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The Ripple Effect of Serious Injuries and Steps to Prevent Them with Brad Livingston and Kayla Rath

The ripple effect of serious injuries and steps to prevent them

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In honor of Family Month, we are delighted to have Brad Livingston and Kayla Rath join the podcast to share their powerful and heartfelt story. Brad had been working at a natural gas pipeline company when he experienced a potentially life-ending incident at work. Kayla remembers vividly the day her mom’s best friend came to pick her up from elementary school after the incident had occurred. Brad unpacks what could have been done differently that day to prevent the incident from happening, while Kayla recalls the inevitable ripple effect serious injuries in the workplace have on loved ones. Tune in to hear their moving episode!

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Real leaders leave a legacy. They capture the hearts and minds of their teams. Their origin story puts the safety and well-being of their people first. Great companies, ubiquitously have safe yet productive operations. For those companies, safety is an investment, not a cost. For the C-suite, it’s a real topic of daily focus. This is The Safety Guru with your host Eric Michrowski, a globally recognized ops and safety guru, public speaker, and author. Are you ready to leave a safe legacy? Your legacy success story begins now.

Hi, and welcome to the Safety Guru. Today I’m very excited to have with me two special guests brad Livingston who worked for the gas company for well over ten years until he had a life-changing event that was 100% preventable. I’m also joined by Kayla Rath who is his favorite daughter and she’ll share a little bit about her perspective and what it meant to be part of the family when that event happened. So welcome both of you. Really excited to have both of you here with me today.

Thank you, Eric, happy to be here. 

Thank you for having us.

Absolutely. So, Brad, why don’t you start by maybe sharing a little bit about the day of the accident? Kind of what transpired. I know when we told you really talked about how it was 100% preventable. If you could tell me a little bit about what happened that day in the store, there. 

Okay. I upgraded that day to be a Weller helper. Wasn’t my normal job but I was filling in for the regular Weller helper who was gone that day on vacation. Happy to do it. I was enjoying my job and I went to work that morning with the senior welder. We drove to a location other than where we normally work to do some welding. We did some welding until 10:00 which was our break time, and we went in to take a break and our company pumper came out and said that he had a well just right outside the station yards from where we were that had two tanks on it and both tanks had a pinhole in a weld that went around the fire tube. Each tank asked the senior welder if we put that on the schedule some time to fix it. The senior welder said we would do it while we were there and there’s the reason for that. But we drove over to the well and I checked the atmosphere around outside of those tanks where we’re going to be doing the welding to check for an explosive level and everything was fine. So, the welder started to roll out the teams and I asked him what was going to keep a spark from setting the tanks off because what was in the tanks was some crude oil that was well made.

It also made a lot of drip gas or Connor state gas which is just like gasoline, it’s water that was down in the gas formation and when you bring the natural gas up by the ground, the water will come with it, and it’s taking on the characteristics of the natural gas, and that’s what makes it so much like gasoline.

Sure. 

So, I asked him if we need to gauge the tanks and double check the liquid level because he was counting on there being liquid behind where he was going to be welding, so that would prevent him from getting too hot as he welded on that tank, and he would not blow a hole in it and cause the explosion. So, he’s counting on that liquid being there. So, I suggested that we gauge the tank and double-check the liquid level. And this welder, whose name was Tracy, had worked for the company for 30 years, and he said, we don’t have time. So that’s a big red flag because it’s a procedure. Part of following the procedures is to double-check the liquid level. And so, it would have taken maybe three minutes at the very most, I believe three minutes, and I would engage the tanks. He had been told what he told me, that there were seven or 8ft of liquid in those tanks, and it was actually less than twelve inches.

Oh, my goodness.

Which meant he ended up welding above the liquid level. And so, then he got too hot and blew a hole in the tank. So had we actually followed procedure and gauged the tanks, we would not have done the welding. So, we argued about it. I tried to convince him to just stop and let me gauge the tanks. My actual role should have been to go to the truck and get the tape and walk up a catwalk and open a hatch, engage the tank.

Sure.

If I’d done that, he would have waited for me. He was a very conscientious worker and welder and he always looked out for the safety of everyone else. I know he would have waited for me, but I was wanting him to agree with me instead of insisting on stopping him and taking that kind of step. And so, we didn’t get the gauges, the tanks gauged, and on the second tank that he was welding on, he burnt through the hole or burnt through the tank. And that tank exploded wow. Blew me up into the air. I landed on top of the other tank, and eight to 10 seconds later, that tank exploded and threw me back onto the ground, which actually helped save my life, because I was burning to death. I was surrounded by flames. My clothes were on fire. So, the second tank, when it exploded, actually was a good thing for me, because otherwise, I would have gone to death if I’ve ever got down off of that thing. So, one of the big issues was that when we were welding, we were working for a supervisor on that lease that Tracy didn’t like. 

And so that was why he was in a hurry to get the tanks done so that we could get in, get that welling done, get off the lease, and he would no longer be working for a supervisor that he didn’t like. The other issue was, at that time, our company was frowning on overtime, so we had a whole day of welding scheduled. Now, we’ve added another job to that day, so Tracy thought, we just have to cut this short, take a shortcut, not follow all the procedures, and be back home before we got into overtime. 

Wow.

There are several red flags, like half a dozen red flags before the explosions ever happened that someone, including myself, of course, could have stopped what was going on, and it didn’t get done. We had another supervisor that had pulled up that was on location. He and I visited for maybe just 20 or 30 seconds while Tracy was welding on the first tank, and then while he moved to the second tank to weld, so he was slightly burned. When the first explosion happened, the ball of fire came at him. He was in his pickup, and he just slid across the seat and got out and ran away from it. Unfortunately, Tracy was killed, apparently as a result of the first explosion because it came out of the tank right where he was welding. So, a decision that was made based on a few other things yet to be mentioned, but not wanting to talk to a supervisor because he didn’t like it, to make sure it was okay to go do the job, wanting to save time, three minutes. He lost his life, and I was supposed to have lost mine. They told my family the explosions were on Friday morning and Saturday.

They told my family I wouldn’t make it through the night. 63% burn, 2nd 3rd degree burns, all of this basically over a shortcut, three minutes shortcut.

Wow.

Yeah. One other issue I’ll go ahead, and mention is Tracy told me on the way over to that well that he had just built these fire tubes about six months ago in the shop, and someone else walked through the shop and saw those pinholes and told Tracy so he could write them out, patch them, and he forgot to do it before it got put into service. So that morning, when the piper told us about the two pinhole leaks, Tracy remembered that he had been told about those. And so, he basically said, we’re going to go and take care of this, and no one needs to know that I had made that mistake, that he had forgotten to fix those pinholes in the shop. So, a serious pride issue came into play, partly because the supervisor that he didn’t want to weld for just while we were on this lease. So, there are several things there that Tracy, as I said, looked out for everybody, for everyone’s safety except his own. When it came to someone that he didn’t want to talk to. So, all of those issues were at play. I could have stopped that anywhere along the line, but instead of doing the steps to stop it, I just argued with you.

There’s obviously a big difference between the two. So that’s what happened. That’s a quick rundown of what happened at the scene today.

Two things as well that struck me from what you’ve just shared. One is the importance of the supervisor and how the supervisor becomes approachable. People can speak up and raise issues because I think when you fear what could go wrong with a supervisor, then you can take shortcuts as well as you’ve shared, or you worry about a consequence that’s lesser than the two. The other part that strikes me is the fear of reprisal as opposed to a real learning organization. And when you’re learning, these things surface, and people are comfortable taking responsibility because they know that there isn’t fear built into the system.

