Safety Attitudes: Safety Topics - March 2019 Week 3


Ever notice how two different people can put in the same amount of effort to accomplish a task, but one person seems to be more successful? Their performance quality and quantity might be just a little better and a little more? Attitude can make all the difference between success and failure. This week we’re going to focus on Safety Attitudes that can make the difference between preventing and causing injuries in our workplace.

Monday, March 18

Doing Things the Right Way

There are many reasons as to why incidents occur that result in property loss or injury on the job. Often times, there are failures in the safeguards that are, or are not, put into place for an injury to occur due to an exposure to a hazard. A major cause of these failures is individuals taking the easy way out when completing the work task. Recognizing the importance of doing tasks the right way is necessary to avoid potential consequences.

Here are some common reasons or excuses an individual will point to when asked why they are not performing a work task the right way. Some of these reasons are:

  • There is no time to do the task the right way
  • I’ve seen it done this way over and over again
  • I have done it this way for years and nothing bad has ever happened
  • These safeguards slow the process down

Regardless of the reason, taking the easy route when it comes to ensuring safety leaves you and everyone around you at risk. Ensuring things are done the right way is necessary in good business. Keeping people healthy on the job is not only good for individual workers, but also helps the business thrive by avoiding unnecessary costs resulting from injuries. When the business does well everyone benefits.

It should be no surprise that a main cause of workplace injuries can be attributed in some way to doing a task the easy way instead of the right way. This can manifest itself in a variety of ways but regardless, cutting corners will lead to exposure to more risk than necessary. Evaluate the tasks you do at work and ask yourself if you are doing them the easy way instead of the right way.  Is there a way to achieve both?

Discussion point: Give examples of taking the easy way over the right way.  Are there solutions to make it easier for the RIGHT way? 

Tuesday, March 19

Positive Outlook

How do positive attitudes affect your work and safety on the job?  We all have bad days where we’re tired or cranky, but how is your attitude towards your coworkers, boss, or safety personnel on a daily basis?   What effects would a more positive attitude have on your life, health and work?

There are many reasons to strive to have a positive attitude. Besides the obvious reasons, researchers have been studying how a positive attitude can benefit your overall health.  Some of these may include:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Greater resistance to physical illness
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

A negative attitude can lead to carelessness, complacency, shortcuts, and distractions. A negative attitude towards safety will eventually result in unsafe behaviors. Is your overall attitude towards safety negative? If so, why is that?  Ask yourself if the source of your negativity is really worth the time and energy it takes to be upset about something.  It certainly is not important enough to jeopardize your safety and the safety of those around you.

EnPro encourages employees to ‘Model the Way’, meaning that each one should take the time to set a positive example, even if their day is not going as well as it could.  Safe work practices don’t take that much extra time and the biggest differences can be found in the little things.

Wednesday, March 20

Communicating Honestly

Effective communication is critical to every aspect of a successful job. Safe working relies on effective communication between everyone involved in a work task or on a job. Effective communication includes having honest conversations which means bringing up and discussing issues as they arise.  There is some courage and humility involved, but once you get comfortable with being able to talk about your observations, then it becomes more natural and actually rewarding.

There is an endless amount of time when you should speak up and not allow a colleague to continue putting themselves at risk.  Here are some general examples of when you need to stop and communicate an issue to get it resolved prior to continuing on.  Communicating these conditions is also grounds for executing a ‘stop-work’ authority to prevent injury until a safe alternative can be provided.

  • When you see someone working in an unsafe manner.
  • When you do not have the proper training or knowledge to do the task at hand.
  • When you do not have the right tools or personnel to complete the task correctly.
  • When a safeguard is not implemented or working properly.
  • When a hazard is present that could injure you or others.

Take the time to have the conversations that need to be had to correct the situation.  A safe environment is one that embraces the learning process that develops when people are having conversations about safety issues.  Involve the right personnel in discussions so that necessary change can happen. 

If someone is not working safely, stop them and have a respectful conversation about it. If you do not feel comfortable approaching them, approach a supervisor.  An organization should embrace the humility of these conversations and know that they’re for everyone’s benefit

Spread the word.  Maybe this hazard or behavior exists in other operations.  If there are improvements or lessons learned as a result of your intervention, make sure you get the most value from it by promoting awareness of the alternatives.  This helps to inform others in the company so a similar incident does not occur again.

Thursday, March 21

The Next Person

There are many things that need to go right for a company to maintain a high level of safety performance.  When it comes to attitude, one thing that others can do is consider how their decisions affect others. When workers think about each other when preparing for or doing a task, everyone wins. An important rule of thumb when making a decision is considering how could this affects others.

For example, take a look at this example and discuss how the situation could have been made better by thinking about the impacts towards others:

A vendor is onsite and is making a delivery of some heavy boxes. A supervisor, who’s in a hurry, makes a quick decision to have the boxes placed in a room out of the way of the operation. That room is normally used for storing some fixtures and tooling that are not used that often.   One day, employees need to access the tooling stored in the room, not knowing where the boxes belong, they have to take the time and effort to move them out of the way.  Once they get the tooling, they place the boxes back in the storage room. Eventually, a department needs the delivered boxes so they move them again.  Now, the boxes have been manually handled four times.  Because of this, the employees have been put at risk for strains and sprains. 

What should have been done?

In the manual handling example, a lack of foresight by the supervisor put the laborers at great risk for injury by having to move the heavy boxes by hand more than once.  Even placing a heavy box on the floor can lead to an injury for the next person who has to bend over to pick it up.  The ideal behavior is to have a pallet, cart, or dolly available during the delivery so that the boxes can be transported to the department they belong to instead of being placed somewhere they don’t belong.

What about housekeeping?  Do you leave an area, tool, machine, or other equipment in a condition in which you would expect to find it?  Do you leave a slip or trip hazards behind after completing a task?   Don’t leave messes behind for others to clean up.  Additionally, not leaving tools in their proper place and in good condition for the next person decreases their opportunity to work safely.

Great things happen when everyone begins to consider how their decisions will affect others. Realize that your own safety not only depends on your decisions, but choices made by every other person working around you.

Friday, March 22

Take Safety Home

Hours are spent discussing safety in the workplace at many companies. Because of this, employees should do more with that knowledge beyond keeping it to themselves while at work. The safety information you learn on the job can translate to every part of your life.

The most obvious reason you should take safety information home with you is to pass it on to your family.  Learning to be safe on the job is a process of education and should be shared and demonstrated with others.  Some things we face at home are very similar to the hazards we experience on the job.  Dealing with stairs, knives, ladders, and chemicals in a safe manner is just as important at home as it is at work.   Some statistics show that a significant amount of injuries and deaths occur in the home.  This is not because the home is a dangerous place, but because people have a natural feeling of safety and security in their home.

Keep these questions in mind to improve home safety:

  • Are there working smoke alarms in the house? Are they in the proper locations?
  • Are chemicals and other harmful substances locked up to protect small children and pets?
  • Do you and other family members wear proper PPE when doing yard work?
  • If you have a pool, does it have a proper fence and locking gate?

If you answered “no” to a lot of these questions, ask yourself why these safety concerns are not addressed. Have you taken the responsibility to apply what you learn at work to your home? How would it affect you and your family if something happened to someone in your home because a hazard was not addressed? Take safety in the home seriously and protect your loved ones. 

Take a few minutes to think of some examples not covered in this discussion and what the solutions might be.

Tags: safety topics , behavior based safety , BBS ,

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