Thursday, 25 October 2012

How to Create a Successful Safety Culture !!!

Many companies are frustrated by such nagging health and safety issues as the failure of workers to consistently perform start of shift equipment inspections, wear personal protection equipment, or to report near misses.
Through training, vigilant supervision and the threat of punishment, workers typically become compliant in following procedures, but a more challenging issue is how to engage and motivate employees to move beyond minimum compliance to become relentless champions of hazard reporting, concerned mentors to peers, and valued problem solvers for the organization at large. One way to address these motivational issues is through the development of a safety culture.

An organization’s safety culture is often described in terms of its approach to safety and suggest, embodying "the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and values that employees share in relation to safety.” There is a body of agreement that a safety culture is required, but often it seems to be based on values and beliefs, or on end results such as injury reduction targets. The missing ingredient is how to best fulfill those values and achieve targeted reductions.

“Most definitions of culture are values-based and, while this is an excellent starting point, such definitions do not make clear how to make it happen.

We define culture this way: Patterns of behavior (what we say and do), encouraged or discouraged, inadvertently or intentionally, by people or systems over time.”

 Dr. Aubrey C. Daniels and Dr. Judy Agnew expand upon their definition in their belief that:

  • Culture is revealed through behavior. Having noble aspirations and stated values can be a useful starting point, but it ultimately comes down to walking the talk. What do the behaviors of your employees tell you about your safety culture?

  • Behavior shapes culture. Daniels and Agnew believe that culture is an expressed through behaviors, and that as proponents of behavior based safety, they conclude that such behaviors are influenced by consequences. Behaviors can be encouraged or discouraged. Care must be taken to promote the behaviors that will best embody a positive safety culture.

  • Behavior is reinforced both intentionally and inadvertently. Daniels and Agnew observe that in the complexity of operations, the wrong message can easily be sent. Cumbersome accident or near miss reporting requirements can discourage reporting, for example, or over-emphasis on production can inadvertently result in praise of employees who cut corners in order to boost output.

  • Behavior is influenced by people and systems. The authors caution that behavior can be shaped by a myriad of systems and people over time. Such systems may include training, equipment, procedures, communication processes, hiring and promotion practices, staffing levels, relations with suppliers and contractors, etc. All must be considered with respect to how they influence worker behavior either in a negative or positive way.

  • Daniels and Agnew go on to outline what they feel to be the characteristics of a strong safety culture. Some of those characteristics include:

  • The embodiment of safety into all aspects of work life, rather than as a standalone topic. Do your meetings treat safety as one merely one isolated segment of the agenda, or is it considered in every agenda item?
  • A “relentless” pursuit of hazards, both in regard to their identification as well as to their remediation.
  • A sense of pride not just in achieving safety goals, but in the daily process that makes achievement possible.
  • Emphasis on correcting safety system failures rather than blaming workers for near misses or accidents.
  • Elimination of excessive paperwork, computer data entry or other barriers to reporting accidents and near misses.
  • A comfort level among employees at all levels in stopping each other when at-risk behavior is observed as well as in acknowledging when safe behavior is identified.
  • Open, honest conversations about safety successes and failures, and what still needs to change.

  • In order to facilitate cultural change, Daniels and Agnew present a “Working Backwards” model that starts with identifying target employee behavior on the front line, and then working back to consider what supporting behaviors by supervisors, managers and executives best promote those front line behaviors.

    Workers in a positive safety culture will exhibit such behaviors as following procedures, encouraging peers to act safely, performing pre-job reviews, reporting all hazards, and providing feedback to supervisors and peers.

    Supervisors support workers by mindfully reinforcing worker behaviors, proactively addressing hazards, holding safety meetings, performing safety audits, and providing feedback to others.

    Managers in turn support supervisors by establishing a positive safety accountability for supervisors, starting each meeting with safety, remediating hazards as soon as possible, and prioritizing safety resources.

    Top executives bolster the efforts of their direct reports by incorporating safety into the fabric of the decision making process, creating positive accountability for managers with respect to safety, creating realistic budgets to support safety initiatives, and consistently communicating safety expectations.

    Daniels and Agnew believe that companies can have a much better record than simply minimum compliance with safety rules. If participants at each organizational level behave in a supportive fashion, then employees will increasingly become engaged in consistently performing the behaviors that will result in the emergence a positive safety culture and an enduringly safer workplace.

    Friday, 19 October 2012

    Tips do's and don'ts for a safe Deepavali

    Following are some tips, the do's and don'ts, for a safe Deepavali from

    The Do's:

    ·   Before bursting fire crackers look for an open space and ensure there are no combustible and inflammatory things around. If so remove them at once
    ·        Always buy fireworks from licensed and reliable sellers
    ·        Keep small children away from the bursting area
    ·        Use a sparkler, agarbatti (incense stick) or a long fire wood to light a cracker as they keep you at a safe distance and do not possess a naked flame
    ·        Read the label on the crackers and follow the instructions carefully
    ·   While igniting aerial fire works like rockets ensure that they are not facing any opening like an open window, door or an open building which may cause fire accidents
    ·        Keep fireworks stock away while lighting a particular firework
    ·        Wear footwear while lighting fireworks
    ·        Keep a bucket full of water handy
    ·        Be prepared for emergency
    ·        Organize a community display of fireworks rather than individuals handling crackers
    ·    Keep first aid and buckets of water handy. In the event of fire, extinguish flame by pouring water from the buckets. Every major fire is small when it starts
    ·    Light only one firework at a time, by one person. Others should watch from a safe distance
    ·        In case of burns, pour large quantity of water on the affected area
    ·        In case of major burns, after extinguishing the fire, remove all smouldering clothes. Wrap the victim in a clean bed sheet
    ·        The patient should be taken to a burns specialist or a major hospital. Don’t panic
    ·        In case of eye burns, wash the eye with tap water for 10 minutes and take the victim to a hospital


    The Don'ts:

    ·        Do not wear nylon clothes. Prefer cottons while bursting crackers
    ·    Strictly avoid using matches and lighters for bursting crackers as they have open flames that can be dangerous
    ·  Never ignite aerial fireworks (like rockets) if there is any overhead obstruction present like trees and wires
    ·        Never ever leave a lit match, agarbatti (incense stick) or sparkler near unused crackers
    ·        Never experiment with crackers or make your own fire works
    ·        Avoid bursting fire works on roads
    ·        Never ever light a cracker in your hand. See to it that you put it down and ignite it
    ·        Don't keep your face close to the cracker while trying to light it
    ·        Do not throw fireworks at people
    ·        Never give any firework item to small children
    ·        Never try to burst crackers indoors or from inside a vehicle
    ·        Do not have fireworks in your pocket while igniting another
    ·        Do not tend to burst crackers when someone else is trying to ignite one
    ·        When crackers take time or do not ignite immediately, do not indulge in trying to burst them. Rush to a safe place immediately. Throw some water to diffuse them
    ·        Never try to light used fireworks
    ·        Do not ignite fireworks in any container
    ·        Do not approach immediately the misfired fireworks
    ·        Do not tamper with misfired fireworks
    ·        Do not wear loose, hanging clothes. Secure all clothes properly
    ·         Do not apply any cream or ointment or oil on burnt area