Yes. When I speak to supervisors, I will ask them, how many of you have said that you have an open-door policy. And almost all of them will always raise your hand. But there’s one thing to say that, but it’s something else for an employee or subordinate to be able to know he could walk in and talk to his supervisor and there not be any repercussions. I have spoken for companies, one in particular, where a new employee reported some older employees as having broken several regulations, and the company was firing that new employee for reporting the older guys.

Wow.

So, I told the safety director there, I said, well, you know, you’re never going to hear anything from the new guys again because there’s this kind of repercussion about reporting the older guys who are breaking the rules. They’re not going to say anything. And that’s absolutely the opposite of what there has to be.

I think these are really important points because I think the rule of the supervisor, how you respond to something that doesn’t go well, is incredibly important in ensuring it’s consistent. So, Brad, thank you very much for sharing that. Kayla, if you could share a little bit about how you heard about it, how you got to the hospital, and kind of what was your impact as a family member, and the impact of this growing up?

So, I found out at school that day, Tracy’s granddaughter was in my class, and she had been pulled out of school just before lunch by a family member who took her out of school and told the other teachers that Tiffany’s grandfather had been killed at work.

Wow.

And we grew up in a real small town, and so everyone was talking about it at lunch and at recess. A couple of friends and I were talking, and I said, my dad works with Tracy. Sometimes I wonder if he was one of the other guys that had been hurt. We had heard that there were two other ones hurt and our teacher was kind of, hey girl, don’t worry about it. Nobody’s dad was hurt. It’s not your dad.

Sure.

So, we went back in after recess, and we were watching a movie my principal came into the room and he asked if he could talk to my teacher. And they walked out into the hall. They talked for just a few minutes, and then they came back in. When they came back in, they were both crying. And my teacher said, Kayla, you need to get your things together. So, we walked out of the hall and walked down the hall with the principal. And my mom’s best friend was standing at the end of the hall, and she was crying and there were teachers around her. And she pulled me kind of into a hug and she said, okay, we’re going to go get your sisters. I was still in elementary school at the time. My sisters were in middle school at the time. So, we drove over to the middle school, and I kept asking her, Connie, what’s wrong? What happened to my dad? And she wouldn’t answer. And so, we pulled up to the middle school and my sister’s got in the car and then Connie let us know that dad had been burned in an explosion and my mom was with him at that time and that my mom had asked her to come to get us out of school so that we wouldn’t hear about it from anyone else.

And so, we ended up staying with Connie and her family for a total of three weeks while dad was in the burn intensive care unit in Lubbock, Texas, which is about 5 hours away from our hometown. And so, we stayed with them. And then my grandparents moved up to Elkart, where we lived and lived with us for the remaining two and a half months before we then all ended up down in San Antonio while dad was in rehab. We were in San Antonio for eleven months, all of us together, before we came back home.

Growing up. So obviously Brad made it out of the hospital. It sounds like initially there were some concerns about how you would get through this. How did it feel growing up? What was the impact? Because obviously here you’ve moved many times, you had to be in different locations. It brought a lot of interruptions to the day-to-day. Tell me a little bit more about what it means to grow up in this case.

Initially, after the accident, we were treated like celebrities. And we loved that everyone was they cared about the Livingston girls and what was going on with the Livingston girls. So, at first, of course, our daily life was completely 100% disrupted.

Sure.

But coming back from it after 14 months, when we finally were all home, after dad had finished all of his senses at the hospital and rehab, from that point on, it was kind of everyone just expected that life was back to normal for the Livingston. Brad was hurt, but he was alive. We hear a lot about mental health issues and trauma and processing trauma, sure. And that’s all very important. But in the 90s, that was not really something that we heard about and talked about. And so, I think it was for our community members, it was really interesting. Looking back now, I can see that if any of us had a problem, it was probably just geared up to or attributed to, I should say, teenage rebellion. But we look at it now and we’re like, oh, I was clearly processing some anger in that moment or grief. And also, we were very, or at least I was. I can’t speak for my sisters, but I was very protective of my dad because he looks the way he does, you can see that he is burned. I didn’t ever want anyone to think that he wasn’t loved because he was burned.

And so, if I saw someone staring at him, I would put my hand in his hand. Even in high school, even now, I will still do it in airports if we travel together, I’ll just grab onto his hand or I’ll look at him and laugh or something because I want people to know that he’s not a freak. He is burned and he is different because of that. But he’s still a human and he’s still loved. And that was just a thought that I had as we were going through therapy as a family. Part of our therapy was to see people’s responses to him and not get angry. And so instead I just got sad. I got really sad because I saw people’s responses to him, and it made me sad that people would look at him and see someone who’s burned and not who he is.

Right. Brad, you also had to process your coworkers’ death in the explosion. How the recovery took time. Tell me a little bit about how it went, knowing everybody, you have a very supportive family that was there for you. Tell me a little bit about your experience in terms of all of this.

There’s, of course, the survivor’s deal that happens. Tracy, as I mentioned, he took care of everybody. And I don’t know that there’s anyone who worked at our station that did not look up to Tracy. He stood up for anybody. And so, when I found out that he’d been killed, basically I was unconscious for two and a half months. So, when I became conscious, one of the things I asked my wife about as soon as my head cleared enough and I started asking intelligent questions, was what has happened to Tracy? And the nurses there had coached her. They knew how my mind would clear and how long it would take for the drugs to wear off and such. And so, they waited a few days before they told me that he had been killed in explosions and it’s just immense grief. It was a human being who died, but it was Tracy, it was a leader, someone that everyone respected and looked up to. And for those of us who work in the pipeline department, he was our main leader, really, overall. So, the instant survivor guilt hit, but then I got nowhere to go, I’m stuck in a hospital.

It’s just going over and over in my mind for hours and hours and days and weeks and months. What should I have done differently? What could I have done differently? What procedures were not in place? And I could never come up with an answer. We had the procedures; we just didn’t follow them. And looking at the conversations that all happened prior while we were still in the break room, half a dozen people there that any one of them could have said, he just can’t go with her and weld on these tanks, but it never happened. And then me arguing with Tracy and instead of just doing what I need to do and so all this stuff, just a day after day after day, going over in my head with what they told me, you may never walk again. I had been an athlete my whole life and distance running was my biggest thing. I loved running and my wife had been told because I didn’t have on my gloves, and I had on jeans that were 60% cotton and 40% polyester. So, laying in that fire, polyester melted my legs and into the muscle. And my wife was told that if I survived that my legs and my hands would have to be amputated and it was solely by the grace of God that they weren’t.

But then I was told there may not be enough muscle left, you may never have enough balance to walk. And so, I was 32 years old when it happened and basically the prime of physical life for a man. And now I can’t even go to the bathroom by myself. When I became conscious, I rely on the nurses for everything and of course, my wife was right there. Then I see my daughter’s come visit on weekends while I’m at the permissive care unit and I can see that they’re trying to put on a happy face, but it’s not happy. Their lives have been completely interrupted. I’m not at home with them, their mom’s not at home with them. So, I can see it’s just the beginning of me being able to see what I have put them through. It became the biggest amount of pain in my presentation. I talk to guys about; how tough you think you are. Because when you’re going to find out is not how physically tough you are, it’s how mentally tough you are when you see what your family’s going through that you have caused. By me being in an industrial incident, causing the amount of pain that I’ve caused.

And Kayla talks about the ripples and how to this day, she still rides some of those ripples. They will never go away, perhaps for her and for other people, and knowing that I’m the cause of that, and laying there over and over my head, going over easily, this all could have been prevented, right? Of course, when we got home from all the rehab, I went to see Tracy’s widow. And that’s a day that every bit is tough, if not tougher than the day of explosions. When you look a family survivor in the face, look them in the eyes and tell them what happened and when it could have been prevented. And they’re crying and you see the pain and the anger that they’re dealing with for something that never had to happen. But we saved those three minutes, right? And saving those three minutes on the job is supposed to mean something, apparently, but it doesn’t. It’s just something guys especially, that women can and do something to justify in our own minds how and why we should take these shortcuts or deal with our pride to cover up a mistake. And there were improper perspectives that I talked about in my presentations that lead to bad attitudes.

