Xi Safety Inc today looks at the Canadian Utility Safety Designation presently being offered in Canada.
Certified Utility Safety Professional – The Defining Benchmark
If you have dedicated your career to providing safety and operations leadership in the utility industry, now is the time to enhance your professional status with the CUSP certification. Join a distinguished group of hundreds of individuals who have demonstrated their job safety knowledge.
The Certified Utility Safety Professional certification program is the only program that offers safety credentials to utilities, related contractors and communication providers. It is designed to provide a career path and individual growth for employees and increased value for employers.
In partnership, employers and employees promote a culture where safe utility work practices are the standard.
There are two designation that can be attained and are as follow
For more information you can follow this link over to the good folks at CUSP
If the world were full of rational people who make rational decisions based on complete and accurate information, would the likelihood and severity of workplace incidents be increased, or would it decrease? In the real world, we know that each person has a different set of intellectual gifts and tendencies, not all people make rational choices, and we often have to make decisions based only on partial information. Here in the real world, we often find ourselves asking why a person would take the course of action they did. If they only had more information or were more aware of the hazard, they might not have made the choices they made that resulted in a tragedy. Congratulations, you have just discovered the 20/20 Hindsight Bias!
– Nicholson of “The Australian” newspaper: www.nicholsoncartoons.com.au
Consider the following problem: you observe that your company is not in compliance with “Regulation X”, the minimum standard set out by law in your jurisdiction. In order for the situation to be addressed properly, Management will have to allocate resources to equipment design, training, PPE, or administration. Depending on the management in your organization, the person pulling the purse strings may prefer to ignore the problem. Usually you will encounter one of the Top 3 Excuses for not working safely: Time, Lazy, Cost. Implementation always involves a resource allocation of time, effort and budget. If people can find a reason not to believe it, then there is no effort required to address the issue. Here are some examples of limiting beliefs HSE professionals run into out in the field:
1. The Gambler’s Fallacy – An industry Veteran will try to put your idea of regulatory compliance into his own 37 years of experience by stating “I’ve been doing it this way for 37 years and haven’t gotten hurt”. This is a glitch in human thinking related to how we weight events in the past and come to erroneous conclusions about the future. It is akin to believing that a VLT machine is “due” for a payout because you’ve already sunk $1500 into it. The perfect example is a coin toss. If we flip a coin 5 times and get heads on every flip, it would be easy to think that the 6th toss will be Tails. In reality though, it’s still 50/50.
2. Reduction to Absurdity – While this is more of a rhetorical device than it is a type of bias, it is still rooted in bias. Opponents will take your idea for complying with Regulation X beyond its most logical extreme and then turn it into a Straw Man that is easily demolished. “If we put a guard on that machine, we’ll have to put a guard on this machine. Maybe we should all wear faceshields, and while we’re at it, cover ourselves in bubble wrap, too. You see how stupid this is, see what you’re saying here?
3. Projection Bias – A worker sustains an injury in the workplace, and people are more than willing to point out “He chose to do A, when he should have done B”. When you hear people using the word “should” with respect to a workplace incident, they are imparting a value judgement based on their own set of experiences. The Projection Bias is the false assumption that other people think just like us, and that we, in the same set of circumstances, would have responded differently. Most often, the Projection Bias show up when individuals make an appeal to “Common Sense”.
4. Observation Selection Bias – The Observation Selection Bias occurs when an event has an effect on your perceptual filter that causes you to notice something more than you did previously. For example a pregnant woman will notice more pregnant women around her. Or the guy who bought a lime green Jeep suddenly notices more lime green Jeeps on the highway. Most people don’t notice this as a bias. Nothing has changed. This bias isn’t always a bad thing. Just be aware that when you talk about a topic in the work place (ladder use), individuals will start reporting hazards related to ladder use.
