Category Archives: safety

The importance of Data in Safety Management

Most of you know the value of data in your safety management system. However, a lot of safety management systems mainly show the number of incidents or days without injuries. Yes, they are great for marketing and showing off how great the company is doing. These KPI’s don’t add much for the company though. In order to really start adding value to the company, it is important to analyze the data and find out where important trends are.

Gather the Data

Getting incident data can often be hard to accomplish. Employees don’t always have the right forms at their fingertips, and simply forget about it when they have. Lowering the barrier to file an incident helps a lot to gather sufficient data, even to perform some kind of analysis. Mobile Apps are the way to go when it comes to lowering the barriers to file an incident. The employee just needs to take a picture or short video of what happened and the important data is gathered. Then the safety team can start to work on the case.

Individual Cases

Not a single safety incident is the same. Some require just a couple of hours to resolve, while others might take months or even years, depending on the severity of the injury. Handling every single case thoroughly is pretty important. It is even more important to handle certain questions in a structured manner so it is easy to compare results and find trends. We discuss this more thoroughly in our post on NC reports.

Call for Help

During the investigation of the case, it is important to ask knowledgeable people to help you find the correct information. As the safety manager you won’t necessarily have all the information at your fingertips. Make sure you involve different people from different departments to ensure you find the right information. A nice example is the financial impact, the finance department has a much better insight in the costs of an employee per hour.

Also make sure you don’t do everything, assign certain tasks to responsible people. This way you keep them involved and you don’t have to take on everything–which isn’t feasible anyway. In order to stay in control of all the tasks it is useful to check for platforms to help you in this manner. They allow you to get great insight on how the different tasks progress.

Combine the Data

When all the data is filled in and you have closed a couple dozen cases, you can start to analyze the data. The analysis is crucial to finding common denominators on why certain incidents happen. Finding out why these incidents happened is vital in starting improvement plans. These trends might not be as sexy as the KPI numbers without injuries, but they do add a lot more value. Actually providing more training to employees when that is shown as lacking behind helps the company improve and therefore improves the complete company.

Published by:

Operational Excellence, how to bring it in practice

No doubt you have heard of Operational Excellence. It is a managerial buzzword just like ‘agile’, but Operational Excellence is also something every company should strive to achieve. Running operations as effective as possible will help the company not only to make more money, but also to keep employees happy. When less things go wrong, less people will complain.

But what is operational excellence? Well according to Wikipedia, Operational Excellence means:

The execution of the business strategy more consistently and reliably than the competition.”

This sounds nice in theory, but how do we accomplish this in practice? Hardly any companies have the same strategy so comparing companies is pretty hard, except of course when we look at financial figures. That is why it is very important to have your own benchmark to work with.

The Fundament

An integrated management system is the backbone of Operational Excellence. The IMS will consist of the internal process and the forms that are used for the required checks and balances. With modern online SaaS solutions the IMS can be managed with the highest efficiency.

These platforms will be your backbone that holds all your information together and allows you to distribute this information among your employees. There is no need to track and trace everything by hand. The backbone is critical for getting the right information and for creating that benchmark.

The Importance of Data

Data is a key ingredient in operational excellence. To benchmark your performance, data is required to do this. The data needs to be easily accessible and searchable to find the right information in your IMS.

Online platforms are the best modern technologies to not only have access to the data, but also to gather the information. However, in the end someone within the company needs to key in the data, as it won’t be created in the Cloud.

These modern platforms allow for secure access the data to anywhere in the world. At the same time their mobile apps allows for data creation at every location, production site or manufacturing plant. This way quality and safety related data can be harvested right at the time when something happens. The ability to create the report right away increases the number of reports significantly, which leads to more data overall to analyze.

Operational Excellence

When all the data has been gathered, it can be analyzed to see how efficient the company really runs. To reach Operational Excellence the company has to set internal goals to see how the efficiency can be improved. Trend analysis are crucial to track improvements over time.

Internal dashboards should be created to communicate the results with the company. The modern online platforms come with a built-in Dashboard manager to display the data the way you’d like. Displaying this data to every employee is crucial to create awareness and support by the employees, which will lead to better results.

Published by:

What Every Company Needs to Know About Valuable Safety Management

It doesn’t matter what industry you work in: prioritizing safety management is a crucial responsibility of any high-level manager. If protocols are not established, your business risks having staff injured on the job. As one workers compensation attorney in Philadelphia states: “Most victims are unable to continue working in the same capacity as before the injury.”