So, there are just so many things that could have and should have prevented this from happening. And you talk to anyone that’s been hurt and they’re going to say the same thing, they do better. They knew what to do, right? And they just chose to not do it for a number of reasons.

So, you both speak to a lot of audiences, to a lot of organizations around safety and making it personal and the impact on the family. And I think bringing your collective stories is incredibly powerful. What are some of the messages that you share in terms of the key takeaways? Because some of the things that we mentioned before that come to mind are the supervisor needs to be accessible. You talked about how when you say you have your door open, is it really open? Right? Because if somebody creates an environment where I don’t feel comfortable speaking up or there are unintended rules around not paying overtime, sometimes the message gets cascaded in a way that sends the wrong intent. I can tell you stopping work sounds simple in words, but it’s not that straightforward because of the dynamics and everything that comes in. So, tell me a little bit about the message the both of you. Share two audiences team members, supervisors, to leaders, because I think it’s a very powerful story between the both of you.

This episode of the Safety Guru podcast is brought to you by Pueblo Consulting, the leading safety, and safety culture advisory firm. Whether you are looking to assess your safety culture, develop strategies to level up your safety performance, introduce human performance capabilities, reenergize your BBS program, enhance supervisory safety capabilities, or introduce unique safety leadership training and talent Solutions. Propulo has you covered. Visit [email protected]

I think, for me, one of the things that I talk about, and I believe Kayla does too, is the Stop Work Authority. I was raised I’m 63 years old actually, today, and we were not raised in the backtalk. Adults and those in charge were the authority. We were not ever given a stop-work authority. You do what you’re told, and you work, and somebody else makes the decisions. And now that didn’t start changing, I don’t think, until in the mid-90s or so. And now it is it’s becoming more prevalent. But there is still just this year where I have spoken, companies who say they have stock work authority, but when you single out young guys and not just a new employee, but a younger one in their 20s, they don’t feel like they can stop something without the older employees getting upset with them. Okay, here’s your choice. Do you want somebody to be upset with you or do you want to go home safe? Because many times that’s one or the other is going to happen, we can live with somebody being upset with us, and they’re going to get over it.

Most likely, sure.

But the Stop Work authorities, supervisors, I believe, have a great responsibility of making sure employees understand how and when to use that, and that they do have that right and responsibility.

And I’d say I would go even further in saying, how is it reinforced? Right. Because like you said, there’s crew dynamics and then there’s organizational dynamics that are impacting that choice. And I remember I’ve asked some executives, senior level when was the last time you recognized somebody who stopped work and they can’t find the time? And if you’re not recognizing that, then you’re recognizing getting the job done 200 times, I can tell you have stopped work authority, but unintended consequences. I keep hearing, thank you for Brad, for getting it done, but you’ve never gone praised for stopping work, the unintended consequences. Maybe I’m not really supposed to stop working here.

Right. And part of that, one of the improvements some companies have made are job safety analysis and hot work permits. And we didn’t have those. If we had to fill either of those out, there was no way we would ever do the welling on those tanks that day because it would have been too obvious. We can’t. So, these forms that some companies are using and the Tailgate meetings, where can I just refresh? What are all the hazards around us right here today? Some of that takes care of a Stop Work Authority because you have everybody anybody focused on the job and heading for the same thing. And so that helps not to have to stop a job. And those are people, of course, elderly guys like me who buck that. We don’t want to do the paperwork. We’re out here to get it done and go home. So those are good things that are happening by having some of those forms now to have to fill out every day, every day, fill them out.

As long as people don’t become complacent with them. Right. Because sometimes if I’m doing the same job over and over, I start getting comfortable that it’s the same as yesterday, but it’s not quite the same as yesterday. Something’s a little bit different. The environment is a bit different. It looks a little bit different. So, you still have to engage, and you still need to be able to comfortably pause. And even if it’s just taking a few seconds to say, let’s really rethink if it’s what we talked about in the tailgate or tailboard to make sure it really is what we think it is.

Right. And one of the things I’ve been told, kelly, you can pipe in here, too, anytime, but some of the younger people are more willing to step up and say, this doesn’t look safe. More than even a 50-year-old, because the 50-year-old has worked with this other guy for so many years. And so, I encourage younger people. Kayla’s age on down. If you just smell that it’s not right, if you have the gut feeling, it’s not just something you can do, it’s something you have to do, it is a responsibility.

Yeah. So, the other message, if I remember, that you really touch on is really the importance of starting safety at the top, making sure there are no repercussions if you raise an issue and really kind of the reinforcement with new team members. In terms of a lot of these principles, I think it’s so important in your story. As an example, he knew that he had made a mistake and because there was in comfort raising a hand because of what could go wrong, that also contributed to it. So, it’s really important that to me at least, it’s very important that you have a learning environment that gets reinforced from the top. Dan and Dale but tell me a little bit about the perspective that you share with audiences.

So, as you mentioned, we talked to every kind of company, and I have spoken to companies that it’s very obvious they say one thing and do something else. When it comes to safety, I’m there for a day for a presentation, or maybe I’m there for a few days, a few presentations. I feel like I have a platform to say things that the employees don’t feel comfortable saying. And so there have been times that I have mentioned it’s the company’s responsibility to provide you with all the training you need, to provide you with the PPE. You need all the equipment and the tools to do your job safely, but then it’s up to you to go out and do it safely. And so, there’s got to be a connection between, okay, Mr. Foreman, I need this new indicator or sensor or something. Well, okay, that doesn’t mean. I’m going to just get it, but at least I can tell you what it is I think we need that will improve the efficiency of our job. And of course, more safety is more efficient.

Sure.

We have to be able to communicate, and to me, that’s a lot of it the supervisors have to be open to the communication of what is it that you need. And the guys will have to say, the subordinates have to be able to say, this is why I need it. It’s not just that I want it because it’s a new toy. This is something that’s going to really improve my ability to do the job. That line of communication between employees and supervisors has to be open enough that everyone feels comfortable that they can do that. And so that starts with, I think, with the day you hire somebody.

They.

Start going through the initial training orientations, and they’re going to get a sense people are pretty smart overall. They’re going to get a sense of what’s being said that I could do, and they’re going to get a sense of what things really, we encourage you not to do. And if there is any kind of hesitation between or on that line of communication, they’re not going to go to a supervisor until they’ve seen it done. So, it has to start at the top with this open line of communication. Tell me what you need, I will see about getting it. An employee has to understand this budgetary issue. It may not happen sure. Right away. And that’s an issue too. When we want something, we want it. So, there’s got to be understanding on that end as well. But that’s a communication thing.

Agreed.

Go back to the Dark Ages. Everything was about communication.

Kayla, any closing thoughts from you? I think what I really love about your story is how the two of you kind of share the story, both from Brad’s perspective and also from the family standpoint as a favorite daughter. What would be some of the additional thoughts you’d have in terms of a message on the importance of putting safety first and some of the message around stopping work authority in a day-to-day world?