5. 20/20 Hindsight Bias – After an incident occurs, it’s usually very obvious what a person could have done differently to prevent the incident from occurring. But just because the course of action is obvious after the fact, it does not follow that it was obvious at the time for the person who made that decision. It’s the tendency to see events that have already occurred as being more predictable than before they took place. You’ll see the 20/20 Hindsight bias when people say “I told that guy not to do that, I knew it all along, it was inevitable”.
6. Conservatism (Bayesian) – Thomas Bayes is one of those historical figures who deserves more credit that he has received. His simple concept states that when we receive new information, the rational person should always be updating their prior assumptions and beliefs in light of the new information. So let’s say an industry workplace fatality occurs, and a safety alert is issued, and the root cause was related to the worker wearing loose clothing while using a grinder. If we fail to examine grinder use in our own workplace and take measures to prevent a similar incident, then we have not updated our prior assumptions about the probability of it occurring at our own company. The consequence of a conservatism bias may show up within the law courts as “negligence”.
7. The Curse of Knowledge – The Curse of Knowledge will cause experienced workers to falsely conclude that the next generation of workers just doesn’t get it and any training efforts are not worth their investment. The result is that the workplace loses out on the transmission of knowledge from experienced workers to the younger generation. In every work place, more experienced workers will lament the younger generation’s lack of skills or ability to learn on the job. These experienced workers may have simply forgotten that one day, they were a neophyte tradesman, too. Instead of going back in time and remembering their first day on the job, the more experienced workers will blame some outside force such as video games, divorce, the school system. It’s easier to do that than it is to empathize with the new worker and remember the days when you didn’t know the difference between a crescent wrench and a pipe wrench.
8. The Money Illusion – This is the tendency of people to think in terms of the nominal value, rather than the real purchasing power of money. You’ll see this at work when old timers tell stories like “I remember back in 1982, I was earning 8 bucks an hour as a Roughneck. I worked 8 weeks straight in the bush, went to the truck dealership in Wetaskiwin and bought myself a new Chevy, fully loaded. Paid cash.”. However, when you look at the facts, $8 an hour in 1982 is only $18.87 in 2014 dollars. See it for yourself at the Bank of Canada. In reality, Roughnecks on the Drilling Rigs are earning $30.70 as a *minimum* wage, according to the CAODC. Furthermore, new vehicles today have more bells and whistles, they get better mileage, and have more safety features. Then there’s televisions. The 80 inch plasma television of today simply didn’t exist in 1982, along with a whole host of technology that just gets cheaper by the day. The reality is that a roughneck working today has a far higher standard of living than the roughneck of 1982. When these stories are told in the workplace about how good it was in the old days, it leads the younger workforce to conclude that it’s time to find another industry.
9. Pro-Innovation Bias – Be careful of this one the next time you go see the vendors at the safety conference. You go to a safety conference and find the “Hot-Damn Widget”, it’s called that because it works like a hot-damn. It’s the silver bullet to a significant workplace hazard. They even have Vince from the Slap-Chop commercials, so you know it’s going to be good. Imbued with this new sense of enthusiasm, you buy a dozen Hot-Damn Widgets. You deploy them in the workplace and the result is a total failure. The pro-innovation bias can lead us to conclude that the newer product is indeed better than the old one. The best way to mitigate this bias is through research, case studies and customer references (not testimonials).
10. Status Quo Bias – We’ve all heard the cliche’s: Change is inevitable, The only constant is change, Change for the sake of Change. This is the flip side to the pro-innovation bias: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Let’s say you’re on a drilling rig and you have some ideas around how to mitigate hand injuries. Management is opposed to the idea based on the limiting belief that when you combine heavy iron and people, someone will always get hurt. However, if we simply chose to believe otherwise and looked at the drilling rig in terms of what we would have to do to limit or eliminate worker exposure to hand injuries, we would have to think about it, make modifications to equipment, buy new equipment, change job procedures. All that takes up resources (again, Time, Lazy Cost). Instead, we tell workers to “be more careful” or “don’t put your hands where you wouldn’t put your johnson” in the hopes that this will drive down incident rates, result in lower WCB claims costs and somehow impact our TRIF.
