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Moving to the Right Side of Safety


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Moving to the right side of safety is a journey; living a true culture of safety our goal. Sometimes it may feel like hiking up Everest without preparation; however, it doesn't have to be. Join us to explore this journey and inspire a passion for safety.

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Moving to the Right Side of Safety

  1. 1. Good afternoon ladies and gentleman. 1
  2. 2. My name is Nuala Gage and I have the pleasure of working with Intertek in the Performance Safety and Environment Solutions group. We assist clients to find and implement solutions to performance and safety problems. We are in the business of helping people to create change. Change is a constant we are all guaranteed and the journey of moving our organisations to the right side of safety is a dynamic, ever changing and never ending expedition. At times it may feel like the daunting task of climbing Mount Everest. However, it does not have to be. So how do we move our teams along the journey to the right side of safety? All journeys have a beginning, a spark that sets us in a direction, often something that changes the way we view the world forever. I’d like to share a story with you, the spark that set me on my journey and that has inspired a passion to keep asking, how can we keep ourselves and others safe? 2
  3. 3. Sharing your real life stories is a great way to help to help others understand your passion for safety and why you do what you do. My story is about an experience when I was 9 years old and how my siblings and I watched a close family friend die in a car accident as a result of not wearing his seatbelt. What is important about story telling is that you tell your own story, not a second hand one. 3
  4. 4. A great way to get people to share why safety is close to their heart is to ask them to start with ‘I learnt an important lesson about safety when…’ This is often an emotional experience and if you do this with your teams I suggest that you allow people to think about their story alone for 5 minutes and then share it with 1 other person, only then ask if anyone would like to share with the rest of the group. You can’t force people to share intimate moments that have shaped them, it needs to come voluntarily from the heart. It is not always easy to share our stories, however the benefits are great. Especially when working with people who do not understand why processes and regulations have been put in place, after all, they are the lucky ones who have not had to experience an incident. As safety leaders, it is up to us to help others understand the greater impact and possible far reaching effects of our choices. We need to innovative methods to integrate safety interventions in ways that encourage learning and change. 4
  5. 5. Learning and safety have been very close to my heart from a young age and it wasn’t until I started working with Intertek that those two passions truly collided. Where I could combine my knowledge and passion about helping people learn and be the best they can be while influencing them to make safer choices in everything they do. We work with organisations and their people to holistically focus on safe operations and performance (in short SOP). The SOP framework, a set of behavioural indicators, and the SOP database and coaching tools provide a way of integrating different parts of change interventions as well as providing quantitative measurements for evaluation of those interventions. Think about what it would mean for you to measure behaviour in the workplace, and intervene effectively? How would it feel to have a workplace where communication is strong? What would a great culture of safety look like for you? And, how do you measure that? These are some of the questions we ask when considering where organisations are on their journey to the right side of safety. 5
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  7. 7. We can learn so much from history and the way humans have evolved, and sometimes when we look at where we have come from we realise that we haven’t changed that much. Often we do the same things, just in a different way. Let’s think about problem solving and how we find solutions. We’ll use hunters and gatherers as an example. When tribes / families were hungry, they knew that the hunter would rise to the challenge, he would pick up his spear, his bow and arrow, gather a hunting party, understand his goal (to feed the hungry people), he would set his eye on a target and go in for the kill. When he returned there was much celebration and a feast. The hunter was very satisfied, the people had been fed, the problem has been solved… for today… it is not long before the hunter was called on, because the people were hungry again, the satisfaction did not last for long before the same or a similar problem reoccurred. That is one example of problem solving, we have a problem, we find the immediate solution and we act on it. If hunting was the only way for the tribe to survive, think about the potential problems. Gatherers plan ahead for when crops cannot be sown, because they know that winter is coming. When the hunters come back with their prize, the gathers keep some meat aside to dry and cure for times when a hunt is not a success, they dry corn to grind and use in leaner times. They dry medicinal herbs to sustain the tribe when those plants will not be in season. The gatherers have an indaba to 7
