Friday, June 28, 2013

Oil & Gas Industry Fatalities Declining Globally

The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP) has released its 2012 Safety Performance Indicators report, revealing a decade-long positive upstream safety trend. The study analyzed safety performance of 49 OGP member companies, representing 3.7 billion work hours and operations in 107 countries. Findings show that the number of fatalities per 100 million hours worked has fallen significantly in the last 10 years.

In 2012, the Fatal Accident Rate for participating companies was down by 52% compared with the 2003 rate. Additionally, the rate for all recordable injuries in 2012 was 1.74 per million hours worked, down from 1.76 in 2011. Of the fatalities reported, the largest proportion (44%) were in the “Explosions or Burns” category.

The report identified six areas in which failures often led to fatal incidents and high potential events:

  • Hazard identification and/or risk assessment.
  • Work standards and procedures.
  • Supervision.
  • Decision-making or judgment.
  • Training and competence.
  • Unintentional violations, by groups or individuals.

Find more information here

Preventing Legionnaires' Disease

According to CDC, 8,000 to 18,000 people are infected annually with Legionnaires' disease, a type of pneumonia caused by Legionella, a bacterium found primarily in warm water environments. To provide some background on the disease and its prevention, HC Info has posted a free recording of its webinar, "Legionella: An Update for Building Operators, Engineers, and Water Treaters." HC Info founder Matt Freije discusses current issues related to disease prevention, ASHRAE 188P (Prevention of Legionellosis Associated with Building Water Systems), HACCP water plans and Legionnaires'-related lawsuits.

Here are some fast facts from CDC about the disease:
  • The bacterium was named after an outbreak in 1976, when many people who went to a Philadelphia convention of the American Legion suffered from this disease.
  • Legionella bacteria are not transmitted from person to person.
  • People get Legionnaires' disease or Pontiac fever when they breathe in a mist or vapor (small droplets of water in the air) that has been contaminated with Legionella bacteria.
  • Keeping Legionella bacteria out of water is the key to preventing infection.
  • Most people with Legionnaires' disease will have pneumonia (lung infection) since the Legionellabacteria grow and thrive in the lungs.

Accountability & Moments of Truth

Much like risk and prevention through design, leadership and accountability were widely discussed during Safety 2013. In his proceedings paper, C. David Crouch, MSOD, a senior consultant with Caterpillar Safety Services, shares four steps to creating accountability and three moments of truth in which the leader’s behavior is critical.
  • Step 1: Define safety activities required for each role—from CEO to frontline. “Everyone must clearly understand what’s expected to create the presence of safety,” Crouch says. 
  • Step 2: Train everyone on those activities to ensure that they know how to do them correctly. “It’s a breach of integrity to expect good performance if you haven’t provided proper training and preparation,” Crouch asserts. 
  • Step 3: Measure performance with periodic spot checks and conversations to ensure that activities are being performed correctly. According to Crouch, companies must make sure they have the right combination of leading and lagging indicators at each level. “At the front line, measure the activities that drive safe behavior, not safety results such as incident rates,” he explains. “For middle managers and executives, measure activities that build the presence of safety and track safety results.” 
  • Step 4: Recognize employees when they perform their safety activities correctly—and coach to improve their performance when needed. 
So what are the three moments of truth in a relationship?
  1. Beginning. Establish what’s expected and how it will be measured. 
  2. Each day. On a daily basis a leader must reinforce safety activities and behaviors. “Positive recognition is much more powerful and effective in influencing behavior than criticism or correction,” Crouch says. “The emergent leader must administer both, but positive reinforcement should be used at a ratio of at least 7 to 1 over correction or discipline. The more you recognize good behavior, the less you have to address poor performance.” 
  3. Periodically. Meet regularly to gain clarity and make adjustments, Crouch advises. 
If you weren't able to attend this session during PDC, be sure to look for David's paper on the proceedings CD or look in the July 2013 issue of Professional Safety for information on ordering those sessions that were recorded.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mark Scharenbroich Says "Nice Bike" to Safety 2013 Attendees

“Nice bike!” These two words were buzzing in the halls after Safety 2013’s luncheon speaker Mark Scharenbroich finished his presentation. Based on his book, Nice Bike: Making Meaningful Connections on the Road of Life, the short, two-word phrase packs a lot of meaning. Scharenbroich explained that the saying is supported by three powerful actions: acknowledge, honor and connect. Sharing personal experiences, memories and even doing Al Capone and Julia Child impersonations, Scharenbroich engaged the crowd with this two-word phrase and illustrated how they can use it to improve their personal and professional lives.