Before Day’s End; this tremendous safety documentary has a personal connection to some of us at Xi Safety Inc and one of the injured workers.
TORONTO, Aug. 20, 2012 /CNW/ – 25,000 accidents are reported each year in the construction industry. Many of these are life-changing or even life-taking events. Before Day’s End, a new documentary film commissioned by CLAC, provides deeply emotional first-hand accounts from victims and family members, chronicling the details of five separate accidents and their devastating aftermath.
“I never had a meaningful conversation with him after that day,” says a father whose son was pinned and suffocated by a malfunctioning lift, leading to a coma, and eventually, death. “There was a point in time where I guess my prayers might have turned from ‘Let’s get him back’ to ‘Let’s let him go.’
“I can’t take that day back, I cannot reverse time”, says a young man who was seriously injured on a job site.
As the film progresses, its message becomes clear: There is much in our lives and our work that we take for granted. This poignant documentary helps its viewers become conscious not only of daily blessings, but of the importance of following safety precautions and of exercising care when working.
CLAC is an independent Canadian labour union representing over 50,000 workers in a wide range of sectors―construction, health care, service, transportation, manufacturing, and others. Based on principles that promote the values of respect, dignity, fairness, and integrity, CLAC’s approach to labour relations stresses membership advocacy, cooperation, and the long term interests of the workplace community. CLAC Training is committed to supporting the overall health and safety of our members by providing courses that are in high demand in Canada’s rapidly changing workplace.
Video with caption: “New film “Before Day’s End” explores job site accidents”. Video available at:
Recently I had the opportunity to give a totally unrehearsed elevator speech to a inquisitive person while riding up to see another client. He saw a brochure that I was carrying and it piqued his interest. The conversation went like this…….”So, what does the Xi stand for in Xi Safety?” Without an ‘er’ or an ‘ah’ I immediately launched into my hook, replying, ” I help people and companies make the right choice when they arrive at a crossroad.” And then I stopped talking. After I delivered my hook it’s important to simply be quiet. You need to give the listener time to contemplate what you just said, get inquisitive, and want to know more. When they ask, “what do you mean,” they’ve invested in the conversation giving you permission to give them more details. Without the silence the hook won’t work.
REEL THEM IN
Once his interest was shown, I didn’t jump on him with some boring sales pitch. I eased into the next part of the Elevator Speech with what I like to call the reel. I began to tell him how we do what Xi does, but didnt give away the movie. No good mystery movie starts out with, “the butler did it.” The movie keeps you in suspense until you’re dying to know. You want to do this too. A hook/reel combination like this will normally lead to the question, “what do you mean.” Now you’ve earned the right to give them details.
I went into slightly more detail regarding his query, “what does the Xi stand for in Xi Safety?” I was able to quickly describe that the “I” represents a person or a corporate entity and that the “X” represents a crossroad where both arrive at. Their decision, whether as managers who represent the Incorporate Entity or the Individual Worker will determine the safety culture of the company depending on what road they take. At Xi Safety, we help them make the correct path choice.
It turned out he was a project director for a midsized alternative energy company and asked for a card exchange, the brochure and stated he wanted to discuss what I had just elaborated on with his project team. I will follow up next week.
SERVE YOUR PROSPECT, DON’T SELL THEM
If YOU’VE DEVELOPED a good hook and reel you should now have them securely in a conversation. However, ALWAYS the mindset of “how can I serve you,” not “what can I sell you.” Remain focused on your listener’s needs, not on your needs. The more you give, the more you’ll receive.
Warning: These three things are so simple, I risk being scoffed at. However, workplace safety is impossible without them.
I’ve been working for a contractor on a fairly large oil sands producer’s construction project in Northern Alberta, and each week, every site HSE representative attends a large meeting. Various initiatives are discussed, and at the end of the meeting, each contractor who had an incident is expected to get up in front of the audience to share any incident related learning opportunities.