  8. 8. discuss the impact on the tribe as a whole and how to make contingency plans, for tomorrow, the next season, the next year. Gatherers pay attention to changes in their environment, because the slightest change in the environment could mean a lack of resources, a dangerous storm, a negative impact. Their approach is big picture, helicopter view and about long term solutions and longevity. What does this have to do with systems? If we think about the hunter, his approach is very linear. There is a problem – hunger – we have a successful hunt – problem solved. It is however a short term, knee jerk reaction; it only solves the immediate problem. When we look at the gatherers, they operate in systems and consider how a change in one system impacts on other systems which in turn impacts their success and longevity. They look at long term holistic solutions. Can hunters and gatherers survive independently? Very unlikely, there will be far greater success if everyone involved understands not only the short term solutions but looks at the bigger picture for sustainability. 7
  9. 9. Safety management models have evolved from linear approaches. For example an accident leads to the realisation that workers need to wear protective goggles to protect their eyes. Every worker is immediately issued with protective goggles and this is viewed as the solution. This, again, is a quick knee- jerk reaction. It’s a Band Aid solution. This is a linear thinking approach. It doesn’t take into account ‘the bigger picture’ realities about how the protective goggles will impact on the worker, production etc. It doesn’t take into account workers who wear prescription glasses. It doesn’t take into account behaviour; what happens if workers forget to bring their goggles to this work task? If this problem was looked at from a systems approach, we would be asking what sorts of things might be discussed and planned for before protective equipment is issued to all workers? How could a systems approach lead to a better solution? 8
  10. 10. Workplaces are complex: they comprise many internal systems and they are part of many wider communities, global systems. Each of these systems are dynamic, they are not static, they continually change. 9
  11. 11. One way of looking at the work environment and workplace culture is how people, jobs and the organisation interact. 10
  12. 12. A safety management system has information from a number of sources. It is easier to manage a team when each person in the team is aware of the ‘whole process’ and understands the roles and functions of other team members and how they impact each other. If people feel part of the ‘whole process’ it can improve communication, make project management easier, reduce duplication of effort and so on. 11
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  14. 14. For years clients had been giving us feedback that they liked what we were doing because our interventions were leading to the changes they desired. However, they often asked ‘How can we measure it? How do we convince senior management that your work is having the desired results?’ In 2008 the OECD (Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development) released a paper which was the result of 25 years of research. The OECD looked at organizations that performed well in HSE lag indicators in very high risk environments, and compared their behaviours and actions to organizations that were not performing so well. 13
  15. 15. We believe that productive and safe work places are dependent on people knowing; understanding and having the confidence to work within their organization’s visions and systems, and these are represented by the 5 primary parts of the SOP framework. We have developed a comprehensive list of behavioural indicators for each of the 5 workplace systems. These can be used in front end analysis with clients to help pinpoint areas of weak performance, take a temperature check to see where organisations are on their journey to the right side of safety, they can be used to measure before and after results of learning programs and they can be used as part of onsite observation and coaching programs. Our innovative services are designed around a continuous quality improvement process to ensure that all issues relating to how people perform work are considered. We assist clients to: • Manage risk • Inspire and develop their people • Grow and sustain their business Let’s now have a closer look at the SOP framework. The 5 parts represented in the SOP logo are called primary indicators – People. Culture, Processes, Delivery and Sustainability. All of these need to be operating effectively in order to create a culture of safety. Each impacts the other and it is important as a business to take a high level 14
  16. 16. overview or temperature check as to where you are and where you want to get to. 14