One of the things I talk about in my presentation is several years after the accident, dad had coworkers tell him that Tracy had done the exact same type of welding a couple of months earlier with that guy, and he had not stopped Tracy. And when dad told me that, it kind of made me angry because that coworker had just said something to Tracy or to a supervisor. Then on September 20, 1991, my dad might have come home that night. And so, I talked about the importance of if you see something going wrong, you need to say something, and you have a responsibility not just to that co-worker and not to the company, but to that coworker. Family. Because when you don’t say something and something goes wrong, their family is impacted too. Lives with it for ten months down the road and ten years down the road. And now here we are almost 31 years down the road, and we still live with it. So, my presentation is all about the ripple effect and how that one three-minute shortcut that my dad didn’t take that saved three minutes, how that has impacted us moving out, how it’s impacted him, how it’s impacted me, how it’s impacted, my children.

Research has shown that children who experience trauma at an early age go through life with an expectancy that the trauma is going to show up again. And it’s absolutely true. I see it played out in my life every day. That’s maybe being a little melodramatic, but nothing from you guys. But I do see it playing as I parent my own children and as I go off to work, I’m always waiting for something to go wrong because it went wrong when I was nine, so why would it not repeat itself? So that is how I drive home as I’m speaking. It’s not just about you. It’s about your co-worker and their family. It’s about your family. It’s about going home. Because whom do we all say we work safe for? We work safely for our children or our spouse or our parents or our dog. If I don’t go home tonight, who feeds my dog? Just those really simple things that we take for granted when we walk in the door at the end of the day, that we’re there because of safety and we have to be there tomorrow because of safety. That’s a decision we have to make.

Now, safety has to be forward-thinking. You have to constantly be looking for what could go wrong. What could go wrong if we don’t gauge these tanks? You have to constantly be looking for the next thing so that the next thing that your kids are looking forward to, which might be you helping them with their science project can happen.

Sure.

One of the things when Kayla first talked and started setting in on the, so she is sitting on safety meetings, they’re given TRS and a lot of different safety laws and acronyms. And Kayla said, dad, I don’t know what all those means. And so, I said to her, you don’t have to know. You’re not here as an employee who understands all those statistics are putting up on the slide. You’re here representing the family. So, she started saying and she incorporated that into a presentation about she’s good at pointing and she point to the crowd, she’ll say, I don’t know what your safety rules are and your regulations, and I don’t need to know. She said, I’m telling you as your children or I’m representing your children and your family standing here, and I’m telling you, I expect you to go to work and I expect you to come home. I don’t need to know what your rules are at work.

And they don’t care. Your kids don’t care about what rules and regulations, or your kids don’t care, in Dad’s case, about whom you do or do not like at work. They care that you’re there for their softball game.

Thank you very much for putting the effort that you do in sharing a story and convincing others to stay safe, to really reinforce within leaders and supervisors the impact that they have in terms of creating the right environment. I really appreciate the effort that you put into making that difference day in and day out. If somebody wants to bring you to present to their organization, what’s the best way for them to reach out to your website to connect with you?

Okay. That’s safetydifference.com and [email protected] will get you to where you can go straight to send us an email. And we’re both on that. We’re both on that website.

Absolutely. I really like the joint story that you bring because I think it’s easy to see one side but seeing the two sides just makes it even more powerful. So, thank you for joining together to share that message.

Thank you, Eric. We enjoy doing I appreciate you having us on.

Thank you for having us.

Thank you. All the best.

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Thank you for listening to the Safety Guru on C-suite Radio. Leave a legacy. Distinguish yourself from the path. Grow your success. Capture the hearts and minds of your teams. Elevate your safety. Like every successful athlete, top leaders continuously invest in their safety leadership with an expert coach to boost safety performance. Begin your [email protected] Come back in two weeks for the next episode with your host, Eric Michrowski. This podcast is powered by Propulo consulting.

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ABOUT THE GUEST

BRAD LIVINGSTON: Brad Livingston was involved in back to back explosions. The contributing factors to these explosions were the same as what exists in EVERY type of company EVERYWHERE – Shortcuts; Complacency; Pride; Bad Attitudes; Improper Perspectives. He explains ‘The Ripple Effect’, including what he went through, and more importantly, what his family went through, in such a way that those in attendance WILL understand why they CANNOT allow these factors to be a part of their workplace.
“You think it can’t happen to you?”
 
KAYLA RATH: Kayla Rath was nine years old when a decision her dad made at work nearly cost him his life. She tells the riveting story of what it was like to be pulled from school only to be told she may never see her father again. She walks the audience through what it is like for a child when an unsafe decision causes a dad to not come home. From the first night alone, to growing up with a handicapped father, Kayla speaks to the often ignored truth that decisions made on the work site cause a Ripple Effect in the lives of the family.
No matter the industry, no matter the job, from the CEO to the new hire, Kayla tells a story that your employees need to hear. Your decisions affect others. What happens when they affect the ones you love the most? Kayla travels the country with one goal in mind: to inspire workers to make decisions that will bring them home to their families each night.

For more information: http://www.safetydifference.com/

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The Lasting Legacy of Poor Safety Leadership & Culture with Louise Adamson

The lasting legacy of poor safety leadership & culture

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“At the end of the day, whatever you’re working on is never as important as your family back at home.” This Thanksgiving season, we are grateful to have Louise Adamson join the podcast as she recalls the events that led to the loss of her brother in a fatal workplace incident in 2005. Louise accentuates the critical need for safety leaders to possess greater care for their team members than the work product and expresses the life-altering ripple effect that serious injuries and fatalities have on loved ones.

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Real leaders leave a legacy. They capture the hearts and minds of their teams. Their origin story puts the safety and well-being of their people first. Great companies, ubiquitously have safe yet productive operations. For those companies, safety is an investment, not a cost. For the C-Suite, it is a real topic of daily focus. This is The Safety Guru with your host Eric Michrowski, a globally recognized ops and safety guru, public speaker, and author. Are you ready to leave a safe legacy? Your legacy success story begins now.  

Hi, and welcome to the safety guru. Today, I am very excited to have with me Louise Adamson. She is a workplace safety speaker and a former lawyer. Louise, welcome to the show.  

Thanks so much for having me on. It is a pleasure.  

Maybe share a little bit about your journey and really the story about your brother that got you really focused on driving change, positive change around the safety space.  

Okay, thanks. Well, my brother Michael, was an electrician, 26 years old. He left a home that he shared with his fiancé on the morning of the 4 August 2005, and he did not make it home to Lisa that night. So, what had happened was he originally had come into a job in Edinburgh. He then got a call midway through the day from a job his employer was working on in a city called Dundee. It was an all-hands-on-deck job to get a sports store and a gym complex completed for a handover to a client by the next again a day or else some penalty clauses were going to kick in. So, for a job worth 720 grand for Michael’s employer there is a fifteen grand late penalty clause if it is not handed over by 10:00 the next again morning. Did you know if is Michael willing to go? Well, this is a man who is saving for a wedding. He has been offered over this over time probably right through the night. So of course, he’s willing to go. So, he heads up to Dundee with two of his colleagues. They’ve done pieces of work in the afternoon, and they’ve had their evening tea break.  

He then heads back to work at 06:30 in the evening and at that point, he was only to continue working for the next 40 minutes. So, what he was doing, was collaborating with his colleague Jim and they were installing a security system. So, they were needing to connect a cable that was already in place within a ceiling void to one lead pulled in and Michael is on a set of steps. He’s got his head and shoulders above a full ceiling, he cuts a cable, and he throws it down to the gym. And that cable had a label on it on insulating tape just wrapped around it. And written on the label it said not in use, I do as then Michael is stripping the insulating material from that cable, he suffers a fatal electric shock. So, he fell off the ladder, he fell at Jim’s feet and efforts were made to survive them. But those efforts were unsuccessful in the end. 

I’m so sorry.  

