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We were recently asked to conduct a preliminary safety assessment prior to submitting a proposal.  The potential client was a Chemical plant within a major multinational corporation: basic stats included approximately 600 employees on site, as well as 300 or so contractors, and a RI (Recordable Incidents) of 0.55.  Although a statistic that most companies long for, this plant’s stated goal was to take safety, which had plateaued in recent years, to the next level and get their RI moving again towards zero.  But the Big Dog got in the way …

We did our homework.  One of our associates spent a day at their plant, touring the operations and meeting with the Safety Director and her safety committee.  The Safety Director had recently been promoted to the position and tasked by the Plant Manager to really get a handle on safety and do whatever she needed to approved pharmacy, buy dapoxetine online . such mechanisms, often one of the wet eighties to the football of the warehouse. resource generic dapoxetine. do to get the RI moving down.  In these meetings, our associate discovered the following:

  • Over the years, the company had implemented 7 different safety initiatives.
  • For the last 18 months, there had been no unified core or progression to safety improvement; official plant safety training was perceived by employees to be just the “flavor of the month.”
  • There were no set standards that were consistently followed; each department “did their own thing” relative to safety improvement.  The least buy-in from a group seemed to be from mid-level supervisors
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  • Management was currently tracking near hits (there is no such thing as a “near miss”) separately from the observation program to find trends; unfortunately, there was no incentive for employees to report near hits, either their own or their co-workers, as managers would then use the system to discipline the person who almost got hurt.
  • There was a reported lack of trust between departments and between management and employees.
  • There was common agreement that we “just need to hold everyone accountable.”
  • The night shifts have better safety and quality statistics than the day shifts.  The one obvious difference is that they are self-directed (i.e., no supervisors)
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  • The safety record for certain contractors was better than that of the mill employees.
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From our understanding of these interviews, there seemed to be two obvious areas to target at the start. The first dealt with consistency and clarity of core values: the company was not speaking a clear message on employee safety, accountability and empowerment to everyone in the plant. The second dealt with developing trust in a safety system that would be universal across all plant operations, a system that had to be peer-to-peer friendly and not tied to any reward or bonus plan.  We put together a rough draft of a long-term approach to develop an Absolute Safety, 365 culture and scheduled a call with the Plant Manager to get his insight and key quality requirements for the intervention.  We saw this call as a final “pre-flight check”: we were scheduled to be meeting in-person with all of the plant leadership to overview our approach order cialis online – at extra low prices – overnight shipping , live customer support the following week.

What followed wasn’t pretty. We made the linguistic faux pas of asking why/how previous safety initiatives had “failed.”  We talked in terms of “turning around” safety and getting it “on track.”  The Plant Manager was miffed over our choice of words, saying that “no one failed, the initiative didn’t fail, it just got stale.” We apologized profusely for a poor choice of words, and clarified that we were trying to help him get to the next level; he was not satisfied.  “Who told you that we had failed?” he asked.

We briefly got back on track, and tried to point out that, from our preliminary assessment, it was apparent that safety was not a core value for the organization – from our review of company documents and online resources, safety didn’t have the prominence that we’ve come to expect in organizations with an Absolute Safety, 365 culture.  Oops, stepped in it again … “I don’t know how you get that, Safety is number one in our plant.  We’ve won awards as the safest plant in our system.” And “if this is going to be your approach, we can just call it off right now.”  More apologies and explanations on our part.  After further discussion, we ended the call with the sense that, despite a mis-step or two, we had been able to share real information about what was going on in the plant relative to safety and show that we were worth a full, in-person review the following week.

Nothing doing.  We found out from our in-plant contact that the plant manager promptly hung up the phone, YELLED for the new Safety Director, chewed her out for giving us the impression that they had failed, and revoked any authority she had for lining up outside buy cheap generic prednisone online without prescription 20mg dogs buy prednisone online no prescription cheap. cheap prednisone 10mg – prednisone assistance.  The Safety Director, of course, was devastated, and we were told, in no uncertain terms, that any further communication from us would not be appreciated.

What’s the point, you ask.  What we discovered from the aftermath of our ten-minute phone call said volumes for what is getting in the way of safety improvement at that particular plant and made all of the assessment data come into focus.  In short, this plant manager’s personal approach to “holding everyone accountable” was to yank someone short at the first sign that something wasn’t what he expected, install copious amounts of pain so that the offender would never dare be bad again, and then expect that people would just line up and do the right thing.  He didn’t know what was going on, and couldn’t hear it when he got real information.   This ignorant, capricious use of consequences eroded the culture of trust that is so necessary for Absolute Safety, 365. Without it, no one will make the hard choices, such as stopping the work to deal with a safety concern or giving/receiving feedback on at-risk behaviors, which are needed to drive the RI to zero.  Without it, everyone will be “doing their own thing” relative to safety.  Isn’t it interesting that the further “outside of the system” the group was (i.e., contractors, night shift), the better their RI?  The lack of trust, created by top management, is the elephant in the room that this plant must address. purchase prednisone online – verified drugstore. buy prednisone online now.

By all accounts, this plant manager is a “good guy”: he is personable, has worked at the plant for 20 years, is committed to safety, and would follow through on recommendations to make change happen.  And his approach to holding others accountable has sent ripples throughout the organization.  If you are trying to get your team to the next level in safety, recognize that they must trust you and the performance system if they are going to make that commitment.  Without that trust, there is no commitment.  Without commitment, you can’t achieve an Absolute Safety, 365 culture.




1 Response » to “The Big Dog’s Impact on Safety: Case Study of an Almost Client”

  1. [...] inside of people’s heads,” as scary as that sounds.  We’ve already demonstrated in a different post the effect that the plant manager can have on the culture of safety.  In this instance, why [...]

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