OPTIC
OPTIC - Eye on Safety

Category: Safety Culture

Attitudes, behaviour and overall philosophy that shapes approach to performance measures and management.

Accountability or Responsibility?

The language you use is important. In addition to organizational reports and performance metrics, we're adding a component that will enable individual goal setting for leading indicators and are debating the words we use to describe the module.

A lot of people will use the word accountabilities. At first glance, it sounds good. "We are going to hold people accountable for their performance." Who's going to disagree with that? But if you put yourself in the listener's shoes, the onus is on someone outside to make the final call. Someone in a supervisory role is going to hold me accountable. So what happens when the supervisory isn't there?

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Injury By Focusing Too Much (Three Stitches Part II)

After injuring my hand, I thought about all the different reasons why the injury occurred. Beyond the obvious procedural items, there was one cause I found interesting. In sports one of the items they coach is understanding the relationship between energy level and awareness. That is because peak performance is not about maximum energy or effort at all times. It is about knowing what level of energy is appropriate for the given job because, as you energy level increases, the range of your awareness shrinks. 

For example, in football, a pass rusher can raise their energy level because the only point of focus is to get to the quarterback as fast as possible. On the other hand, a quarterback cannot do that because they need to see the full field of play. That is why the best quarterbacks often seem "relaxed" or calm in the field of play. It is essential for them to control their energy level and see the full field of play. So, where is the connection to safety?

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Three Stitches and Accountability - Part 1

I got three stitches in my hand recently. I was taking down some drywall from the corner of a basement ceiling. To get it to snap, I was using a utility knife to cut an edge. So, as I pulled the drywall down (can you guess what I did?) while still holding the utility knife in place...the sudden snap of the drywall released my hand onto the blade of the utility knife. A few hours later, after a visit to a local Medicentre, I gained three stitches on my hand.

Needless to say I was a little annoyed with myself when I decided it was a helpful reminder about a critical element in a good safety attitude - accountability.

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The Right Attitude and Core Values

In the last entry, we recognized that safe performance really begins with people and that regardless of the management system you have in place, a poor attitude will sink you every time. So where to next? 

While I wanted to move on to training management, the more I thought about attitude and performance, the more I thought about core values. It's one thing to have a positive outlook and quite another to deliver performance when it really counts.  

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Where Do You Start With Safety?

Let's assume we are starting from the ground floor. Where do we begin?

For sure, there are safety management systems that I need to implement as part of my overall operation. Some of these need to support contractor pre-qual tools. Others aim towards some form of certification that provides some degree of third party assurance on the quality of my operation. There does seem to be a lot of expertise and resources available for the starting organization. Interestingly, I can also take a shortcut through the download of pre-built safety manuals and give them a stamp of approval to check that requirement off my list.

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Comments
  1. Re: Where Do You Start With Safety?

    Great post Shawn. You are right it is getting people into the right attitude to think about safety a

    --Andy