Leading indicators are metrics that track preventative safety activities BEFORE an accident occurs. A proven approach to reduce injuries is to choose leading indicators to drive increased safety performance and engagement, instead of relying solely on corrective actions after accidents. Each day this week we will cover a different leading indicator and its importance.
Peer to Peer Recognition
Most everyone is grateful for receiving recognition from his or her manager for a doing a good job. However, recognition from a fellow team member carries with it an increased level of pride and validation that he or she is doing a good job. It is part of a manager’s job to maintain morale and support positive accomplishments through recognition; therefore, receiving recognition from our peers seems a little extra special. Peer to peer recognition can be for a job well done, to motivate each other through a tough task, or to give random positive feedback to a helpful colleague.
Look at the core values of our company: Safety, Excellence, and Respect. Recognizing Excellence is directly tied to Respect. There are multiple ways that recognition can take place among colleagues. If the company has a formal program such as a nomination form, use it. They often don’t take but a couple minutes and the value of those two minutes is well spent considering how it makes the nominated person feel. It can also be simple such as a verbal “Thank you” or high-five in the lunchroom. There are multiple benefits to weaving peer to peer recognition into your safety culture:
• Makes the team stronger and helps set a positive attitude – reduces frustration
• Boosts working relationships – having a good relationship with coworkers improves productivity and morale
• Improves confidence and self-esteem – helps motivate for better performance and willingness to help
High performing teams almost always have a built-in understanding that respect is demonstrated through recognition. It’s important that the recognition be genuine and not done out of obligation. It shouldn’t be forced but rather reinforced by taking a moment to say “Good job!” to those who recognize others. It can be contagious and lead to a fulfilling and enjoyable work experience. Social Scientists have found that the fastest way to feel happiness is to practice gratitude. What are you thankful for today? Thank the person who makes your day just a little bit easier and it will only continue to get better.
It’s pretty common to realize that a team can accomplish more than an individual. It’s been proven that having Safety Action Teams plays an important role for completing activities such as hazard audits, housekeeping inspections, chemical management, PPE reviews, and JSA documentation. Team participation not only improves safety awareness for the team members but helps create a safer workplace for everyone.
The reason there is so much emphasis on Team activities is that it allows us to help create and build the workplace we want to work in. The intention is to move beyond the Safety Committee that traditionally is comprised of management and to shift the expertise to the front lines. The more eyes and ears helping to manage a safety system, the easier injury prevention becomes. Other benefits of team-based safety include growth and development opportunities for employees. Skill sets such as problem solving, research, and root cause analysis are commonly used to determine the best solutions for problems they may encounter. Employees are encouraged to be creative and empowered to make change on their own.
Cross functional teams create a unique team dynamic in that people get to meet and work together on something with others who they may not otherwise meet or see on a daily basis. The successes that Team-based safety have had are well documented and it’s for that reason that EnPro encourages its employees to get involved and take pride in helping create a safer workplace by being on a team. They can be fun, challenging and most of all rewarding. At the end of the day, you can say “I helped create that!” or “We improved the safety of that job!”
Safety training provides us with knowledge about the many aspects of workplace hazards. Training adds value to the work force by providing information and knowledge that employees can use to make educated decisions. Some training is mandatory because of laws and regulations that are in place by OSHA and the EPA. Others are more specific to the workplace, like 5-S or Machine Guarding safety. Can anyone tell us or have ideas about what safety training we should have in our area or for tasks we may conduct?
Refresher training has an important role as well. You may have already had training on lock-out/tag-out last year but attending a refresher course may remind you of a particular incident or situation in which lock out/tag out was not used properly. You can add to the discussion by participating and sharing that information with others.
Fact is, daily safety talks increase safety awareness and reinforce company values. Training Metrics also show that the more we provide appropriate and applicable safety training the more likely it is for injury numbers to decrease. Never take on a task you have not been trained in. Speak up when you think additional training is needed for a task or procedure. Ask questions if you are unsure about something and make sure to make time to attend scheduled training sessions. They’re there for your own good.
An audit can be defined as “Continuous measurement of reality versus expectations.” Where would you think the company would go if we did not correct our mistakes or make improvements? Most often, audits are viewed with negative feelings. That is understandable. They expose weaknesses, failures, and gaps between what we expect of our organization and what we’re actually doing. But without audits, other priorities slip in and take our attention away causing us to no longer do what we identified as necessary, either for quality or safety.
There are two different kinds of audits: internal and external. When an external audit happens, it can be a customer, a regulatory agency or even the corporate office that wants to pay us a visit to make sure we’re doing what we say we’re doing with regards to safety. An internal audit is something the company develops for employees to use to proactively check and see that procedures are being followed, that documents are in place and that we are behaving in a safe manner. Audits are never intended to place blame or fault but rather to figure out what we’re not doing as well as we could, why we’re not meeting certain expectations, and what it takes to get us back on track.
Ultimately, internal audits are designed to keep the train on the tracks. It takes a lot of people to run a business, but each and every one of them is an individual. Keeping those individuals working towards a common purpose with an emphasis on a safe workplace is a big job. The best people for internal audits are those that are closest to the operation being reviewed. This is why you may be asked questions in regards to a procedure or operation. As the person who is responsible for that job or task, you have the most information on how it’s being conducted. An audit would also provide an opportunity for feedback or quick discussion about any findings and whether or not you have an idea on how to restore the process to its original intention or modify the expectation to best fit the job.
The skill of hazard recognition has to be developed over time. People will see hazardous things throughout the day, but do they recognize and acknowledge them as hazards? Sometimes, they just ignore a hazard because they don’t anticipate it affecting them, they think the probability is too low, or they think the corrective action is not something they can fix right away so they keep on walking. But what about the next person? How would you feel if someone got hurt because of something you noticed earlier but didn’t take action on?
Safety Opportunities are a metric that EnPro tracks for a very important reason: employee engagement. This program is intended to encourage employees to not only recognize hazards but to document them. There are two primary reasons why they’re so important: (1) to make sure that corrective action is either completed or scheduled and (2) so that patterns can be collected over time for management of broader concerns. For example, if a facility collects 20 safety opportunities for the month from their employees, and 11 of them are all related to tripping hazards, then the group might want to focus on improving housekeeping discipline.
Good examples of Safety Opportunities are:
• Ideas for improvement – can a process be improved to make it safer, easier, or less stressful? Do you have an idea?
• Hazard resolution – make a note that you took the time to correct a safety hazard. Ask yourself why the hazard was there in the first place.
• Report unsafe conditions and behaviors – If you don’t have the resources to correct a hazard right away or don’t feel comfortable confronting a co-worker about an unsafe behavior, let someone know by turning one in right away. Don’t wait!
• Recognition – Do you have a safety mentor? Did someone volunteer to help you with a heavy object? Take a moment to recognize efforts to keep you safe.
Safety Opportunity cards can help take the pulse of the work environment and guide the organization towards a safer workplace through categorizing and classifying the data collected from the shop floor. They can be submitted in a number of ways. Fill out a card, enter electronically, or simply fill one out together with your supervisor or lead. Your challenge today is to submit a Safety Opportunity.
DOWNLOAD SAFETY TOPICS HANDOUT (PDF)
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