So, it’s a 26-year-old man with his whole life ahead of him to live and he didn’t make it home that night because it’s often said that Michael died because of contact with electricity. No, my brother didn’t die because of contact with electricity. He died because that series of feelings came together and resulted in his death. So, on that site, there was ineffective management and supervision. There was the paperwork that was not put into practice, you’ve got incorrect equipment being used. So, Michael only had a multimeter available to him when he should have been using a voltage tester. There were time pressures being brought to bear. Clearly, with the penalty clauses about to kick in the next day, you’ve also got shortcuts potentially being taken. So, did my brother use what I’m told is referred to by electricians as the bang test? So, did he just try to cut that cable with his snips, wait on the bang to tell him it was life or not? We don’t know if that’s what he did because only he’d be able to tell us, but that’s one of the possibilities that we left with. So, you’ve got shortcuts in the mix, you’ve got a safety on the job.  

It was just seen as a tick box exercise. You had a risk assessment that wasn’t a living document. It was dated more than a year prior to their contract start date.  

Oh, my goodness. 

Dated prior to the contract has not even been awarded because it was one of these generic ones and no site-specific tailoring has been done to that risk assessment. So even at the point at which they energize the distribution boards, so they’re now live working, that risk assessment isn’t revisited. So, it is described by the Health and Safety Executive inspectors as being completely inadequate, so nothing living about that. And it also contributed to Michael’s death. And then I think the sort of final piece, the final hole in all of this is there was a workforce there that wasn’t confident enough to speak up if something was wrong. They were in that mindset of, we could speak up, but nobody’s going to do anything about it anyway. We’re coming to the end of the job. What’s the point if I do speak up? I’m seen as the troublemaker the person dobbin pals, so let’s just get on with it. So, all of these things come together and result in Michael’s death. There was a trial of his employer more than three years down the line after his death, and the outcome of that was that the HSC said that Michael’s death could have been prevented had his employer ensured that safe working practices were being conducted in accordance with the company’s own written procedures.  

And that is just you don’t know how hard that is for a family to have to hear and then went on to say that managers and supervisors must be taking active steps to ensure that electricians work safely. Well, for us, it’s not just about electricians there you swap out the word electricians, you’re swapping in the word workers, operatives. That applies to anything that’s going on any site. In Michael’s case, there were charges laid against three senior individuals. So, there was a managing director an operations director, and a technical services manager who were all charged with criminal health and safety offenses along with the employer company. But mistakes were made by the prosecutor and in the end, those three individuals got to leave the court, and walk free from the dock before the case got before the jury. So, the lawyer then for the company is kind of doing his grand summing up speech as you expect lawyers to do. But he’s referring to his client as being the invisible man now sitting on the dock. That being the employer company.  

Sure.  

So, it was the invisible man that was found guilty of the failures that led to my brother’s death and it was the invisible man that was fined £300,000. But that for us as a family, it doesn’t approach justice and absolutely nothing in the way of comfort. So that’s why I’m now trying to use Michael’s story and to use it to strike a chord with other people, to stop it from happening to other people. That is what now provides my family with the comfort of knowing that positives come from the awful thing that is Michael’s entirely preventable death.  

Yeah, it seems incredibly preventable, and everybody goes to work and expects to come back, nobody thinks about injuries and what could happen. And in this case, there are so many elements here that just show woeful inadequacy in terms of how the organization was being run. From a safety standpoint, they’re looking at hazards but not really understanding what they were. The risk assessment to me is something that should be absolutely living, but also something that people review as they change throughout the day. As the conditions change, they need to reassess the houses in front of them. It sounded like there was labelling saying that it wasn’t even a live wire. So, by all accounts, he’s trusting somebody else had done their job. So, it’s a layering of multiple errors and multiple inadequacies on top of each other.  

Absolutely going to say in terms of the wire, the plans had changed much earlier in the job, but nobody had up, nobody. So, while the plans changed, the written plans didn’t change. So, nobody documented a change in wiring plans. So that then compounds that failure in relation to the cable. 

I see. The other problem is you’ve got multiple crews coming in without it seemingly an onboarding to the job and so there are changes like that that get layered on. So, one topic I hear a lot is the importance of speaking up. And there are two elements that you touched on because speaking up requires two parts in my opinion. One is the employer creating an environment where I’m comfortable speaking up. Leaders recognize, lean in when somebody speaks up, stop work, and says, this is positive, I want to see more of it. And then the other is the peer-to-peer element because that’s also very important. Leaders have an important role in terms of fostering that as well. So, it’s not an abdication. But there are two elements because there are cases where the organization has done really well in terms of encouraging it, but peers think that I think somebody shared a story where they said, are you a man or a mouse when the person spoke up and stopped work. And so, peer pressure also becomes an element of it that the organization needs to drive forward. Any thoughts in terms of that part? Because speaking up is difficult.  

I’ve done it once I stop work. And when you know the consequences of it being very expensive, you think about it 10,000 times, is it really the right call? But it was recognized after by the executives that they lose the right choice to make. What are some of the things that you’ve seen to really drive that forward? 

I think reflect on him first on the fact that my brother wasn’t a shy, retiring individual. He was a ball she individual who, if something was wrong, he’d have no qualms about speaking up about it. He’d already challenged his employer previously about some work that they’d been doing where asbestos was present. So, he wasn’t off that mindset. So, I don’t understand why he didn’t speak up in this situation. So, I have to kind of second guess it. And I think a large element of it is that whole drive to get the job done, guys, we’re up against it and let’s come together as a team and let’s battle the odds and let’s beat the odds and we’re going to get this done by ten tomorrow morning. Nobody thinks we can do it, but we’re going to get it done. There’s that whole thing going on. I think so. I think the sheriff, the judge in the case, in our sentencing statement, said that there was a male macho, cavalier approach being adopted in that industry at the time. So, in terms of battling that, you do need the MD, the Ops director, whomever it might be, they’re the ones in that situation. 

They were the ones who needed to take the step back and say, we’re not going to put our people in this position where they are being made to make these choices. They were the ones who should have stood back and had a grown-up conversation with the principal contractor, the principal contractor with the client. Because I can see that it would be easy in that situation for the men on the ground to be swept up in that. Let’s achieve the impossible goal. And when you’re working in an organization where safety isn’t any sort of core value, it seems then it’s dangerous being an important point. 

Because of that desire to achieve a goal, often even in organizations that are fairly good at stopping work and creating that relief valve sometimes a desire of achieving a goal can get people to start straying into forgetting about how to achieve it safely. And I think an example recently was the whole inquiry into the Boeing 737 Max, and it was all a goal to let’s get this plane done because otherwise, Airbus had a superior plane. And at the point in time where the decision was made to progress, American Airlines was going to move most of its fleet on the Airbus side, whereas they had an entirely bowling fleet. So that created this goal of let’s make sure we get this plane done. And then lots of things fell apart in between. Not that that’s the only item, but people then forget about it, we have to do it safely, we have to make sure we know how to build a plane, we need to make sure we’re capturing it the right way, we’re getting the right diagrams, et cetera. And that goal can rally against the right purpose, the right choices. It doesn’t mean don’t have a goal.  

I think it’s just a question of how you mitigate that goal. How do you reinforce that the goal is to get this done safely and to pause if we see something right?  

This episode of the Safety Guru podcast is brought to you by Propulo Consulting, the leading safety and safety culture advisory firm. Whether you are looking to assess your safety culture, develop strategies to level up your safety performance, introduce human performance capabilities, reenergize your BBS program, enhance supervisory safety capabilities, or introduce unique safety leadership training and talent solutions, Propulo has you covered. Visit us at propulo.com.  