In about 8/10 of these workplace incidents, the injured person or parties involved are sent for post-incident Alcohol & Drug testing. In many cases, these workers were not under the influence.
It certainly seems that most workers who were involved in these incidents were stone cold sober, so what other physiological factors could be at play here?
Good old fashioned H2o could be the secret weapon for improving workplace safety. Recent research from the UK makes a great case:
“A Loughborough University study has revealed that even mild dehydration is equivalent to being over the drink driving limit in terms of driver errors.
Researchers at Loughborough University carried out a range of tests over two days on male drivers, using a laboratory-based driving simulator. During the normal test there were 47 driving incidents, but when the men were dehydrated that number more than doubled to 101 – a similar number to what might be expected of someone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These included lane drifting, late braking and touching or crossing the rumble strip or lane line.”
Did you read that? When drivers were dehydrated, their rate of error more than doubled. The secret could be in “pee avoidance”. Drivers will consciously limit their liquid intake to avoid washroom breaks. This makes sense, if one is trying to save time on a long journey. In the workplace, it may seem rational for workers to limit their liquid intake if a trip to the washroom involves climbing down several flights of scaffolding, getting out of a fall protection harness and walking a few hundred metres to a portable toilet.
However, It could be that the feeling of bladder fullness makes an individual more aware of their body, and hence more aware of what’s going on around them.
2. Chewing Gum
The research on chewing gum suggests that it can help increase a person’s alertness by stimulating blood flow to the brain. Also, the act of chewing tricks the brain into an expectancy mode, where it anticipates the reward of a meal. Not all the research is conclusive, but it is pointing this way: chewing gum makes you more alert and increases reaction time, which could help you avoid a near miss or incident. One study found the following:
Chewing gum was associated with greater alertness and a more positive mood. Reaction times were quicker in the gum condition, and this effect became bigger as the task became more difficult. Chewing gum also improved selective and sustained attention. Heart rate and cortisol levels were higher when chewing which confirms the alerting effect of chewing gum.
Chewing gum moderates something called the “vigilance decrement“, which is a person’s ability to pay attention to their surroundings over time. One theory is that chewing gum increases blood flow to the brain, thereby boosting alertness.
3. Blood Glucose Management
One presentation at the Banff Petroleum Safety Conference started me down a side trail related to the role of glucose and human error.
On slide 37, the role of blood glucose and its impact on willpower. Willpower is tied to vigilance and self-regulation, or a persons ability to be mindful. When the brain is engaged in a task, it depletes glucose, and willpower is diminished. When willpower is diminished, we start to hear post-incident statements like “I forgot to tie off” or “I was in a rush” or “I wasn’t paying attention”.
So, in addition to hydration, it makes sense to look at a person’s glucose levels. This is why it’s important to get a picture of what a person ate or drank prior to an incident.
Recently, researchers carried out a study on hydration and blood glucose at several ski resorts in BC, where they implemented an awareness campaign focused on nutrition, hydration and stretching. The confidence interval is a little wide, but it does suggest the campaign had a measurable impact.
“Given that blood glucose (BG) and hydration levels have been shown to affect vigilance, this study proposed to investigate these parameters and functional movement patterns of ski-resort workers and to determine whether an educational program to stabilize BG and hydration and encourage joint stability had an effect in decreasing occupational injuries.
Medical Aid and Lost Time claims declined significantly by % (confidence interval −90.0% %) in resorts that used the educational program whereas four control resorts not using the program experienced increases of % (confidence interval −19.7% %; F[2,12] = 21.35, ) over the same season. Conclusion. Provision of snowsport resort workers with educational programs encouraging hydration, diet to stabilize BG, and functional-movement awareness was effective in reducing worksite injuries in this population.
So what does this mean for the safety professional who is trying to reduce the rate of incidents in their workplace? Some lessons include:
1. Include Nutrition in your Root Cause Analysis. I used to think safety practitioners were crazy for asking people what they ate the day before an incident, but not any more. No amount of PPE, procedures or engineering will prevent human errors if a person is not well rested, well fed and adequately hydrated.
