1. Imagination vs. Rut
In the May 2015 issue of "Safety & Health Magazine", Richard Hawk writes a great piece "Using Your Imagination to Get Out of a Rut". We all become creatures of habit over time. We learn a new technology and once we've mastered it, we rest a bit. Then comes another and another. "Wait, I barely learned the last one...!" Hawks reminds us that most of us want things to stay the same. Adverse reaction to change, however, can squash who we are, what we want in life and most assuredly, our outlooks on the job. And, for issues related to plant or facility safety, we just can't rest.
Allow your brain to try something new. Read new websites, challenge yourself to strike up conversations with others in the social media world, add a variety to the books, magazines and TV you watch. Make it a point to spend 10 minutes to one half hour each week doing something that is deliberately outside your norm and comfort zone. I like Thursday afternoons (preferably with chocolate). You will become inspired!
2. Old Guard vs. New
Speaking of new ways of thinking, no greater buzz kill than a boss who won't consider new approaches - or regulations - for that matter. Ever have that boss that isn't going to consider that combustible dust test until OSHA or NFPA comes knocking? Wonder about potentially hazardous chemical reactions resulting in flammable gas or vapor? But, that plant supervisor just won't test material x and y because similar materials have never reacted prior?
There's a few ideas here - first, make it sound like it was his/her idea! Seriously, it goes like this: "Hey boss, I really think you were on to something when you had us review those mandatory safety guidelines. I'm sure you intended for us to begin to think about how we can better our own areas by testing materials x, y and z...." See? Another idea is to create a "Holes List". Look at everything your facility does in the way of a Process Safety Management (PSM) program. How do you handle Process Hazards Analysis (PHAs)? Find the holes and pass the list around. Have everyone add - anonymously or not. Just be sure someone answers these questions - preferably in a group where everyone can learn.
3. Budget Lies vs. Reality
One quick study of workmen's comp and insurance damage claims vs. safety compliance cost at most organizations will tell you - pay for the testing and compliance! Enough said here. Bosses and owners, you know better!
4. Knowledge vs. Experience
Borrowing a bit from the first on the list - imagination vs. rut, you have to think outside your routine on a regular basis.Don't be complacent. There are tons of courses to take on regulations, compliance, simple to complex lab training. Some are offered online and can be a great, cost-effective intro. Others, you really need to go and do hands-on, face-to-face for it to sink in. Tactile learners especially need to see, feel and do. They, in turn, become great instructors as well. Those with experience, who think they've done and seen it all are the ones who need it the most. Why? Because they usually have the most seniority and if they are viewed as forward thinking and open minded to new information, their subordinates and colleagues will be inspired as well.
5. Culture vs. Place
Do you work in an environment of safety culture? Is safety part of the language, attitude and actions of all? Or, is your facility a place where safety activities or meetings sometimes occur? If it's the latter and you find yourself going "oh, yeah" in your safety brief meetings, what is missing? How do you cultivate a culture of safety?
A safety testing lab with engineering services is your best friend. And, with all best friends, no question is ever dumb. Promise. We can talk to you, your boss, or your boss' boss. www.fauske.com, 630-887-5213, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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