making the appropriate adjustments for the environment at the time that they're doing it. And when you don't have those significant severe heat or severe cold, you know, you just run as normal and take your normal breaks, because that's there's you're not making adjustments in or you're not. You're not having to make an unnecessary adjustment because you've already put in place safe practices for the normal operations. That's that aspect about. You know, when I mentioned at the beginning about environment, it it's not just it's not just the environment of the work team that you're on. It's not just the environment of your immediate leadership or your senior leadership or even the community that you live in, because all of those will play into into the individual contributor,...

...the individual employees preconceived notions or their cultural beliefs. We saw that when it came to win and how masks were applied, because certain cultures were applied in that. And that's the same thing with do we really need safety glasses? I've been doing this a hundred years. I don't need a hard hat. Yeah, you do. So you know those things complain to do it as well, and so, but also take into account the physical environment they're in. You know, that is something that we look at when it comes to the equipment they work on, but we tend to not look at it as a business, about the the actual environmental changes that can impact the individual contributor that or the worker. We often ignore that. You know, it's just go out and do your job. You know, we need to get it done the production over. You know, safety really, you know, plays a role in a lot of companies, you know, and that's one thing that I wanted to ask you about. So you know you've got some military background, I know you have some communications background and now you're in a specific area of manufacturing fan and I know you have specific protocols with what you do. You know it's a little bit different than some other types of manufacturing. What is the biggest difference in attitudes from companies employees in the different types of industries that you've worked in when it comes to safety? What's a good question. When I was with the homeline response force after NATO, I was with the her the homeline response force, we liaised with a lot of agencies because that's what we did. We provided that additional support and a lot of government agencies, fire agencies, health agencies, law enforcement agencies and similar to each one of those having a different idea of what they considered appropriate behavior, but they all the same thing. In the in the civilian realm, communications has such a broader ray from infrastructure development, so engineering and in lane cables below the ground and throwing up Poles and building microwave towers, to someone coming in and, you know, putting cable in your house so that everything from there. There's a huge array of skills and tasks, working in manholes to making pharmaceuticals, especially pharmaceuticals that are controlled substances. Those are entirely different, but everyone seems to bring with them an idea that will not every many people initially have the idea that safety is an ant on that safeties just an extra cost that you have to incur, that we build it this way and this is the most efficient way to build it. But if you go in and say, okay, let's look at how you're building it, okay, if they if, for instance, this wasn't something that I did, but it's something that I read, there was a manufacturing company that was building armrests for cars in and this was in a rural community in Missouri. They did it for GM products and that's all they did. They they molded the foam, they molded the outer rubber and then they assembled it, the parts together to create the arm rests. As they went through the line they realized people were reaching over one line to another and they took their two weeks off over the Christmas break and they redesigned their line with industrial organomic specialists so that now people, instead of having to reach over one line together the two and both things coming down at the same time, they meet at one area and one individual or two individuals make the inspection and put them together on a line and goes down. So the people are now picking it up in front of them at waist height, assembling it and then laying it down on a line which is lower and slightly to the to the front, at slightly below waist height, and it's going out. And so they're never moving and crossing over a moving line. The reaching up and reaching down, and there's a gap of about two feet there. So as they put it in a shoot and it goes down to that line directly to their right, so they're never having to to twist and move as they were, or lean over a moving line as they were. Subsequently, their injury rate with down people had some input on how they were doing the designs. That was successful. It was it was an individual that work the lines that said, well, rather than Havn't then down and put it there, won't we just build a quick shoot? And they did. They just built a quick shoot to the right and it allowed them to have people on leaning stools rather than standing only all day and sitting was more dangerous because of their motion, but standing on a leaning stool that was an addition. They gave them the ability to move directly in front of them without having to do all the twisting. They were able to reduce twisting strains,...

...they were able to reduce risk to catching any of their clothing and the moving bearings and subsequently the workers on the line slowly asked for an increase in the lines movement because they were more efficient and they were getting bored. So their production went up as well. But Nice, that was where safety was allowed to make to be involved in the entire process and the workers were allowed to be involved in the entire process. Tremendous Success Story. So everything that they thought they were spending money on in the retooling, which they thought they would say justin workmen's camp. They've of course saved in Workman's comp that went down drastically, but they made up for in an increase production, with fewer injuries, less fatigue. People were able to make better decisions throughout the day because of that. Fewer problems with at the end of the line with QC because people were spotting issues ahead of time. So it worked out very well for them. I didn't have anything to do with it, but that's exactly what we did with my previous employments involving individuals working on the telephone line area. When it came to ladder safety, in fact, that that company, if I can just run a couple of minutes into that, that company had you have to look at the Meta data, and this is something that's very important for the safety team in the leadership team, and you have to look at all of the METADATA. So we merge two companies. They had two different ladder safety protocols. One Company we looked at was averaging around six and a half percent a ladder safety incident per year when you broke it down by employee, and the other was looking at around nine percent per year when you broke it down by employee. And they said, well, we'll just dismiss this other but together we looked at this and said, well, wait a minute, you're just looking at incident per employee. How many times does that employee use a ladder? That makes a big difference. It should be incident per employee use of a ladder. And then we found that the ones that were running it about nine percent per employee were actually down to about point five per ladder usage and the ones that were at a little over two percent per employee were in at around twenty six percent per ladder usage. Because the ones that that seemed about nine percent overall, we're using the ladder eighty seven percent of the time they were on an extension ladder and the others were on an extension ladder one point three percent of the time. So when we crunched all of those numbers and looked at all of the Metadata, we realize that, oh, wait a minute, there's a problem with individuals. Is it? Is that the protocols, or is it the practice, or is it the lack of experience? Because you may go three and a half months before you pick up a ladder, but this other person averages seven tasks a day and they're using ladder two to three times in every task. So when you look at that Metadata, that helps you hone in on what to look at closely. And when we revised the ladder safety protocols and retrained everyone and then put into place monthly qualifications where they have to show it's a handson, they have to show they know how to do it, that drastically reduced all of the ladder acts and that was one of the at one million dollar savings on work. It'Scom and then giving ownership nice. It's interesting that you mentioned good the ownership of it, but you haven't mentioned you know, usage. Right. It would be way different if I climbed on a ladder then, you know the maintenance people that work on this building. Right. I have a much greater risk of getting injured and probably would if I'm trying to because I don't know how to pick up a ladder. I know a lot more now because I just did ladder safety, you know, with my Osian class, and it's interesting because one of the things that they pointed out was that the most industry, the most injuries are with the young and inexperienced and they found the trend right. So your your more seasoned workers. You know. Well, yeah, he if it's somebody that's been in the industry for a while, they move ladders every day. They know if they pick it up from here and they move with it in this particular manner, their backs going to hurt tomorrow, you know. And and they're not twenty, which I think makes a difference. But you know, again, it's that it's the experience and the trial and error that we bring into things and the training, right. So someone that's been around for a while has had significantly more training than someone that's newer in the industry, and so I think it's interesting. You know, you have a lot of things incorporated in the programs time. So, you know, with with your company, you have that peer to peer support,...

