• Who influenced you?
    The first company I worked with was Dow Corning Corporation in Midland, Michigan, USA. The company got its impressive management systems and safety culture from Dow Chemical Company, which had partnered with Corning Glass to create Dow Corning Corporation.

    Dow Corning (DCC) had really integrated a lot of great safety practices into all its business. Safety was EVERYONE's business. Each department held its own monthly safety meeting, which included a requirement for inspection of the department's areas (ours was made up of laboratories and offices) as well as running a meeting with a training topic included. Responsibilities for the inspection and meeting were carried out by two people at a time, and were rostered so that every single person, even every manager, took a turn at both inspection and running a meeting. We were all responsible for the safety of our workplace.

    I happened to have a particularly good manager in that department, too. He had amazing leadership skills and was able to inspire and motivate each person to bring their best to their work. He was an amazing coach who knew how to give feedback that would leave you feeling positive even if he was correcting a mistake.

    Together, this manager and a strong safety culture, along with FDA compliance requirements (think management systems disciplines) associated with this first job gave an amazing foundation for holistic safety and risk management disciplines.

    Fast forward now to the current H&S Team I am working with at T&G. Head of Health and Safety Leanne Wardle is very knowledgeable, highly experienced in safety management, very pragmatic and business-savvy, and she provides a credible presence for safety matters at the executive Risk and Governance Committee. I am particularly inspired by a comprehensive H&S strategic plan that is coherent, practical, aligned with organisational vision and strategy, and particularly for me, is underpinned by values that align with my own and are consistently displayed behaviourally by Leanne and T&G Fresh H&S Manager Brenton Harrison, with whom I am working quite closely at the moment. The entire H&S Team are driven by shared values and clarity of purpose, particularly the desire to keep people safe. The strategy and strategic plan are particularly ambitious and fast-paced, but rather than feeling pressured or stressed, I feel inspired and drawn into their vision of developing people and skills to be able to keep themselves safe - we are providing tools, support and guidance to take our people on a journey.
  • Accident Investigations - Tick & Flick?
    In one training room there was a poster that said, "The only exercise some people get is jumping to conclusions." Isn't that one of the biggest challenges of getting useful outcomes from investigations?

    Most people don't even realise that they app[ly their own biases and don't know how to ask useful questions that advance the investigation. My experience has been - including when delivering training - that most people start with an idea of what the cause is and then shape the investigation to support what they already think.

    I taught people a simple hierarchy of questions (and then got trainees to do an exercise to practice using them, giving them feedback when they went off track, which was surprisingly often!) - start with a big, very open question that invites the other person to tell a story. Then ask a probing question about a specific part of that story (which is where most people jump into assumptions and closed questions), then a closed question to confirm a fact. I used to draw a funnel to show the levels of questions wide at the top, narrowing, then "a single drop of truth" coming out at the bottom, which then leads to the next open question.

    Most people don't really get trained in how to follow an effective line of questioning for an investigation. If you start using closed questions too early in your line of questioning, you have introduced bias and limited the direction of the investigation.

    It's also quite likely that many people find investigations tedious and are only interested in arriving at a conclusion in order to close out the investigation, rather than the wider intention of preventing future events.

    I have usually found that adopting a mindset of curiosity about the event is really helpful - it becomes a task of exploring (open mind) rather than seeking (looking for proof to support what you have already decided). Usually the many "curious" questions come quite naturally from this mindset. I can recall investigating a serious harm incident (that barely missed being a fatality) using this mindset, and the whole process was rather like seeing a 3D model take shape in front of me. I went in with no assumptions, just asked a lot of questions and did a lot of listening. While it might have been easy for senior managers to blame the guy who was injured, it very quickly became clear that the site layout, lockout process and other systems did not lend themselves to good compliance with machinery isolation and confined space entry. There were also other psycho-social factors and organisational culture factors that strongly influenced behaviours and also needed to be reviewed and addressed to prevent future incidents. There were definitely many layers to that incident.