Injuries on the job due to improper management can be harmful to your bottom line. They can also deter clients and employees from seeking you out. But, successful safety management protects employees and ensures the organization is compliant with all relevant laws.

A strong safety management system can help companies achieve this crucial goal. However, before selecting one, it’s important to understand certain key points.

Identifying Risk Factors

An effective safety management system will gather important information about the potential risks your employees may be exposed to on the job. This system can track various types of information, like employee medical history and the kinds of safety hazards common to workers in your industry.

The gathered information makes it easier for you to identify what types of danger your workers are most likely to find themselves in. Thus, you’re better prepared to put preventative measures in place.

Handling Important Processes

A safety management system shouldn’t just help you identify hazards. It should also help you evaluate the performance of any steps you take to mitigate risks. You can, and should, use your system to regularly assess the impact of your safety efforts and programs.

No One Person is Responsible for Implementing the System

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that only dedicated safety specialists play a role in implementing and maintaining this system. Everyone in the company’s chain-of-command is involved.

A senior manager is likely to be the one who establishes protocols and allocates the necessary funds and resources for a safety management system. But, management is responsible for ensuring these protocols are maintained within their individual departments.

Safety Systems Boost Efficiency

According to a recent study, safety management systems are effective at reducing the frequency of accidents in the workplace. As OSHA points out, this results in a major boost in both productivity and efficiency.

Companies incur additional expenses when employees get hurt or sick on the job. The cost of investigating the accident, compensating the employee, and possibly having to hire and train a replacement can have a major impact on a company’s yield.

Safety management systems prevent these consequences. They’ve also been shown to improve employee morale, which further improves productivity.

Constant Improvement

Safety management systems evolve. By monitoring their effectiveness, managers can identify areas of the business that need improvement. Making sure lower-level employees can contribute feedback is a smart way to improve the system, as they are often more likely to be exposed to hazards. Additionally, employee feedback is one way to devote attention to continuous performance management and boost your organization’s morale and efficiency.

Improved Products

A safety management system is geared towards identifying and addressing hazards. That said, when used properly, it can also indirectly enhance the quality of a company’s products or services.

That’s because responding to workplace injuries depletes an organization’s resources. When employees are safer, a company can direct more attention and energy to optimizing its products. The company’s staff will also be more productive on the job. As a result, the entire business performs at a higher, more consistent level.

Published by:

How to build a safety culture in 6 steps

Safety is more than a number of measures to prevent accidents. To build a strong safety culture, it has to come to life among all employees of the organization. Although most employers take extensive steps to protect their employees, these regulations are almost always meaningless without an overall positive safety culture within the organization. Employees must have a shared vision when it comes to safety, where also top management plays an important role.

In this post we discuss six important points that contribute to a better safety culture within your organization.

1. Communication

Communicating occupational safety and health information with your employees is crucial to prevent accidents from happening. It is only human to forget crucial information or cut corners when there is no one there to check them. Apply the communication the best way suitable for your company with flyers or via digital communication boards.

2. Provide training

By regularly offering training courses, employees are always up-to-date with the latest developments. Share best practices during weekly safety meetings and provide safety information to your employees. This keeps employees sharp, so accidents can be prevented. During the training also explain why it is important to share the knowledge gained by the company thanks to employees sharing their experiences and expertise.

3. Lead by Example

Leadership is a crucial part of ensuring safety on the construction site. Employees who see their supervisor take safety at work seriously, are more likely to take the time and effort to work safety. Don’t walk on side within the proper PPE’s.

4. Involve workers

The more an employee understand and feels involved by creating a safety culture, the more likely they will take actions. Make the employees part of the improvements the company makes. Show them how they contributed to the outcomes.

5. Top management buy-in

In order for an organization to develop a strong safety culture, the safety culture must start from the top and all the way down to the least experienced employee. All employees must understand that safety is their most important priority of his or her work.

6. Celebrate success

It is important to give your employees credits when they are reaching goals. By celebrating your success, you will give your employees the feeling that they are of real value for the company. It also reinforces the motivation that employees will carry during the next performance.

Published by:

What really matters in workplace safety

Many companies that have a Health & Safety system in place assume that they will never have an accident. They set KPIs for zero accidents but when you ask how they will achieve this objective, many haven’t really thought about it.

