Construction Safety: Stopping Killing Conditions

Safety professionals are often perceived as alarmists. When you stop a project because a crane is just "a bit off level" or isolate a work area because the rebar is not capped, you can be seen as "just a bit too careful." The common retort from those overseeing the work you stopped is, "Really? ...

Gone Fish’n: Safety Measurements don’t have to be an Illusion

The measurement revolution began in my prime.  I was working with Industrial Engineers, a nice bunch, with the world-view that everything can be designed to run smoothly.  We were a part of the Quality Revolution.  I had just gone to see W. Edwards Deming for the third time, eager to hear his ...

Accidents Cannot Be Prevented if Leading Indicators For Safety Are Ignored

We’ve all seen and read the articles about how data can help us improve production, quality, safety and environmental performance within the work environment.  With that said, how many of us have actually been close to a real life scenario where an incident happened and data was available, but ...

“Practical Drift”: Why people don’t always follow procedure and can Relationship Based Safety help?

Each year many are injured or killed in incidents where following a procedure or using available safety equipment would have saved his or her life.  Both managers and safety professionals have asked, “Why do people take short cuts and put themselves at risk?”  This article will explore this ...

Zero Harm is an Occupational Disease

I’ll never forget Fred. He never knew, but he has been one of the people who helped to shape my thinking during my first years as a safety professional. With his lean and not even 1,70 m (~ 5’ 6”) short frame he didn’t have an impressive physical appearance, but his personality and commitment sure ...

Are Safety Absolutes Absolute?

Every standard safety manual addresses, at some level, the most basic principles of safety management including the three (3) E’s.

Beyond Whack-a-Mole Safety: Inspection vs. Assessment

Regardless of how it’s done, workplace monitoring is a critical and longstanding function of the safety profession.  It’s also encouraging to see line managers and selected employees increasingly involved in this function as well.  The goal of safety monitoring is to gain a better understanding of ...

Risk Perception Needs to be Managed

Often in my career of managing safety/risk I've recognized that what I’m really trying to manage is peoples’ perception of risk and not some empirical “risk” value. People don’t tend to solve problems they don’t believe they have, nor do they put a lot of their effort into safety if they believe ...

Problem Fixing and Not Problem Solving

I live in an old house, most probably built in the early 1800’s, with doors that don’t close, roof that leak and floors that squeak. My solution? A little WD 40, a little more ‘goop’ around the chimney, and shave a little off the jamb, and, I’ve fixed the problem. Of course it works, but only for a ...

A Primer on Risk Management

We couldn’t possibly start to manage our safety challenges effectively without a clear understanding of what “risk” is and how risk can be managed. There are many websites and texts available to explore the intricacies of the Risk Management Process so I won’t repeat all of that good work here. ...
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