    At the moment, I am working on about 4 investigations, working closely with site personnel and coaching them through the process, rather than doing it for them. We have some great tools for investigation, but we still need to facilitate for people to ask enough of the right questions and avoid premature conclusions - instead of just trying to expedite the report to tick the box and get it off our plate, we have a really great opportunity to coach, lead and support others to learn, which then builds their knowledge and skills to lead safety efforts on the sites.
  • The Hazard Register - what is it really for?
    Our master risk register has a risk score but this is hidden when the site registers are created from the master version - for these very reasons. Sites are then provided with risk management training, which provides them with the tools and knowledge to take charge of managing risks relevant to their site and to use the site risk register for their site incident management and investigations. The H&S Team act as coaches and support site personnel to take ownership and learn (noting that there is a very fine line between empowerment and abandonment!!).
  • Smoking in a workshop.
    That's such a great approach!
  • The Hazard Register - what is it really for?
    YES!! But somehow very few safety people even really know how to go about creating a meaningful and useful risk register.

    It is so helpful to start with understanding what you want the risk register to do for you and who is the intended audience - so often that gets lost at the start, and they end up with a jumbled mess that no one can use.

    I am very fortunate to be working with a company at the moment that really gets this. They have a Master Risk Register that covers the entire organisation, and from which site risk registers are created - already that keeps everything strategically and operationally well aligned. Potential consequences are identified, but assessment of likelihood and risk score are kept in the background for the H&S Team to manage. Controls are identified in two main categories - engineering controls and administrative controls. Administrative controls list relevant SOPs, regulatory or industry standards, or elements such as training, The details are in the references listed under the controls. I have seen too many risk registers with a whole list of instructions that should rightly be in a relevant SOP or work instructions. Otherwise you end up with a document that is too complicated for workers to use and too cluttered for executives to use.

    Site managers and HSRs are trained how to use the risk registers as a tool for incident investigation, hazard identification and risk management. They are responsible for reviewing and maintaining their own site register as well as their site H&S Plan, which is also aligned / a subset of the organisation's strategic H&S Plan.

    Site risk registers and H&S Plans are accessible to all via the company's intranet.
  • ACC to retire Habit at Work
    Do you have a document?

    We're talking sales guys driving Mazdas and drivers of heavy transport vehicles.
  • Accredited Employers Programme (AEP) - ACC
    Firstly, ACC is an insurer. It helps to keep in mind that the ACC AEP framework was developed from the perspective of assessing risks related to the costs of injury claim, rather than strictly workplace safety. Its usefulness depends on what the organisation expects to get out of it.

    I have worked with a number of companies that were in the AEP programme, and while having standards and audits does provide important feedback, it does seem that the whole programme often misses the mark about genuine safety matters in the workplace while overly relying on documentation. Documents are not necessarily the evidence we assume them to be; documents should not be taken at face value. especially if the systems and processes behind them are flawed.

    For many companies, the focus is passing the audit rather than keeping people safe. It can lead to blind spots and a false sense of certainty. And unfortunately I have also come across a number of ACC auditors who also missed the point. That's why ACC eventually found that accreditation did not necessarily correlate with lower injury rates.

    If you use the ACC AEP programme as one tool amongst your H&S management / improvement tools and understand its strengths, weaknesses and biases, then it could be useful. Just make sure you understand sufficiently what the ACC framework does and does not do.
  • ACC to retire Habit at Work
    Has anyone come across something similar for positioning the body while driving a vehicle?
  • Bright ideas to engage our... older gentlemen workers in H&S
    I have emailed you. Please feel free to contact me once you have had a chance to have a look at them - I would be happy to discuss further and answer any questions.
  • Bright ideas to engage our... older gentlemen workers in H&S
    What's your email address? You can send in a private message if you prefer. It would be easiest to email them to you.
  • Bright ideas to engage our... older gentlemen workers in H&S
    It's always a useful strategy to start by ASKING rather than TELLING people. It means the person facilitating training has to do a bit more thinking and planning to get clear about their intended outcomes, then plan to ask the kind of questions that elicit personal experiences and insights. When I used to deliver safety workshops for Fletcher Building's "The Managers' Toolkit" series, right at the beginning I would ask them to pair up and discuss what was working well. After a few minutes, I would invite them to share with the larger group, write their comments on a whiteboard, and engage them in a bit of discussion. Then we did the same thing discussing what they thought could be improved.

    With older, more experienced workers, more than any other group, the worst thing you can do is stand up and start trying to "teach" them. Instead, we can draw out and recognise their experience, adding insights and perspectives as we go. As much as anything, it's important to recognise that everyone is essentially doing the best they can with what they know. Many have been taught - either directly or indirectly - limited perspectives and unsafe practices, especially in times where their managers might have been more interested in financial gains than personal safety. In a way, if we start out by insinuating that they are "wrong", we will have lost them from the very beginning. It is much more helpful to "unpack" their experiences and aim to understand how they have arrived at their perspectives, then address those by facilitating discussions that lead them to new awareness and new possibilities. The more anyone tries to FORCE a person into a particular way of thinking or doing things, the more resistance will be created.