2. Promote Hydration at Work. Quite often, companies will bring in an outside consultant to implement a Behavioral Based Observation program, and they will spend dearly to implement and sustain it. Invariably, incident rates go down for a while. Part of this could be due to the placebo effect: the fact that the company leadership is promoting a program is what gets people engaged. The fact that leadership is doing their job and employees are part of something is what causes incident rates to drop. In order to rule out the placebo effect, a company should first implement a hydration campaign. Hydration would be especially important for office workers. Going for a washroom break every hour is a good micro-break from ergonomic stressors associated with sitting at a desk all day.
3. Pass the Chewing Gum. Xylitol, the active ingredient in Trident, supposedly helps prevent tooth decay. I’ve seen my share of co-workers suffer through a 20 day shift at a remote work site with a tooth decay issue. Tooth decay could be enough of a distraction to contribute to a workplace incident, especially if individuals self-manage using pain killers. In addition to reduced human suffering, the Return On Investment into xylitol chewing gum is likely high, assuming gum does increase vigilance and alertness. I’m surprised employers don’t subsidize chewing gum or give it away as part of a person’s regular PPE.
4. Re-think Post-Incident Drug & Alcohol Testing.
In Alberta, Employers are allowed to request a worker to submit to Drug & Alcohol testing after an incident where the individual’s acts or omissions directly contributed to the incident (which covers just about 95% of incidents). If post-incident testing also included blood glucose levels and level of dehydration, the story might get more interesting.
Recently, Altalink’s Heartland Transmission Project reached a successful completion, on time, under budget and with superior safety performance.
The project involved the construction of a high voltage line connecting the Heartland Region northeast of Edmonton to existing infrastructure in South Edmonton.
But the project didn’t start out this way. Heartland kicked off with a series of incidents that led Altalink to reach out to us. We were able to send a trusted HSE Worksite Representative to diagnose the sources of Altalink’s concerns.
Over a period of three months, Xi Safety was present on the project to collect baseline observational data of the underlying issues, and we worked with Management to craft a Corrective Action Road Map to get the project back on track. Altalink management was responsive to our feedback and implemented many of our recommendations.
We want congratulate Altalink on the successful completion of this project, and thank the project management team for their proactive approach, foresight and demonstrated commitment to Safety.
If your project is kicking off on the wrong trajectory, or if you want to know how you can get safety back on track, give us a call. Let us know the answer to this one simple question:
I recently heard through the grapevine of another oil and gas fatality where something fell out of a land based drilling rig, striking the worker, who died. I can’t find anything in the news here in Alberta, so I assume it must have been in another jurisdiction.
Recently, we received a phone call from a colleague who works for another safety company here in Alberta. Our colleague stated that a contractor was looking to implement a Dropped Object Prevention Scheme (DROPs) on a few rigs in Alberta. The contractor seemed to think that it would be possible to create another form to meet their due diligence requirements. It’s not that simple, and in this post, I’ll try to show you the basics for implementing a DROPs program for your company.
In case you’re wondering, DROPs is a global initiative in the offshore oil and gas industry, where major owning companies and drilling contractors share best practices to mitigate dropped objects. In the offshore oil and gas industry, dropped objects are responsible for 25% of all injuries and fatalities, so it makes sense to attack these hazards. Each company varies in their approach to dropped object prevention, but it typically consists of the following:
1. A list of overhead hazards, their exposure to vibration and corrosion, and some means to assess risk.
2. An inspection regime to inspect items at a frequency shorter than their expected failure rate.
3. Control measures to limit worker exposure to working at heights and overhead hazards.
4. Permitting systems for non routine work at heights.
5. The use of tethered tools and training to improve their utilization.
6. Procedures and protocols to eliminate potential targets, such as workers on the rig floor while overhead work is underway.