“Once the core basic needs are met, we have two other needs. One, we need to belong. . . and, two, we all need to hear 'Nice bike.'” This saying refers to a compliment, acknowledging someone, serving people with a sense of passion and making meaningful connections.

On acknowledgement, Scharenbroich said that you must be present to win. Employees want acknowledgement from their bosses. Everyone has a story, so be genuinely interested in them.

On honor, Scharenbroich said you must have a passion to serve. In response to someone saying “Thank you,” respond with “my pleasure,” instead of  “no problem.” Be happy to serve others, and honor people by how you serve them. “When you are passionate about who you are, you bring others to you,” he said.

On connecting, Scharenbroich said thank you are powerful words. He encouraged connecting with people, listening to them and being present. “As safety professionals, you solve problems, you save lives, you think things through, you make your culture a better place,” he said. “What you do and who you are matters.”

Safety 2013's Luncheon Presentation was sponsored by BCSP.

Seven Skills to Be Your Best

In Hector Escarcega’s Safety 2013 session, “Seven Skills You Must Possess to Be Your Best,” he presented attendees with a lively discussion on essential skills that SH&E professionals must have to be successful in their profession and in their personal lives. Escarcega, president of Bilingual Solutions International Inc., engaged the audience and went through the list of seven skills needed for professionals to become their best.
  1. Establish and develop your SH&E technical skills.
  2. Develop solid people and communication skills.
  3. Have the right attitude and thoughts.
  4. Work on life balance.
  5. Set SMART goals and focus on priorities. These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time sensitive.
  6. Network.
  7. Acknowledge and celebrate your success.
Escarcega encouraged listeners to know their strengths and areas for improvement; to develop skills to train others in the safety field; to use their thoughts to create positive attitudes; balance work with relationships, play, health, etc.; set goals and be realistic; build their professional network and celebrate when they success. He challenged attendees to take away one “golden nugget” that they can take back to their organization and put in action toward their personal and professional life.

Proactive Safety: Best Practices in Manufacturing

As noted in several other EHS Works blog posts this week, risk is a hot topic at ASSE’s Safety 2013 in Las Vegas, NV. Steve Ludwig of Rockwell Automation and Calvin Beyer of Murray Securus took their turn discussing the topic during “Improving Manufacturing Safety and Performance Using Integrated Risk Management.”

“Rigorous global safety standards, technology innovations and thorough risk management techniques now make it possible to develop a more proactive approach to safety programs,” they explain in their Safety 2013 proceedings paper. Noting that each employer should customize a safety program to its specific needs, Ludwig and Beyer offer several best practice tips for taking such an approach.
  • Conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify the areas of risk on a machine or within a facility and to pinpoint the best people and technology to help minimize those risks. “Performing a risk assessment upfront helps guide the direction for an effective machine guarding strategy, which is designed to help protect a company’s investment in both personnel and machinery.”
  • Reduce potential hazards through design. “Eliminating a hazard by designing a machine to function without putting workers at risk and implementing the right safety technology in the design phase of machine development is more effective than applying physical guarding or monitored access,” Ludwig and Beyer explain. “When machine designers conduct a risk assessment and review the resulting documentation at the earliest stages of inception, they can more effectively reduce hazards.”
  • Consider machine guarding. When hazards cannot be designed out, hard guarding in the form of a physical barrier provides more protection at a relatively low cost, they advise. “It’s also important to make sure the solution itself doesn’t cause another hazard.”
  • Add advanced controls. “If a hazard cannot be designed out, and physical barriers and guarding are impractical for machine operation, engineers can apply machine controls to detect unsafe machine conditions and place the machine in a safe state to help protect workers.” According to Ludwig and Beyer, there is now a strong trend toward configurable or programmable safety-rated controllers because they provide flexibility and help improve productivity. “Advanced safety systems may also include safety technology embedded in servo devices or variable frequency drives to further improve functionality, while helping maintain a safe working environment.”
  • Promote awareness. Workers operating near equipment must be aware of their surroundings. Awareness techniques can include adding appropriate signage, as well as using visual and audible awareness devices and annunciators such as stack lights or alarms. “Awareness devices must be positioned where they will best serve their intended purpose,” say Ludwig and Beyer. “It is also important that audible signals can be heard over normal operating noise, and that they comply with current standards and regulations.”
  • Provide training. “Employees must be educated on all types of equipment they will be working with and around.”
  • Conduct follow-up assessments. Follow-up assessments verify that the potential risk level was reduced to an acceptable level, Ludwig and Beyer explain.
  • Seek experience and expertise. “Suppliers well versed in automation, safety and the current standards and regulatory requirements that apply to the manufacturing environment are highly valuable when embarking on a safety program design or review. These partners should have a thorough understanding of the risk assessment and risk reduction process as well,” say Ludwig and Beyer who conclude, “Creating a safety program with these best practice elements will help set the path for a more proactive approach to reducing risk and improving safety, while increasing productivity. It can also help shift the focus of risk performance from measuring negative outcomes to gauging success based on positive results and forward-looking improvements.”
If you weren't able to attend this session during PDC, be sure to look for Steve and Calvin's paper on the proceedings CD or look in the July 2013 issue of Professional Safety for information on ordering recorded sessions.