Yeah, and I often reiterate that because the Health and Safety Executive Inspector who investigated Michael’s death, I met him just a couple of years ago, and he was saying to me, supervisor level back at that time, and he was quite sure to a degree still today is that their number one priority is getting a job done on time. And I’m always saying that’s not what it should be. It should be to get that job done safely. Safely isn’t that added extra? It’s the on-time part that sure added extra so safely. 

And that requires a lot of messaging that really reinforces that story consistently within the organization. Particularly in the case of the production pressure, you’re mentioning, because here there are penalty clauses. Unfortunately, that production pressure seeps in a lot, even in organizations that have good management systems, just, we got to get this done. Have you seen anything or is there any advice that you share with organizations in terms of how to mitigate that production pressure, so it doesn’t impact the choices that somebody makes? 

I guess that’s really about explaining to people why they’re there. At the end of the day, the sports store my brother was working on, was going to open regardless of how long it took. They’re up against time pressures, so they’re throwing bodies at that job to try to get this all-hands-on-deck job completed. And in the process of that, they threw an actual body at that job, my brothers. And the goal at the end of the day, whatever you’re working on is never as important as your family back at home. And that’s what people need. They shouldn’t need to be reminded of that. But as we’ve already talked about, there is that whole getting swept up in a certain mentality sometimes. So it is that core value, that leadership. Actually, the biggest thing that they care about is the people that are working for them. Not whatever the product or building or whatever it might be at the end of that, it’s the people that they care about the most. 

Yeah. And I think that’s really the message that you share really an organization has to do so much more, has to recognize to create an environment, a culture where people get home every day to their loved ones. And the impact of an event like this, somebody passing away, somebody getting seriously injured, is a life-changing impact for multiple people around that person.  

Yeah, absolutely. And we still hear about new people who’ve been impacted in other ways by what happened to my car. And we’re now 17 years on from his death. But we know about the immediate family, friends, his colleagues who were there at the time. Sorry, we know about the impact it had on them because we see it. We see it day in, day out, we see it. We hold an annual memorial golf tournament for him. So, we hear from his colleagues that kind of the impact that it still has on them and how much they miss him. But then I’ll be speaking at an event, and somebody will come and say to me, oh, I know the first aider who stopped by the C-suite where Michael was working. He just happened to be walking past when this happened, and he helped provide CPR to your brother and he’s still impacted. And until more than a decade after Michael’s death, we knew nothing about this man and about the help that he provided. So, the ripple effect is so wide. I’ve just recently had a colleague of Michaels get in touch and she’s now working in safety as a result of what happened to Michael.  

So, there are so many ripples, so many negative ripples, but also, I hope, so many positive ripples are now being created out of Michael’s death. And I was speaking at a new-born graduation on Monday and I’m saying that I hope at some point these ripples all come together and then it’s that sort of ground swell of positivity so that we know that other lives have been saved as a result of what happened to him and being able to talk about what happened to him and getting lessons learned from what happened to him. 

Which is so important. Really. For other organizations. Other leaders. Recognize the importance of really leading for safety and for others in terms of the day-to-day choices or making how they show up as a supervisor. How do they show up as a leader? So, Louise, thank you very much for sharing your story. It’s still a very difficult, raw story to share because there will never really be closure. But I think the importance of sharing the story, the message, I think helps make sure somebody else comes home safe to the loved ones. So, I appreciate the work that you’re doing. If somebody wants to have you speak to their organization, how can they get in touch with you? 

So, they find me on LinkedIn, or you’ll get me on the website michaelsstory.Net or email [email protected], that would be fantastic. Thanks, Eric.  

Cheers. Thank you very much, Louise. 

Thank you for listening to the Safety Guru on C-suite Radio. Leave a legacy. Distinguish yourself from the pack. Grow your success. Capture the hearts and minds of your teams. Elevate your safety. Like every successful athlete, top leaders continuously invest in their safety leadership with an expert coach to boost safety performance. Begin your journey at execsafetycoach.com. Come back in two weeks for the next episode with your host, Eric Michrowski. This podcast is powered by Propulo consulting.  

The Safety Guru with Eric Michrowski

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Eric Michrowski: https://ericmichrowski.com

ABOUT THE GUEST

Louise Adamson spent 13 years working as an employment lawyer for a top Scottish firm.  However, a personal tragedy led to her attentions becoming focused on the field of health and safety. Her brother Michael was only 26 years old and engaged to be married when he lost his life in an electrical incident which could and should have been prevented. Lessons must be learned and Louise now tells Michael’s story on-screen and in workplaces across many sectors and on major projects.  She has spoken internationally, travelling to Australia and widely throughout Europe.  And has delivered her brother’s story on-screen to workplaces globally. In the last year alone it has made a positive impact in health and safety leadership, culture and practices from the west coast of the USA, through Central and South America, across Europe and Asia, and on to Australia. She is a NEBOSH Ambassador and has previously been named the UK’s Most Influential Person in Health and Safety by SHP Magazine. Louise is also a trustee of health and safety charity Scottish Hazards, where she is focussed on securing long-term funding for an occupational health and safety advice, training and support service for workers. Her primary aim in all she does is to stop anyone else from losing their life or their loved one in a preventable workplace incident.  

For more information: [email protected]

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Unlock your full potential with the only Executive Safety Coaching for Ops & HSE leaders available on the market.

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Scoring a Touchdown with Safety Culture with Dr. Josh Williams

Scoring a Touchdown with Safety Culture

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“Improving safety culture is vital to long-term performance excellence.” We are very excited to have Dr. Josh Williams join us on the podcast this week to dive into how to bolster safety culture as he shares his insights into the five core competencies of safety leadership. Forward thinking leaders must continually consider ways to enhance safety culture. Explore ways to improve the effectiveness of your safe culture by visiting https://www.ratemysafetyculture.com/ to complete the safety culture self-assessment uniquely created by Dr. Josh.

READ THIS EPISODE

Real leaders leave a legacy. They capture the hearts and minds of their teams. Their origin story puts the safety and well-being of their people first. Great companies, ubiquitously have safe yet productive operations. For those companies, safety is an investment, not a cost. For the C suite, it’s a real topic of daily focus. This is The Safety Guru with your host, Eric Michrowski, a globally recognized ops and safety guru, public speaker, and author. Are you ready to leave a safety legacy? Your legacy success story begins now. 

Hi, and welcome to the Safety Guru. Today I’m extremely excited to have with me Dr. Josh Williams, who’s probably one of our favorite guests on the podcast. He’s a great resource in terms of safety culture, safety leadership, and observation programs do a lot of work in this space. Josh, welcome to the show once again. 

Thanks, glad to be here. 

So, tell me a little bit again about your background and how you got interested and passionate about safety leadership, safety culture, the behavioral side of safety, and so forth. 

When I was in grad school, I was getting a Ph.D. in industrial organizational psychology, and honestly Eric, I was kind of bummed out. It just felt very theoretical. There’s a lot of statistical stuff. It was good, but it didn’t feel practical. And I had the chance to work with a guy named Scott Galler, whom many of the listeners may know was at the forefront of safety culture and behavior-based safety. He and a guy named Tom Kraus, formerly of BBS, really started behavior-based safety or at least popularized it. And it was great because we were doing real stuff with real people and I just immediately enjoyed it and the mission of two things, one, trying to keep people out of harm’s way, but also getting leaders to listen to folks a little more when making decisions. It just felt right. It felt like we were fighting a good fight and I’ve been doing it, I guess for 25-something years now.

Welcome back to the show. So, let’s start a little bit by talking about safety culture, why it matters, and you’ve authored a great quiz on safety culture. We’re going to talk about some of the themes within it that allow listeners to reflect, to see how they’re doing around safety culture and whether should they go deeper in terms of understanding how to drive improvements. But let’s start first in terms of why safety culture matter. 