The DROPs consciousness is ingrained in offshore drilling rigs, but it hasn’t seen wide adoption on land rigs, especially here in Alberta. It begins with the industry training available through ENFORM as Fall Protection for Rig Work. I’ve taken this course, and it’s a great course, but the focus is on preventing people from falling. There is little attention paid to the use of tools overhead.
This industry training gap manifests in the workplace whenever we send workers with tools up the derrick to do some work. We will ask if the new worker has a valid Fall Protection for Rig Work certificate, then send him up on the Manrider winch with a grease gun and 12 lb sledgehammer to tighten the hammer union on the goose neck swivel. The worker has training on how to prevent himself from falling, but nothing around how to use tools at heights to prevent dropped objects.
1. Setting Up a DROPs System
If you want to set up a DROPs regime for a land based drilling rig, everything starts with a DROPs policy. Does your company have a policy that governs the inspection of overhead hazards, worker training and job procedures? Once your policy has been vetted and approved by management, it gains some teeth and you can start implementing an inspection regime.
2. Examine the Rig Lifecycle
A drilling rig has a lifecycle for each hole that encompasses rig up, pinning the derrick to the A-Legs, raising the derrick, spudding the well, driling surface hole, drilling intermediate hole, tripping in/out, drilling the horizontal section, jarring, fishing, laying down pipe and rig out, to name a few. Each of these operations come with their own hazards. You want to look at the rig lifecycle to understand when you should be able to perform inspections of overhead hazards. For example, it might make sense to inspect your overhead self retracting life lines when the derrick is laid over, depending on your rig. Your inspection regime should mirror your operations, something like the following:
A. Pre-raise Derrick Inspection Checklist (Focus on lifting and rigging equipment)
B. Pre-spud Checklist (Fall arrest systems)
C. Post-surface hole inspection (Overhead pins)
D. Post jarring/fishing inspection (Top drive – mechanical)
E. Crown Service, Slip & Cut mega joule records (Wire line records, weekly crown service “top down” inspection)
F. Rig Move (BOP slings, bridle lines, crown sheaves)
3. Examine Worker Exposure to Overhead Hazards
Every drilling rig has hundreds of overhead items that should be identified, catalogued, photographed and assessed for their Dropped Object Consequence. The Dropped Object Consequence Calculator is based on simple physics. It takes the height of the object, plus its weight, and classifies the consequence in terms of risk, whether that’s First Aid, Medical Aid, Days away from Work or Fatality.
How do you do this? First, you start with an inventory of all overhead items such as derrick pins, tong sheaves, turnbuckles, light fixtures, third party antennas, hand rails, and so on. You should come up with a list of at least 40 items on a large triple. Once you have gathered these items, you’ll need to estimate their height and weight to come up with a risk profile of each item. If you want to get really fancy with yor risk analysis, you can consider the exposure to vibration effects, and the amount of time workers spend under them. If your HSE Department really wants to drill down into the data, you can plop the info into a spreadsheet to begin assigning quantities to these risks. Here’s a screenshot from my spreadsheet:
This step might seem like overkill, but it does reveal some counter-intuitive results. Specifically, this spreadsheet exercise revealed that a 500 ml water bottle in the monkey boards was one of the most significant overhead hazards. (If you go back to the DROPs calculator, you’ll see that a 1-2 pound object 90 feet up will put you in the red).
4. Overhead Tools and Training
We are going to send the Motorman up the Manrider Winch with a 12 lb sledgehammer to tighten some hammer unions on the goose neck swivel. Some rigs will lockout the brake handle and clear the rig floor of all personnel in case the sledgehammer drops. Establishing a “Red Zone” like this is a good first step, but what are some other things to consider? How about: is the sledgehammer a tethered sledge, is the tether long enough, is it strong enough, and what is it anchored to? Second, how do we document that the Sledgehammer was signed out and returned, and not left somewhere overhead, such as on top of the top drive?
Every rig should have a DROPs toolkit of tools specifically engineered to have an anchor point for a tether. But not all rigs are equipped with such a kit. You can establish these kits by asking your rig crews which tools they use the most. Alternately, you can contact a reputable vendor to find out what other companies are using in their tethered tool kits.