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  22. 22. There are many behavioural indicators under each of the secondary indicators. We are going to look at 2 examples. These can be used during the consultancy stage to help pinpoint performance issues and ‘safety hotspots’. They provide a great tool for measurement before and after our interventions. For example: before, during and after workshops; for specific onsite competency assessment; and for making observations and creating onsite coaching plans. The behavioural indicators are selected according to our client’s needs and the type of change intervention we are implementing. The SOP database tool and coaching program can be customized to track behavioural change. Behavioural indicators are selected with the client, and then the SOP database tool is set up so that Intertek Coaches can input the behavioural observations. The SOP database tool allows you to track and produce reports about the observations over a period of time. It helps you to identify behaviour patterns of work teams and/or work sites. 20
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  24. 24. Within this framework of safe operations and performance there are various ways of positively impacting areas of weakness that have been highlighted in an organisation. We will look at some of the influences on the people and culture aspects of safe operations and performance. We want to influence people to make safe choices because they choose to, not because someone (often the safety person) is watching! 22
  25. 25. It is estimated that 96% of incidents and accidents in high hazard industry are caused by at-risk behaviours and a mere 4% are through unsafe conditions. According to a report from ‘Alert Driving’ human error accounts for 90% of road accidents. Knowing this as safety leaders’ leaves us with no doubt that the greatest impact we can make in reducing incidents and accidents lies with influencing and impacting people. Effectively influencing those we interact with as safety leader is a skill. I specifically chose the word interact as opposed to work with, because, as safety leaders we have opportunities to influence everyone we are in contact with, both in and outside of work. 23
  26. 26. Sustainable behavioural change requires moving people from what they know and rationally understand in their heads, to what they believe in their hearts, to what they do – their actions and choices. There are different ways of influencing people to move to the right side of safety; sometimes sharing a story is enough to make people think. Unfortunately, not every time. As safety leaders, we have to find other ways of influencing people because often when we force an opinion or way of doing something on someone we are met with anger and resistance. How else then do we influence others to move to the right side of safety? How do we find ways to bring the possible negative impacts close to the heart, to expand thoughts from the immediate short term satisfaction to the long term consequences and expansive ripple effect? 24
  27. 27. Think of someone you love when you watch this short video. Using available resources is a great way of influencing those around us. As safety leaders we need to find what is right for the individual. 25
  28. 28. Let’s consider one of the seemingly simplest yet most difficult influences a safety leader has… rapport and communication! So often termed ‘soft skills’, yet they are often the hardest skills to get right. We underestimate the value in having simple safety conversations, asking the right questions to get people thinking further than the short term satisfaction of at-risk behaviours. Rapport plays a large role in being viewed as a safety leader people believe in and trust – we know when someone is just paying lip service. When you know where someone’s heart lays you can have far more impactful conversations that move them to the right side of safety. Of course if there is imminent danger we are going to stop the job and have the conversation afterwards! 26
  29. 29. The ripple effect of an at-risk behaviour can have very far reaching effects. As safety leaders we can work through conversations that help those we influence to think further than the immediate satisfaction of an at-risk behaviour. 27
  30. 30. Safety leadership is primarily about people. We need the right systems, processes, procedures and equipment. However, none of those keep us safe if our people are not making the right choices. Safety is not about the latest and greatest gadget or app. Bells and whistles may be nice but the most effective impact we can have is how we communicate and influence those around us. We are responsible for developing our leaders to have effective leadership skills. The wonderful thing about a skill is that it can be learnt, and even if you don’t get it right all the time, it is about keeping on one day at a time. 28
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  32. 32. Does that mean we need to start from scratch and change everything? Not at all! When Intertek works with organisations, we look at how we can work with what you already have in place, how effective are the organisations current systems or processes and what can be done to rejuvenate them to create an impact on your culture of safety. We work with your people, and processes to positively impact delivery, ensure sustainability whilst guiding your organisations culture of safety to the right side of safety. Whether you are an identified leader or not, every one of us in this room have all been given the invitation to help someone get to the right side of safety and to move along the path to making safer choices. The question is: Are you going to accept the invitation? If you are going to accept the invitation, we, at Intertek, are here to assist. 30
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