Culture is everything. It really is. I’m going to struggle with a sports analogy here. I’m not a huge Alabama fan or a Nick Saban fan necessarily, but you’ve got to respect what he’s established. That Alabama. He comes in and just completely turned around a proud team that had fallen on hard times for many years. They were cycling through different coaches. He came in and it was an immediate turnaround and it stuck. I was watching the game a couple of years ago and I’ll make this as quick as I can, but I was just kind of flipping through channels and I see the score. Alabama beat New Mexico State 62 to ten. 

Wow.

And they’re doing a press conference and Nick Saban is irate and he’s kind of containers anyway, but they’re asking him questions and he’s not happy. Why aren’t you happy, Nick? These are his quotes I went through and kind of went back and forth and wrote down almost verbatim. But these were his comments. We didn’t play up to our high standards for large parts of the game. We didn’t get better this week compared to last week. And when you don’t get better, you start developing bad habits and bad habits lead to problems down the road, especially against better opponents. And then his final comment was you’ve got to play to your own high standard every day. And that stuck with me because you know as well as I do, a lot of times we get called in because you have a rash of injuries and all we’ve got a problem, we’ve got to fix it. And people get so tied into these injury numbers and injury rates. The flip side is sometimes you could be doing really good on the injury numbers, but complacency is setting in. The normalized deviation is setting in. We haven’t seen it yet because nobody’s gotten hurt.

But the point I’m trying to make is playing to your own standard, having a culture of excellence in everything you do, doesn’t mean you’re perfect, and it doesn’t mean things aren’t going to go wrong. But you play to your standards and not some number, whether it went up or down last month, last quarter, this, that, or the other. So, I hope that makes sense to the listeners. It’s just that safety is part of who we are and how we operate, and we want to establish that culture of excellence it takes effort, it takes vision, it takes looking in the mirror. Safety culture assessments are big in large part because it gives people an opportunity to see where I am good. Where am I not so good? What’s the plan to get better? 

I think that’s a really important element and really getting a good view, talking to people about what was happening. What are the themes, how do we address them it, and how do we drive improvements? So, tell me about some of the themes in the quiz that you authored because I think it’s a good tool for listeners to have a quick scan to say how’s my culture? Not doing an assessment, just doing a quick scan self-reflection in terms of where I could get better. 

Yes, a lot of its own leadership, having that ownership mindset at the leadership level, it’s not EHS’s job, it’s everybody’s job but mine as a leader. I’m setting the tone for everybody. Active participation from employees. He talks about employee engagement. That’s the big buzzword. What’s this big mystery? It’s not that much of a mystery. Listen to your people, be responsive, and then advertise improvements based on their feedback. That’s how you get involved. It’s not some secret. It just takes effort and energy. Learning culture with close call reporting, making sure incident analysis is system-focused and not blame-oriented. And then other things like making sure rules make sense, they’re practical, having the right tools and equipment, et cetera. But leadership is really, in my mind, where a lot of it starts. And if I can just let me go through a couple of things really quick here. In terms of leadership competencies, we did a bunch of research looking at what are good predictors of effective leadership. And in terms of safety leadership, five core competencies come through. I’ll go through each R1 quickly. 

Sure. 

The first one is active caring. And of course, my mentor, Scott Gellard, used the term active carrying many years ago in reference to something that happened at ExxonMobil. People in a room, we’re asking questions. Why aren’t we doing X, Y, and Z ah? Nobody cares. Nobody cares. Then he started talking about it, that people care, but they weren’t doing something about it. So active caring is not just being a good guy or a good person. Active caring is going out and doing something. Quick example, I was working at a steel mill, not at an I was consulting for a company that was a steel mill, and they had an awful plan. Manager, old school, crack the whip, scare people off, rule by fear. It was a mess, and they fired them, which was a smart move. They bring in this new guy named Bob. And Bob’s, the first order of business is to set up meetings with everybody in this facility, and everybody is unhappy. 30 minutes. Meetings called 30 minutes with Bob. And not a sexy name for the meeting, but it got everybody in there, and he just asked people, what do you need? What can we do? 

And it was an immediate change in tone and immediate change in culture because this guy comes in and says, I want to hear from you. How can we get better? And so active caring is having the right intentions but doing something about it. Walking to talk, of course, is setting the right example and making sure you’re doing what you say you’re doing. So, for leaders, it’s being out in the field, listening to people, talking to people. Something as simple as wearing your PPE. I’ve seen that too. We’re going to do a couple of stories here. But we were at a facility, and this is 20 years ago. I’m dating myself, but we’re working with this company, and they are struggling. I mean, they can’t even get PPE. People are fighting over hearing protection glasses. So, we’re making some progress. And then they interviewed the CEO who was talking to Morley Safer. It was a big show, like 20 2016 minutes. One of those, anyway, he’s in the middle of operations with four trucks flying around talking about profits and how they were successful financially with no PPE on zero during operations. And we’re like, oh my God, that was it.

All the progress excuses me, with PPE out the window immediately. So, walking the talk is not just having nice corporate messaging. It’s doing what you say you’re going to do. Here’s another example in terms of leadership and listening to your people and how you’re treating them. I’m in a big facility that creates these small little bearings for vehicles. I think I didn’t remember now, but this is again, many years ago, and they had a guy who cuts his head open, and they’re doing an incident investigation, and the plant manager is in there and he asked the guy, why didn’t you have your hard hat on? That’s a requirement. And the guy says to him, I thought I did. I had my baseball cap on it. I followed my heart hat and is telling the story. And the plan manager stops the, quote, investigates, goes on a PA system and says literally to everybody, attention all employees. Baseball caps are no longer allowed in the building. You have ten minutes to return all baseball caps to your vehicles, and effective immediately, they’re no longer allowed in the building.

True. 

Anyway, people are like, what’s going on? They go to their cars and trucks and whatever, throw their caps and come back in. They’re not happy. They’re grumbling about it. And anyway, so the next day they come in, and most people, and of course not wearing their caps, but one little section of this big building, this big factory, they kind of did a mini revolt. They came in, no baseball caps, but they had on cowboy hats. One guy had a football, one guy had an authentic Mexican. Sombrero from Tijuana, the little tassels come down and they’re their jobs doing their work. And it was their way of saying, this isn’t right. And the point manager was smart, and he kind of pumped the brakes on that and they had some discussions and made some changes. But it kind of goes to show you people don’t like being told what to do. And oftentimes you have an injury and all of a sudden, what do you do? Okay, we’re going to retrain the employee. We’re going to throw a new rule out there. Then all of a sudden, you got 61 million rules. So, I think you got to be careful with how we handle that. 

Again, watch the knee-jerk reactions. Listen to your people, and just be smart about implementing new things and building and living. The vision is the next one. So, you’ve got a vision, you share that vision. People feel that vision. It’s legitimate, it’s real, it’s authentic. Recognition is another part of it. Number four is reward and foster growth. When we provide appreciation and sincere recognition, two things happen. One, I’m more likely to do it next time. That’s why we give our kids allowances. It’s like, you did good, here’s a financial reward. Now the reward and recognition don’t have to be money appreciation. I think the default recognition is not a program, although it can be good. Default recognition is just appreciation. People working hard under difficult circumstances, they got a lot going on in their personal lives. There’s a lot of stuff happening when you see people going beyond the call of duty, in particular for safety, mentoring a newer employee, etc. E. A little pad on the background again, goes a long way. People appreciate being appreciated. So, the last one is driving thinking and speaking. People that are on the job, doing the job know what’s going on. 