Ask a member of the top management about the Health & Safety Policy of the company and quite a few won’t be able to tell you much. Most don’t know how the HSE system is performing until a serious accident happens or large compensation payments have to be made. But there are things that can be done to strive for the zero accidents objective.

Start at the Top

A Health & Safety system is not the sole responsibility of the HSE Manager. But rarely do top management get involved in the implementation or even hear about how things are progressing on a daily basis, unless there’s been an incident.

Therefore, top Management must lead by example. But what does this really mean? This involves more than setting a zero accident KPI or sending out a memo to heads of department informing them that they must comply. Rarely do we see top management make regular site visit to see what controls are in place to prevent accidents and whether or not staff are working safely, or even their presence on safety committees.

Getting actively involved in these kinds of activities and listening to concerns raised will send the message that staff safety is a priority.

Train

  1. Train staff, including supervisors, to work safely.
  2. Train staff in correct operation of machinery and other equipment
  3. Train staff in the correct use and storage of PPE. I found that penalising staff for not using PPE, yes many don’t like wearing hard hats, especially in the heat, encouraged them to do so.
  4. Train staff in safety awareness

Ensure Accountability

Add Health & Safety compliance to everyone’s job description, including that of top management.

In my experience punishing staff does change their their way of working. Making them accountable for their actions also changes their way of working.  Just as nobody wants X amount deducted from their salary for not wearing PPE, if someone didn’t follow safety guidelines they would not want a report documenting it.

Encourage

Lack of supervision encourages employees to be lax with Safety. By carrying out regular inspections throughout the day, you encourage them to be more vigilant.

Encourage employees to report near misses, because these are the following mistakes that eventually lead to accidents. Eliminate reprisals with anonymous reporting.

Objectives

When setting timelines for objectives take safety into consideration. Unrealistic timelines encourage staff to hurry and thus work unsafely. Working faster doesn’t necessary mean getting the job done more quickly. In fact, machine operators who try to rush through a task are more likely to have an accident because either they do not take the time to load things safely or to fix the lifting equipment properly to that which is being lifted.

Root Cause Analysis

No matter how small an accident is, top management must ensure that it is carefully examined and prepared comprehensively.

Carry out an extensive analysis of the cause of the incident. I always found it surprising that the end result of a root cause analysis was almost always ‘human error’. This is the easiest way out and often incorrect. Even human error has a cause that should be investigated.

This article has been written by Birjees Hussain

Published by:

Risk Management in ISO 45001

The new ISO 45001 has replaced the OHSAS 18001. Just like most other ISO standards, the ISO 45001 adopted the High Level Structure (HLS). This is a great step forward because it now allows for consistent management systems. A lot of companies have multiple certificates and with this newly adopted HLS it is much easier to integrate the different standards.

In previous posts we touched upon the importance of risk management in the HLS: Risk Management ISO9001:2015 , Handle risk management and Practical guide.  We even wrote an e-book about it. With the ISO 45001 the way of managing risks can be the same as with other standards, but the type of risks will be different. We will touch upon a couple of topics to take in consideration while identifying your risks.

Law

The most important aspects of the risks is the law. In many countries the laws are pretty clear when it comes to employees and everything surrounding it. This can be all kinds of laws from how to handle PPE to working hours or number of leave days. Not obeying the law will not only lead to fines but can also lead to a bad reputation and possible problems with unions. In order to make sure these risks are identified, just note down the laws and take appropriate action.

Work

The daily activities of certain people can inhabit serious risks. These might not always be clear on the outside but will reach the surface when you talk to people. The employees are a key source of information when it comes to identifying the risks involved in their day to day activities. It is always wise to plan a couple of hours with people in the field and identify the risks they face.

Company

Then there are the company wide risks and opportunities, more on a strategic level. These can be big macroeconomic challenges such as economic downturn or rapid economic growth, tight labor market or the rights of robots. All these topics and many more can have an impact on the risks and opportunities the company has to manage. Make sure you include these in the risk overview because they will be important to the organization.

Manage Risks

When the risks are identified it is important to start managing them. Some risks can be accepted due to the low impact or low likelihood, others can be transferred by for example getting insurance. However quite a few require a certain type of action on how to mitigate them. Make sure you assign responsible people to specific tasks. It is key to only make one person responsible for each task. This forces the person to take responsibility. Great automation solutions can help a lot in this case. Qooling users make use of the following flow to mitigate the risk.