5. Making the DROPs System Work
A DROPs safety management program will have several key components to make it work, and everything starts with Policy.
a. POLICY – A policy that outlines Management’s commitment to minimizing worker exposure to overhead hazards and dropped object prevention. The policy should be signed by the owner and displayed in the workplace.
b. INSPECTION – Considering the lifecycle of a rig as it drills a well, what are the most opportune times to inspect each item? A series of 3 year, 1 year, per well, monthly, weekly and daily checks, and who is responsible for them, will ensure that overhead hazards are being mitigated.
c. EQUIPMENT AND TRAINING – Preventing tools overhead from falling requires proper training. Workers should know how to use tools overhead, understand primary and secondary means of securement, and most of all, they should understand exactly what they are looking for when inspecting an item. This can be accomplished with hands on training, a visual inspection guide and ongoing mentoring by a qualified individual.
d. ACCOUNTABILITY – All workers should read, understand and commit to the organization’s DROPs policy, which subjects them to the disciplinary procedure for non-compliance. Control measures that encourage workers to hold eachother accountable can also be implemented to make the system self-monitoring.
WHERE TO START:
Setting up a DROPs program can be a significant undertaking, but with the right guidance and training, your company doesn’t need to fumble through the process. As qualified DROPS Train The Trainers, we can do the following:
– Help create your DROPs policy
– Conduct an overhead hazards survey
– Quantify the risks involved
– Set up a rig-specific toolkit
– Train workers in the use of tools
– Set up Trainers within your organization to make the system self-sustaining
For more information, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with “DROPS” in the subject heading.
Xi Safety believes in safety at home and in the workplace. In our travels, we stumbled onto this free e-book by Fred Rine of FDR Safety called Getting to Zero. This is the Paradox of Safety: The more we push Safety, Safety, Safety at work, some people may turn the other way and rebel against the workplace mantra. As Fred states below, we may not make a difference by confining our safety efforts to the workplace domain of behaviors and habits.
“It is a fact that only 4% of fatal accidents occur on the job. 96% of accidental deaths are from vehicular accidents, or accidents at home or in the public domain. Working on 4% of a problem and expecting significant improvement might be considered a form of insanity.”
– Fred Rine, FDR Safety: Getting to Zero (pdf)
Take ladder use, for example. At home, how many of us take risks with stepladders that would not be acceptable in our workplaces? But in the workplace we will find a fall arrest harness and anchor point when working above the employer’s designated height, whether it’s 9 feet, 6 feet or even 4 feet. We do this because we “have to”. But when it comes to hanging Christmas lights at home, the percentage of people using fall arrest equipment is likely in the minority.
The “Safety Iceberg” represents the percentage of unsafe behaviors, habits and values visible in the workplace. This is because the employer typically has a lower risk preference than that of the employee. Friction arises where behaviors that were perfectly acceptable at home are suddenly forbidden in the workplace. Examples include heights for tie-off, box cutter use, cold work permits, lockouts and speed limits. Workers will generally comply with the employer’s programs for preventing accidents while the employee is in the workplace, but at home it can be another story.
Why should employers care about how their employees take risks at home? An accidental death of a worker during their off-hours creates its own iceberg of hidden costs for the employer:
1. The loss of the individual, their experience and presence.
2. The relationships they had to others and its impact on morale.
3. The cost of recruiting, retraining and mentoring another worker(s) to full competency.
4. The opportunity cost of lower production while retraining.
Employers have no control over what people do in their leisure time, but employers can have some influence by creating a safety culture that workers want to take home with them. This starts with motivating your people to work safely: most people want to return home to their loved ones in the same or better condition than when they left their front door. By tapping into worker motivations and values, your workforce can move from the “have-to” of Safety to the “want-to”.
We highly recommend this free e-book by Fred Rine, which you can download HERE.