New Patient Handling & Mobility Safety Standards

The American Nurses Association has released national interdisciplinary standards for safe patient handling and mobility to help healthcare professionals create a stronger safety culture in their work environments.

According to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, in 2011, the healthcare and social assistance sector suffered more musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) than the construction, mining and manufacturing sectors. To help prevent future incidents, the American Nurses Association developed Safe Patient Handling and Mobility: Interprofessional National Standards, a publication that guides the development of safer practices, policies, regulations and legislation regarding the safety and health of healthcare workers and patients alike. The publication was compiled using observations and knowledge from nurses, occupational and physical therapists, safety and ergonomics experts and risk management specialists.

Find more information and a free sample of the book here.  

EHS Pros as Change Agents

While discussing effective ways to link safety performance to organizational strategy during Safety 2013, Chris Ross, CSP, OHST, CPLP, of The Engagement Effect, pointed to several elements EHS professionals should master to become effective change agents within their organizations.
  • Effectively use diagnostic tools and processes. "Professionals must have a repertoire of methods that will yield performance gaps and root causes," Ross explains in his Safety 2013 proceedings paper. His cited examples include the human performance improvement/technology model, and Mager and Pipe's performance analysis model. 
  • Find ways to influence, persuade and sell. Most organizational initiatives are successful when employees see the value and benefit of the change. Even if EHS professionals had positional power, and most do not, force is not always the best way to effect change. Adults have to see the WIFM (what’s in it for me), internalize the benefit and value, and then make a conscious decision to make a choice. If the reasons for change are not clearly evident (or clearly stated), compliance with the change is rarely successful. 
  • Develop solid leadership skills. "Areas such as communication, strategic visioning, valuing differences, motivating and measuring performance, servant-leadership and employee engagement are critical to success," Ross advises.
  • Discover change management skills. "EHS professionals should recognize the need for change and be personally open to change, and they must also enable staff and peers to reevaluate roles and procedures, use organizational performance assessments to guide change and understand and apply strategies for handling negative responses to change," Ross says.
If you weren't able to attend this session during PDC, be sure to look for Chris's paper on the proceedings CD or look in the July 2013 issue of Professional Safety for information on ordering recorded sessions.

Create a Culture of Accountability

During Safety 2013, David Maxfield of VitalSmarts delivered a session that focused on ways to build a culture of accountability. "A major barrier to creating an accountability culture is that most people don’t like holding others accountable, and they don’t want to," Maxfield writes in his proceedings paper. "But workplace safety is an area where the organization can connect to values that are already deeply held by their employees." Maxfield offers these steps for building accountability into organizational culture:
  • Recognize the central role accountability plays in achieving every other priority. "When peers look out for each other, watch each others’ backs and hold each other accountable, it supercharges everything the organization strives to accomplish," he says. 
  • Begin with workplace safety. According to Maxfield, high-accountability leaders often take "special care to connect accountability to the personal values related to workplace safety." 
  • Define the vital behaviors involved in accountability. "These are the two or three clearly defined actions that capture the essence of what accountability means," Maxfield explains. "For example, someone might say, 'I speak up and hold people accountable for creating and maintaining a safe workforce, regardless of my role or position.'” 
  • Focus on a handful of crucial moments—times and circumstances when it’s especially important to speak up and hold others accountable. "When leaders focus their efforts on this handful of crucial moments, instead of spreading themselves too thin, they can achieve rapid improvements." 
  • Marshal a critical mass of all Six Sources of Influence. "The high-accountability leaders we studied aimed all Six Sources of Influence at improving the two or three vital behaviors in the handful of crucial moments," Maxfield explains. "They added an overwhelming combination of training, incentives, structural changes and social support to the personal motivation that was already there." 
If you weren't able to attend this session while at PDC, be sure to look for David's paper on the proceedings CD or look in the July 2013 issue of Professional Safety for information on ordering recorded sessions.

ASSE Taps Top Executives for Its 2013 Executive Summit

Thursday morning at Safety 2013 began with the 2013 Executive Summit, which gathered a panel of top industry leaders from various industries to provide insights and advice that attendees can take away and use in their occupational safety and health jobs. The panel discussion is an important part of the conference where attendees can gain a perspective on the value of SH&E from top executives, and gain perspective on how they can do their jobs better. This year's Executive Summit panel included:

  • Bob Zaist, president, energy and construction, URS Corp.
  • Beth Rosenberg, CSB board member
  • Lester Gray, senior vice president of operations, Perdue Farms
  • Stephanie Buchanan, vice president of United Airlines, Houston Hub
  • Virginia Valentine, president of Nevada Resort Association

The panel touched on a range of topics. Here are some key thoughts from the discussion.

Safety as an organizational value.
"Safety is a core value in our organization, and as a result, the organization embraces it as something that is part of our everyday business life." -Bob Zaist

“It’s important that it becomes a part of your DNA as a company. If it’s something you have to think about, it's not something that will just happen. Get it ingrained in your company." -Stephanie Buchanan

"Safety is so basic to us. . .I don't think Las Vegas would exist if people didn't think they could come here and not have a safe experience." -Virginia Valentine

Value of safety to your customers
"Good safety means good business, quite frankly." -Bob Zaist

On safety culture
"Employees need to feel like they will be supported. A big part of the culture is the tone we set. You have to create opportunities for communication." -Virginia Valentine

"Find the positives in safety. Make something fun out of something that is very serious."
-Stephanie Buchanan

Challenges of maintaining safety as a value
"We have a lot of very senior employees who have been doing the same jobs for a long time." Complacency starts to set in. The challenge is keeping folks engaged who believe they know everything."
 -Stephanie Buchanan

"Our challenge is keeping things fresh for our employees." -Bob Zaist

Skills for safety professionals
"One of my favorite cliches is 'Bad news doesn't improve with age.' You want to be able to express yourself in a tactful way. Be a good communicator, be diplomatic, be able to think through the consequences." - Virginia Valentine

"No one likes confrontation, but everyone should assess their ability to have those conversations. You're going to be dealing with senior leaders who are more bottom-line focused. If you don't feel like that's your skill set, take some classes or educate yourself on how to have crucial conversations."
 -Stephanie Buchanan

"We ask our safety professional to do three things: 1) Be a technical resource . . 2) Be safety cheerleaders and communicate effectively . . . 3) Be the safety conscience. -Lester Gray

How safety professionals can advance their careers
"You need to be proactive with your careers. You need to be thinking ahead of where you’d like to be taking your career. What are the experiences you haven’t had that would help you attain your goals?” Take advantage of opportunities." -Bob Zaist

"If I encourage you guys to do anything, it’s to own your careers. It’s easy to let yourself and senior managers to pigeonhole you. It's important for you to express interest." -Lester Gray 

"Be an empathetic engineer. Empathize with the people you're dealing with." -Beth Rosenberg

How do you demonstrate the value of safety?
"I try to end every conversation with, 'Have a safety day.' I want to be sure that safety is front and center.You have to show that your expectations are not different than your employees's.”
-Stephanie Buchanan

"I make sure we've given them a form to bring up issues. I try to set and talk about safety results. Talk about strategy. At a senior level, it’s about giving them that platform for safety." -Lester Gray

"As a senior leader, you have to be consistent, particularly in safety." -Bob Zaist

"You have to be consistent and you can’t be a hypocrite.” -Beth Rosenberg

Live From Safety 2013: Safety 2013 Goes Social in a Big Way

Post From Safety 2013 Guest Blogger Pam Walaski

The other day my guest blog on EHS Works was about the “hot topic” here at Safety 2013: risk. Today, I want to reflect on the amazing increase in mobile technologies and social media usage that has also taken center stage this week.

Vendors on the Expo floor were showcasing numerous tablet and telephone applications to make the work of SH&E pros more streamlined and to increase the connection to remote workers. ISHN's Dave Johnson posted a great article summarizing them. Make sure you check out the list quickly. As Dave notes, they will be outdated as new ones are launched nearly every day.

Being socially connected both personally and professionally is something I have been doing for some time now. I started with a personal presence on My Space many years ago. Like many, I eventually migrated to Facebook attracted by the bells and whistles and speed of the two-way connectivity it offered.

Sometime later, I began to explore the opportunities social media presented for professional uses. My LinkedIn profile has been up for a while now and in the past year or so I have seen a tremendous increase in the amount of discussions in the various groups I belong to. I have also used my LinkedIn connections to get individual assistance with a question or just to connect with someone who lives far away–literally, as some of my connections are global colleagues in other countries. Some of them I had the privilege of meeting in person in Las Vegas this week.

The biggest increase in social media usage I observed was through Twitter. The hashtag #Safety2013 was established well in advance of the PDC and there were isolated postings starting as far back as May. As the PDC neared, the traffic heated up and if you are following the current chatter, hundreds of Tweets are being posted every day as many of us microblog on our experiences, share bits of wisdom from sessions we are attending and post photos of gatherings. In fact @fieldID posted a great list of their favorite Tweets that showcases the varied posters from attendees to vendors to ASSE staff and beyond.

My session on using social media for crisis communications highlighted recent disasters where social media was a prime method of obtaining information by those affected, everything from the Moore, OK, tornados to the West, TX, chemical explosion. Even government agencies such as CSB are using Facebook to communicate the status of its investigations and findings, and the U.S. Army’s Social Media Handbook details how soldiers and command staff can use social media to help them excel as an Army communicator. Finally, Professional Safety featured an article I wrote on the topic in April 2013.

I know that thousands of EHS pros are not yet socially connected beyond possibly a personal presence on Facebook (there are roughly 1 billion monthly account users on there so you have lots of company). I write this blog not to suggest anyone needs to jump on board as I know many will not. But for many of us who are and see the value in this form of communication, the uptick in social media usage during Safety 2013 makes us think that EHS pros are going social in a big way. It's exciting to be a part of it!

Lessons Learned From Hurricane Sandy

Referencing Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy, Vic Sordillo, Mayor of Warren Township, NJ, said, “One thing that I learned is when there’s a big disaster, you are alone.” Sordillo spoke to Safety 2013 attendees in a Wednesday afternoon session titled, “Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy: What the Safety Professional Can Learn From the Perfect Storm to Prepare for Future Natural Disasters.” In the event of an emergency, such as Hurricane Sandy, Sordillo, who is also global technical services manager for Chubb Group, said everyone needs to be prepared because once it hits, you’re on your own. "You have to make plans with your friends and neighbors. You have to be self-sufficient," he said. Sordillo also advised that once the disaster hits, communication is key. “Communication systems are extremely important,” he said. “Tell your people when to be at work, where to go, what to do.”

Copresenters Stephanie Altis-Gurnari, a loss control professional with Chubb Group, and Steven Pomponi, managing partner of Consulting Safety Managers, also provided information on Hurricane Sandy, how emergency and disaster response was handled, and how safety professionals can manage safety at a disaster site. Altis-Gurnari reminded attendees of the mass destruction the storm caused, noting at one point, 8 million people were without power. That’s in addition to the gas shortages, downed trees and power lines, salt water corrosion and much more.

Pomponi was deployed to an affected Hurricane Sandy site as a healthcare provider, but because of his safety background he was asked to focus more on “protecting the protectors” or how to provide safety to the safety personnel. “Disaster sites necessitate dynamic safety management systems,” Pomponi said. With a dynamic site, the safety approach has to be dynamic, as well, because hazards are constantly changing. He touched on five core safety processes that were utilized during the storm:
  1. risk assessment 
  2. structure
  3. training
  4. hierarchy of controls
  5. management review
He urged attendees to think about how they could use these processes in a more static environment. “One key takeaway is that when you go back to your company, look at the safety management systems you’re using and think about if they are there from a static standpoint or are they adaptable to a dynamic one?”