Conclusion

In the end it is really important that the company has a good overview of all the risks involved, not just only for OH&S and how it can mitigate them. Make sure you have a good system in place on how to identify them. Also ensure you include the employees, as they are key in getting the right information.

Published by:

The Importance of Toolbox Meetings

Toolbox Meetings are key when communicating safety related topics with employees. However, a number of companies still feel it is a necessary evil, mainly due to all the administration involved. In this post there are just a few topics you can touch on to inform the employees and make the toolbox meeting worth their time.

Feedback on Incidents Filed,

The toolbox meeting is a great vehicle to inform the team about incidents and issues filed by certain team members. By giving them feedback on the status of the investigation they will be more likely to file incidents in the future. Even giving them insight in what actions have been taken to improve the company will give them a sense of importance. In this whole process it is crucial to give the employee credits for filing the issue in the first place. This helps to create an open and transparent culture and keeps the team engaged in the safety culture.

Informing

It is always good to share knowledge with employees during the toolbox meeting. This can be about everything related to safety of course. Touch upon the danger they face during their day-to-day job. Keep on repeating these risks because most accidents happen when work is done solely on routine and basically on autopilot. Tell them how they can lower the risks of the work they do.

Update

The toolbox meeting is also a great opportunity to update personnel on changes to processes or work instructions. Whenever there are any changes being made, use the toolbox meeting to inform the staff and give a short explanation of why they have changed. It is even possible to get instant feedback on these changes.

Free Input

At the end of the toolbox meeting give the team the opportunity to give input. This can be about an incident they would like to report or a suggestion to improve a work instruction. Keep the dialogue open and gather the knowledge of the people in the field share during meeting.

Running efficiently

The administration that comes with the toolbox meeting can be quite a pain; inviting people, keeping track of the attendance list and analyzing which person has been attending which meeting. Automating this process will save you a lot of time and allows you to focus on having the right information to share with the team. Want to know how Qooling can help you? Just drop us an email.

Published by:

The Real Cost of Safety

The real cost of safety, or perhaps better phrased the real cost of a lack of safety is something that is not always clear and can be hard to calculate. There are so many factors involved when someone gets injured on the job that it might not always be clear the moment the injury happened. There are a number of topics that have an effect on the costs involved.

Direct Effects

When an accident happens on the job a lot of costs are made to perform a proper investigation. These investigations are always very thorough and properly executed. This is of course a good thing but it also means they take up a lot of resources like money and time. A safety specialist might be hired for the investigation and the operational staff will be busy with this. Sometimes the production needs to be put on hold to perform the investigation. This will lead to a serious loss of production time.

Indirect Effects

Loss of production hours of the employee is one of the indirect effects. As long as the employee is not able to work his/her salary still needs to paid, and a replacement also needs to be arranged, as the job must continue.

The second financial effect comes from the lost of potential contracts. Some contractors prefer the subcontractor with the lowest number of injuries with days lost. These statistic can become crucial for winning tenders.

The last indirect effect might be the increase in insurance premiums. Insurance premiums are based on the likelihood of an accident. Past incident statistics can be used to calculate current insurance rates. When these statistics go up this can be very negative for the insurance costs.

Emotional Effects

The employee and his/her family can have severe psychological damage in case of a serious injury. However, not only the family can fall victim to this but also the colleagues of the person that had the accident. Some colleagues might have seen the accident happening. Certain injuries can cause serious psychological damage the moment you see it happening. All the visits to the psychologist and loss of hours work can lead to a serious financial impact for the company especially when several colleagues were involved.

As with everything when it comes to safety: it is better to prevent than to cure. Automation solutions like Qooling can help companies in this process. When employees have an easy way to file near misses the (Q)HSE people can start finding the root cause to these situations and take appropriate (corrective) actions.

Published by:

The Importance of Training

As with every aspect of training employees, training them on the management system and common ways of working is critical to maintain consistency. A management system will never be effective or functional if nobody can find the different procedures and forms. Automation can help here, for example by setting up access restrictions to prevent employees from getting an information overload. However, this will only provide guidance rather than replacing the complete training.