Have any comments or questions? Drop us an email at email@example.com
Raising the standard of loss prevention
We understand what a safety management system entails and how such segments such as leadership commitment, organizational guidelines, policies and procedures along with training, emergency preparedness are just a few of those components. However, today I want to drill down a bit deeper and talk about loss prevention and how safety is one component of an overall package.
Safety is only one of the five components of an overall effective loss prevention program. Note we don’t call it a loss management program. Our job is not to simply manage loss, that’s similar to a lagging indicator, its already happened. It’s our goal to prevent the loss from occurring in the first place by ensuring proactive systems are in place and that a program moves forward through ongoing, continuous improvement and yes, that is where our SMS comes into play.
In talking with clients about their challenges they presently operate with, we hear some astonishing statements regarding the prevention of loss. For example, a pipeline contractor didn’t see the correlation between dozens of pickup trucks on the right of way with dented fenders, doors, boxes, busted lights and overall loss and reduced margins on the project. His comment was that the events were investigated, yet they still continued to have wrecks with their equipment and was basically the cost of doing business. After pointing out the fact that at the end of the job and whether the trucks went back to a lease company or to auction, somebody was going to be paying for the depreciated values of the trucks and it won’t be the leasing company. His next comment was even a little more disparaging, “well, we are self insured.” Or, ‘we budget it into the project cost estimate.” Excuse me? You are losing money. Of course this can cover a wide spectrum from injured workers, to damage to the environment, loss of materials, equipment or tools.
The bottom line is that on a hard dollar job with tight margins everyone has to control costs to remain not only competitive, but also to remain in business. Too many jobs with uncontrolled loss effects the bottom line from the onset. That $500,000.00 gross from the last project could have as many as 15-20 vehicles with a varying degree of replacement costs damage repair. We are all aware of the price of a part or the rates for shop work. Those unit repairs might be the difference to making any money on the project to actually losing money.
I’ve seen literally dozens of contractor incident investigations regarding vehicles. Yes, they failed to do the walk around if that’s the policy, they didn’t use a spotter, yes the worker received a verbal warning, if that’s the policy there’s a variety of generic factors that contributed to the event. Where I see part of the issue is in the incident report when it comes to estimated damage. Many times its simply left blank or a TBD is inserted which of course, never gets followed up. Somebody at the home office signs off on the report, somebody produces a nice pie chart or graph that outlines the events for the quarter of half year or yearly summaries, but is anyone really counting the actual cost? If they were, there should be some questions from senior management or the owner.
Many of us are familiar with the term loss prevention and many of us see it only as a function as it relates to the retail sector. We see ads for loss prevention personnel who basically are engaged in the prevention of, or arrest of shoplifters. In our businesses or sectors we work in, we utilize systems to prevent loss from occurring that can harm people that represents their health, and that our imprint on the environment we work in is eliminated and that all items are secure from theft and our systems, processes, procedures and policies provide our workers with a safe place of employment, then we have evolved into an effective loss prevention system that functions with all components in alignment and related to one another.
The fifth component depends on delivering the product that your client wants and that is quality. A quality service or product creates more opportunity for more future work. It enhances a company’s reputation and that of their workforce that in turn provides more opportunity, job pride with a company that has an inclusive safety culture that demonstrates their overall commitment to a fully integrated loss prevention system. Finally, by delivering a quality product the first time, it eliminates the need for expensive rework that reduces margins, detracts from a company’s reputation but the NUMBER ONE reason is that rework exposes your personnel to additional safety challenges by sometimes having to go into awkward or comprising situations in order to affect repairs. Yes, others can counter well that’s why we have JSAs, Hazids, FLHAs, etc so we can identify hazards and control them, but if we did the work right the first time, we wouldn’t have to be doing the process all over again. Doing it right the first time should be everyone’s target. It’s just good business sense.
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Xi Safety has a solid track record among oil and gas safety companies as well as construction and other industries in Western Canada. We offer consulting, training, staffing, and the benefit of our extensive expertise in safety and compliance.
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