...right. So you may have somebody that's brand new to the company or fairly new to the company that's on your safety committee and, you know, part of your safety program with someone that's been more seasoned, that's been with the company longer, maybe has worked in different areas, and they have that level of communication, which I think is so cool. You know, how do you think that's made a difference? Well, I think that's helped immensely because that really solidifies that peer to peer teamwork and that consideration of the other individual and that those mentorp it's really a mentor program but it's not worded that way and it's not presented that way. It's presented as just to work together as a dem but they will take a mentor leadership role with those folks. And and one of the Nice thing that blossoms out of that is something that we we were able to implement both places, and that's that it's not the safety classes aren't just led by safety professionals. Those team members may be the ones that are leading the safety training this month and the safety professional is standing back and letting them become the subject matter expert in that. You know, they have a two weeks to prepare, they know what they're going to say and and they know how to do it and then everybody gets involved and they lead the class. Well, that makes them more aware of it in they also gives them makes them that subject matter expert. That's me and people come to them and ask questions. And if you do that and you rotate that through everyone, then you've developed a very robust system of people taking care of each other and taking ownership for it and there's no better way to learn it than to have to teach it. So so that has helped the mets lead as well. Absolutely, absolutely. And you know, the Nice thing is, like, like you said before, with, you know, the individual, that wasn't a necessarily in safety bringing that ladder APP right. So we have a lot to learn from people that are coming into you know, in industry or a company and they may have a little bit different of a view on how things look then us that are have been doing it for a while or that I worked for a company for a long time, right. So, and and younger people, you know, they come up with some really neat stuff. You know, my my children are old enough to be out of the house, but they're not. They're not that old and they come up with some really neat things. My Future Son in law is he does tile you know, that's that's his that's what he does. That's his broad and butter, and it's interesting, you know, some of the things that I see him doing because, you know, now they video everything and put it on facebook and you know, he's taking pictures of all of his work and you know, I'll I'll throw a little comment on there. You know, to to your safety glasses and you know it. I love the idea that, you know, in a company like yours you have that peer to peer support, right, so you have the seasoned employee teaching and giving giving lessons on a specific area, but then you have the input of the fresh eyes, so to speak, and that they communicate and can learn from each other. So you know, that's that's really awesome that your company does that. Well, yeah, thank you, and that that just that's something that I think is one of the challenges with safety professionals. It's bringing the understanding of hey, look, this is the payout and this is much more valuable for your time company than just taking the class check in the box and then you've got your Osha report that says that you're trained on it. Just giving that buy in all the way up the chain. Some senior management cultures are very open to it. Others it may take a little more, it may be a little more challenging to implement some of these things, but I think the greater you get the individual involved, the safer your overall climate is. That is you know, that's a really great way to look at it. You know, and and the more we take ownership of what we do. You know, from a safety standpoint, in anything we do right, if we own what we do, we have more prident we're more likely to do it more successfully and and I really like that you make that part of your safety program so definitely Kudos to you. Wow, I've learned so much from you. I wish we had more time, but they cut us down to an hour. I could. I could talk to you all day. I could as well. You know I love your theories on Risk Assessment and and it's certainly been a pleasure. So we're going to wrap things up for today. Thank you, folks, for the Safety Management Show. Thank you, Darren, for visiting US today. Greatly appreciate you having here. Thank you for the invitation. It's been wonderful. Thank you so much, folks. Enjoy the program have a beautiful day and be safe. In need of a blueprint for workplace safety and compliance. Safety Services Company is North America's leading provider...

...of safety training and compliance solutions. We supply custom safety manuals and policies and onsite and online training solutions that will enhance the safety of your workplace, and our compliance services will save you time and resources, guaranteeing peace of mind. With eighteen years in the industry, we have a proven track record of helping customers achieve better safety outcomes by providing customized solutions that fit the unique needs of each business. To learn more, head to safety services COMPANYCOM. Thanks for listening to the Safety Management Show. To hear more stories from safety leaders, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you enjoyed the show, leave us a rating. Until next time, stay safe.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (15)