Way of Working

New employees will unfortunately not figure out magically how certain things are done within the organization. They either need to read about it or somebody needs to tell them. A combination of both is the best way.. First a colleague explains the process while the documents are there to check later. This might seems like a time consuming exercise but it is more than worth it. Not giving enough training can cost the company much more due to error and inefficiencies. An improperly trained employee can cost a lot of money either directly due to mistakes or secondary due to keying in the wrong data into systems.

Filling in Data

In order to build a gold mine of data it is important to explain to the employees what kind of data they need to fill in these systems. It is very easy to fill in data for the sake of filling in. When the employees fill in the right data, the analytics of the data can be done immediately without any alteration and cleaning. But keying in the wrong data will cost a lot of repairing and might even lead to misinformed business decisions. By setting up restrictions on what certain people can do, a lot of mistakes can be prevented. This will reduce the room for error significantly.

Awareness of Safety Risks

Especially on dangerous sites such as during construction, in the heavy industry or offshore, it is important to train employees on awareness of risks. Not being sharp throughout day can lead to serious accidents when people are working in dangerous environment. Furthermore, it is important to train the people on how to observe and report unsafe situations. Employees have to understand that sharing this knowledge can help prevent certain situations during other shifts or other locations. When it comes to reporting again great automation solutions allow you to instantly file unsafe situations with your mobile phone. This lowers the barrier to file the report and increases the knowledge of these situations within the organization. When an unsafe situation does occur, make sure that the lessons learned are shared with the employees.

Conclusion

Please prepare a proper training system on how to make sure a new employee is aware of all the different common practices within your company. The time you put into this structured training will pay itself back in the long haul. Having the people working in a structured way will increase the consistency of the output they deliver which will increase safety of the workers and the quality of the product and services.

Published by:

10 points to assess your company’s security culture

Do you know ten features that can be used to assess the culture within your organization?

Risk management has become an important part of the new ISO 9001-2015 standard. Therefore, I would like to pay attention to this topic. Currently not so much on the ISO norm itself but more on developing a culture of security within an organization. An organization is working from shared standards, values ​​and beliefs. This leads to a certain security culture within an institution or organization. The safety culture of an organization can be measured based on a number of aspects.

Recognize the statement: “We are not doing anything wrong, we always deliver good quality, why should we put time and effort in preventive safety measures?” In an organization where this is regularly said, there is a denial of security culture.In such organizations there is little to no investment in improving safety.

Do you recognize the following situation: Something in the organization goes wrong and the directly switch to a different method. The change is often abrupt and short-termed. Such a culture is called a reactive safety culture. An organization that makes many protocols and rules, where much information is gathered and where much reporting is done, is called a bureaucratic (calculated) security culture. In such culture, implementation hardly takes place, let alone evaluated.

But perhaps your organization has more the characteristics of a proactive security culture. Then there is a high priority for security, continuous investment in increasing security, implementation and evaluation. It is thought forward that information about possible bottlenecks is being broadly exchanged.

In a progressive security culture, security is fully integrated into each process and security forms a solid part of reflection and evaluation. As risk management in the new ISO standard is an important part, organizations will proceed to the development of a Security Management System (QMS). Before you get started it is important to recommend research, so you know in which fase your organization is.

A model has been developed that allows different cultures to be scored on ten objects. These items are:

  1. Priority and Responsibility of Security (How important is security in the different departments within an organization?)
  2. registering, evaluating and learning incidents (is there a reporting system, how is the reporting culture, what is being reported, what is being learned from the incident, are changes and incident actually implemented and evaluated?)
  3. resources used (how important are the equipment, materials and spaces with which / what is being worked in the context of safety?)
  4. communication on security (how is incidents communicated, are incidents organized widely discussed?)
  5. cooperation and security (how is cooperation in the different departments and between departments in the field of security?)
  6. personnel policy and safety (is employee-safety included, is the functioning of employees discussed when it comes to security in the performance interviews?)
  7. competence and safety (Is career development focused on the topic of safety?)
  8. compliance and compliance behavior (to what extent is someone responsible for unsafe situations?)
  9. Availability of customer / patient / customer information (Are there any rules regarding the provision of information to client / patient / customer? How is the knowledge and application of the rules in this area) 
  10. information security (how is confidential information about clients / patients / customers and others shielded for third parties? how is knowledge and application of the rules in this area?)

 

This article has been written by Jantina van Rossum of iConact.

Published by: