Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Driving the Performance of Your OSH System at SeminarFest

With SeminarFest coming soon, it’s time to take a look at the presenters who will be at the Rio in Las Vegas, NV, Feb. 6-12, 2015. ASSE Fellow Joel N. Tietjens, CSP, CSHM, president of T-JENS & T-JENS Inc. will be presenting “Driving the Performance of Your OSH System.”

“What I wanted to do was a presentation on an organization that has all the paperwork in place, and has programs implemented, but their process doesn't seem to be working," he explains. “There are other things below the surface. It's not paperwork that makes the process.”

Tietjens says the performance of OSH systems comes up short in many organizations because of management involvement. Often, organizations use the words commitment and support, but they don’t seem to support it. “A lot of upper management and middle management, as well as line management will say, ‘I'm committed to the process. I want a safe and healthy environmental process,’ but they're not willing to support it with the necessary resources,” he says.

He also points to some common points of failure that organizations experience. “The most common that I find in almost every organization I deal with is what I call ‘RAA, RAA,’ which is responsibility, accountability and authority, followed closely by communication. I always tell folks you have to have all three,” Tietjens says. “You never talk about any one of the items without adding the other two. They are a trio. They must go together.”

Of course, there are success stories. Tietjens says those are mostly when he sees an active, involved upper management. “The organizations I find that are very successful in managing their safety and health and environmental process is simply those that actually drive it to the line level, get intricately involved in day-to-day operations,” he reports. “A good organization doesn't necessarily mean there are no losses. It means they recognize their hazards, they understand the risk associated with those hazards, and they take the necessary steps to mitigate and minimize them.”

While Tietjens enjoys presenting at ASSE’s annual conference, he explains that SeminarFest offers a slightly different element. “We have an entire day of what I like to call 'cussin' and discussin' between the participants where we have a conversation where we can break it down, we can say what works for one, what doesn't work for another, why do they believe it's not working.”