1. Common Qualities of Success: BPIR.com advice concerning successful safety programmes

    March 11, 2010 by

    Terry Mathis, founder of U.S.  ProAct Safety, writes [1] that it has been found that successful safety improvement initiatives are:

    1. Proactive: the successful implementation of reactive safety programmes will inevitably generate the need for the development of proactive safety programmes.

    2. Focused: traditional initiatives commonly lead to the development of many rules and procedures, and these tend to overwhelm and to diffuse employee attention. Truly successful safety efforts focus upon the most important dangers and the appropriate ways to avoid these. When employees begin to automatically take precautions themselves then accidents rates tend to drop permanently.

    3. Transformational: precautions that have the potential to produce a significant positive impact upon accidents are termed transformational precautions. Truly excellent safety efforts do not seek for modest gains, but for goals that will transform accident rates using minimal and practical levels of effort.

    4. Employee Centric: safety improvements are often limited through a lack of worker involvement. Effective safety initiatives must approach risk from both a management and an employee perspective.

    5. Clearly Communicated: effective communication is a trademark of successful safety initiatives, and when deeds and words don't match then the message becomes unclear.

    6. Results Oriented: some safety initiatives have emphasised process metrics over results metrics. A profound knowledge of safety is found using both process metrics and result metrics along with an understanding of the relationship between the two.

    7. Multi-dimensional: successful safety efforts benefit from contributions from quality, technology and behavioural science approaches.

    8. Integrated: successful safety initiatives must become integrated into everything that an organisation does. Safety programmes that do not mesh with day-to-day activities are seldom successful, and they are certainly not sustainable. Integrated safety needs to become an organisational value.

    9. Practical: safety success can be advanced by theories, but ultimately it can not be achieved if it does not fit the cultural, procedural and the real conditions that are found in the workplace.

    10.Humanistic: Successful safety programmes need to win the hearts and minds of the people involved. Ultimately the reasons behind working on safety are just as important as the way it is implemented. Goals dominated by financial targets and benchmarks alone will not win the hearts of the people who are able make initiatives truly successful.

    [1] Mathis, T., (2008), What Does Safety Success Look Like?, Occupational Hazards, Vol 70, Iss 8, pp 43-47, Penton Media, Inc., Cleveland

    Members may read the full article which provides further advice about successful safety management.

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    Neil Crawford
    BPIR


  2. A culture of safety: BPIR.com advice concerning healthcare safely management.

    March 8, 2010 by

    Significant rewards can be returned when attention is given to both patient safety and health care worker safety. Thomas Krause and John Hidley, executives of U.S. Behavioural Science Technology Inc., write [1] that patient safety and employee safety are inseparable since both are the products of an organisation’s culture. Krause & Hidley suggest the following five ways of thinking in regard to patient/employee safety:

    1. Think leadership: when optimising health care safety performance it is essential to begin with leadership i.e. the board of directors, physician leaders, and the health care system leaders, including the CEO and his/her direct reports. When patient and employee safety improves so too does employee satisfaction; organisational citizenship; patient satisfaction; quality of care; malpractice costs decrease, and the overall reputation/financial security of an institution will likewise improve.

    2. Think systems: patient and employee safety should focus upon systems performance to a greater extent than individual performance. In practice adverse events arise mostly from complex processes that are embedded within an organisation. Root-cause analysis of incidents shows clearly that, while individuals are often blamed, the real cause of incidents is almost always a failure of systems. The responsibility for providing adequate systems belongs to the leadership of the organisation.

    3. Think strategy: an overarching strategy must be used to significantly improve patient safety. Too often, safety comes after efficiency, after economy and after profit. In professional group meetings or in board meetings, safety is often very low on the agenda, if it is there at all. Safety must command a central position of strategic value to organisational leadership at all levels.

    4. Think culture: leaders create culture with their every thought, word and deed. Leadership predicts culture, and culture predicts safety outcomes. Krause and Hidley state that “since leadership shapes culture, and culture predictably defines the likelihood of exposure to harm, leaders are obligated to take action consciously and continually to mitigate hazard.” A fundamental ethical error in regard to patient safety is committed when leaders know how to minimize exposure to harm but don't take any action to make this happen.

    5. Think behaviour:
    learn to think about patient safety in terms of behaviour – particularly one’s own behaviour. Effective safety leadership involves finding the specific relationship between ones actions as a leader and the state of patient safety, both organisation wide, and within local functional areas of responsibility. Once this relationship is understood then it becomes possible to change behaviour to everyone's benefit.

    [1] R10854 Krause T. R., Hidley, J. H., (2008), Five Ways to Think About Patient Safety, Trustee, Vol 61, Iss 10, pp 24-27, Health Forum Inc., Chicago

    Members may read the full article which provides further excellent advice concerning Healthcare safety management.

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    Neil Crawford
    BPIR.com


  3. Pushing the threshold: BPIR.com advice concerning process safety management.

    February 18, 2010 by

    While researching some BPIR.com related subject matter, I came accross this interesting bit of information which I thought was worth sharing on the Blog:

    Ian Sutton [1] a process risk manager with U.S. AMEC Paragon believes that the root causes of safety and environmental problems are often economic. Managers can be subjected to relentless pressure to cut costs, while at the same time being expected to increase production rates, implement new initiatives, and to install new technology. This can lead to a mindset which crosses acceptable safety thresholds. The following six indicators are flags that thresholds are being challenged:

     

    1. Unrealistic stretch goals.  If an organization is stretched far enough major system failures are certain to occur.
    2. Excessive cost reduction demands. Managers being expected to "do more with less" can, over the long term, lead to the unsafe conditions being created.
    3. Belief that "it cannot happen here".  Catastrophic events are very rare and this contributes to an “I'll chance it" syndrome. Often managers and employees fail to distinguish between occupational safety and process safety.  In fact the actions needed to improve occupational safety, as measured by the number of lost-time accidents, are quite different from those needed to prevent catastrophic, low probability and low frequency events. Organisations that have often reported excellent day-to-day and month-to-month safety figures have been surprised when one of their plants has experienced a major incident.
    4. Overconfidence in regulatory compliance. Well crafted regulations, rules, codes and standards can also induce a false sense of confidence. These rules cannot anticipate the combinations of events that lead to catastrophic incidents most of which are unusual, even bizarre. Standards merely provide a framework for successful operational integrity. Detailed analyses must be also be carried out by facility managers and workers.
    5. Ineffective information flow. A recurrent finding in disaster research is that information concerning potential problems was actually available within an organisation but this was not communicated to the relevant decision-makers. One reason for this is that most people do not want to be the bearer of bad news. This leads to information being more and more diluted as it travels up the management chain.
    6. Ineffective auditing.  Good audits should attempt to identify the root causes behind any findings. Senior management should follow up the audit findings by reviewing the audit, the audit process, and the audit follow-up in detail. This also provides an opportunity to examine improvements required within management systems.

    Economic and business factors commonly exert pressure on an organisation’s leaders; however this must never be allowed to interfere with its proactive safety culture.
    [1] R10830 Sutton, I., (2009), Should Your Organization Fly Warning Flags?, Chemical Engineering Progress, Vol 105, Iss 12, pp 22-26, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, New York

     Members may read the full article which provides further excellent advice concerning process safety management.