    Some resources I constantly refer to include the 21 presuppositions applied in NLP to influence change - essentially useful assumptions for dealing with people - happy to share if anyone wants a copy. Another is Dilt's Logical Levels, which provides a great tool for problem-solving. Again, I am happy to share if anyone wants a copy. Another is the general principles of "ask, don't tell" (you just need to learn how to ask better questions and develop better listening skills), and one from the list of presuppositions, "Always ADD choice, never take it away." - this reduces resistance to change; we just need to do our homework to identify where options are appropriate and where they are not.

    Another useful insight (essentially one of the presuppositions slightly modified) is to recognise that people are generally resistant because we are not meeting them where they are and we're trying to push too quickly, not recognising their needs for understanding and assimilating new information.
  • Risk Management Training
    A lot depends on what you aim to get out of the course. When I worked for a previous employer, we ran a programme on risk management, rather than a course. What I mean by that was that we ran a half-fay workshop for managers to understand the concepts of risk, risk management, and the ISO standard for risk management at a high level, to give them enough understanding of both positive and negative risk and to get their support for operational personnel. People who would be carrying out workplace risk assessments attended a much more comprehensive and practical full day risk management workshop where we went much more deeply into HOW to conduct risk assessments. Then people were paired or teamed up and tasked to go and complete a workplace risk assessment, which they then brought back to another workshop (which I think was half a day) to go through their risk assessments, discuss, give / get feedback, etc so once we finished the full programme, everyone should have been clear about how to carry out risk assessments and confident about doing it.

    My employer brought in a trainer to do this training, but the consultant contracted to do this delivery was not actually sufficiently conversant with either the concepts of risk management nor adult learning, so I had to work with the company to fill in the gaps. A lot of people (including many who really should know better) are familiar with the concepts of hazards but tend to treat risk management as the same when it is not.

    Our approach of delivering a programme rather than a one-off training recognises the importance of ensuring that the people who are required to conduct risk assessments have appropriate management support, and that they have the opportunity to apply what they learn and get feedback so they finish up having verified for themselves, their colleagues and their managers that they are competent.
  • Docu-Dramas
    I agree - I watched the programme over the weekend, and it was clear from both the director / producer statements and the content itself that it was not the full story, and any storyteller will always have a particular perspective to present. But it's an interesting example of some of the challenges we face when trying to understand and manager risk.
  • HS Reps - Allowance / Payment for services
    It could work for the HSRs to have specific measurable goals - individual and team goals, aligned to the organisation's overall H&S goals, with some sort of celebration activity such as a meal or morning tea, with an accompanying programme for the CEO to recognise individual and team achievements.

    As an aside note, the leadership training I've had noted that the most effective recognition is personal and specific, delivered from the person's direct manager, and generally emphasises appreciation for specific work done. So if the manager can personally, specifically and authentically THANK individuals and recognise their contribution in a meaningful way, that should have the most powerfully positive effect. And interestingly, that would also cost the least!!
  • Laying charges against officers: a useful strategy?
    Boards and senior managers definitely need to learn more about what actually constitutes "due diligence" and how to go about effectively conducting a sound due diligence review. There doesn't seem to be a lot of useful resources nor people who genuinely understand and know how to go about it (a great opportunity for you, perhaps?).

    It seems there is the interesting conundrum about how we don't know what we don't know, and opportunistic consultants (including lawyers) will happily take an organisation's money and offer assurances yet how does an organisation know how to select advisors on such subjects when they know so little about it themselves, especially if presented with a slick sales pitch? :chin:
  • HS Reps - Allowance / Payment for services
    As adults in pursuit of 'mature' approaches to safety management systems, isn't there a potential hypocrisy of using 'rewards' to gain engagement - essentially offering bribes as extrinsic motivators - as compared with developing workplace culture that people WANT to be part of, and offering the opportunity to participate in something meaningful, worthwhile, that gives them something back in terms of their own personal and professional development? Wouldn't organisations be more likely to attract the right people if the motivation was intrinsic and came from resonance with what the organisation is trying to achieve for workplace safety?