And if we listen to what they’re saying, it doesn’t mean we’re going to do everything they recommend. But people understand what’s going on and we’ve got to drive that ground-level engagement and participation to be successful. Another quick example is Eric. The same steel mill I mentioned earlier had a problem lockout tag out. They called it lockout tag out tryout. And the challenge was people weren’t doing it. And in a steel mill, if you’re not locking something out, you can get hurt or killed in that area. It’s dangerous. So the supervisor is like, okay, well, we’re going to if we don’t, they start threatening people. One of the employees had a suggestion to get a team together and talk about the issue. Just, let’s just take a step back. And when they did, they found where you were locked out was not in the appropriate place. The rules for lockout tag out were convoluted and hard to understand different opinions on how to do it. By simply getting together, they shortened the process of how it was done. They made everything closer to the person to make it easier to save time because they had ridiculous production pressure. 

But the solution was made from an employee’s suggestion to change the system. Don’t just come down with a heavier hammer. So, driving thinking and speaking is a big part of getting that engagement and improving the overall safety culture. 

It makes a lot of sense, and a lot of focus in terms of leadership as a key lever to drive improvements in culture. What are some of the other things? Leadership obviously really is the key lever to drive change around safety culture. But in some cases, culture can be also a legacy. Could be something that comes from the past. 20 years ago, a CEO did X and it’s still in the present memory and it’s still shaping the behaviors, the choices, and the attitudes of people.

This episode of the Safety Guru podcast is brought to you by Propulo Consulting, the leading safety, and safety culture advisory firm. Whether you are looking to assess your safety culture, develop strategies to level up your safety performance, introduce human performance capabilities, reenergize your BBS program, enhance supervisory safety capabilities, or introduce unique safety leadership training and talent solutions. Propulo has you covered. Visit us at propulo.com. 

100%. And the first thing I’ll say is the system. So, if you want to look at it holistically. Big picture. If you’re trying to get more predictable results with your incident rates, it doesn’t fluctuate out of control. If you want to get more control over that and also improve sift prevention, three things to look at are one mindset, and attitudes. Number two, your behavior, what people are looking for. Number three is the system. And for many years, particularly in the house Ion days of BBS, the system was taking a backseat. And if we don’t focus on the system, we have problems. So, systems are things like when things go wrong, our first response should be, where did the system fail? Don’t blame somebody. Where did the system fail? It could be excessive time pressure. It could be we don’t have enough people for this job. It could be we don’t have the right tools and equipment readily available to do it. It could be we got a bunch of boring online training. When I first hired on, I don’t remember any of it, and now I’m throwing the wolves out there. Those system factors are big, and I think organizational leaders are well served to focus on tightening up those systems as a close call, reporting behavior-based safety. 

These are systems and when the systems are running smoothly and we’re getting ongoing communication up and down the organization, everything else works better. And by the way, it’s easier for leaders to hold people accountable. We talk about positive accountability. You don’t want to be heavy-handed, but you also can go too far the other way and let everything slide. And when your standards drop, the injuries pop up too. My point on that is, as a leader, if I know my systems are tight and most people are doing the right thing, when you have outliers that are repeatedly not doing the right thing or doing egregious things, it’s easier to punish, quite frankly, because we understand we’ve got our system. It’s not the system that’s the challenge. We’ve got that figured out. So, I think system factors are a big, big part of it, I would say on the other side too. On the behavior side, we know from National Safety Council 9 that 5% of all injuries do in part to add risk behavior. That doesn’t mean blaming people now, but it just means risky actions. You’re increasing the probability of something going wrong, basically. And if we can minimize risky behavior, that can be done in a lot of ways.

One, engage people more behavior-based safety. I just mentioned we did a study with NIOS many years ago. Picture this, Eric, me and a bunch of other grad students are going into this environment doing training with these guys, looking at us like, who are you, youngsters? We’re going and doing this training with two different groups and they’re not either one is really happy, but we do our training, and then we implement a behavior-based safety process. So, you’ve got if you’re familiar with behavior-based safety, folks, the cards, you’ve got various things like proper tools and equipment, body position, things like that. Anyway, one group was given a card and said, go use it. The other group, we work with them to create their own card, how it was going to be used when it was going to be used, and where it was going to be used. That group that had their own card that they created themselves, we call it the ownership group used their card seven times more.

Seven times more. 

We were shocked. If we had gotten double, we would have fallen out of our seats seven times more. Said very clearly, employee engagement matters. And I think people want to get more involved, and they want to speak up with each other more too. On one of the surveys, they used to use years ago, one of the questions is, should you tell somebody if they’re being risky? 90% of people are saying, yeah, you should tell them. The next question on the survey is, do you, do it? And it was like 660-something percent.

Wow.

So, to me, that’s an eye-opener. I want to get involved, but our culture is macho. You do your thing; I do my thing. Don’t tell me how to do my job, all that nonsense. So, we want to do it, and sometimes we’re reluctant to speak up. So, I think part of that learning culture we talked about too, is making it acceptable and normal to speak up with each other. It doesn’t have to be a supervisor or safety when they see something that doesn’t quite feel right. So, there are just a couple of thoughts there. Make sure we don’t get focused on one thing. Focus on attitudes and behaviors and the system.

I love that safety culture is something that’s widely discussed and accepted. How do you measure it? The right way.

The wrong way is to give somebody 150 items, as a survey, and everybody goes to fill it out. That’s the wrong way. Surveys are good, but they’re a good tool. But they’re only one tool out of many. So of course, when we do our assessments, we focus on talking to people and interviewing people, whether it’s in groups, whether it’s one on one. But we’ve got questions that we’re asking on important things like learning culture and leadership, things like that. But people will tell you, and we use a survey to supplement that. But that gives us an overall picture. When we do it. We’ve got our maturity model, and it goes from disengaged a citizen, and there are various steps in between, but it shows you where you are, where is your starting point, and what’s your baseline. Because if you’re trying to get better, you got to know where you stand. And those assessments do a good job of that, and it also affects what you can do. So if your maturity is low, you don’t want to be trying to shoot the moon, doing all kinds of crazy stuff. You need the basic foundational stuff to try to get better. If you’re further along, you’re more advanced.

You can start doing things like human performance, or we call it Bhop, behavioral safety, and human performance. Those kinds of things are more achievable if you’re further along the road. So those assessments are really good. The other thing I’ll say on that too, and I’ve seen this with other organizations that kind of do what we do is sometimes that’s the end of it. Here’s your 1165-page report. Enjoy it. Also, if you have any questions, we’re here for you. And that’s it. Of course, we do. Planning all that information you get, all that is ammunition for your plan, like, what are we going to do? And that’s where you get groups together. We recommend getting hourly folks involved, field folks involved, and union folks involved. We’ve got a union at some levels, and we plan it out. All right, so this is good. Got to keep doing that. This is not good. Got to get better. What are we going to do? And line it all out. And sometimes, as you know, we’ll do five-year plans with it. It could be simple, it could be complicated, but what are we going to do?

What are the three, or four big things we got to get done? Who is going to do it? When are we going to do it? Where do we need to help? What potential resistance is there? And by lining everything out, very specifically, going back to Nick Savin. He didn’t roll into College Station to play Texas A and M winging it. Let’s see what works here. They’ve got the plan, and they’ve got contingency plans if plan A is not working. So, part of the preparation for getting better is to understand where you’re at and get a smart strategic plan.

Moving forward, a couple of things just come to mind based on what you just shared. So, one for me is it’s not a safety culture assessment if you don’t have a combination of surveys with interviews and focus groups kicking the tires in terms of how the work gets done at a site level, and then finally, also looking at artifact reviews, looking at how is a culture shaped by system items. Any thoughts on that? Because to me, that’s the part is a lot of people do one part of this and think it’s a safety culture assessment, but it’s only by looking at all those three elements can you really assess the culture. In my mind, 100% a part of it.

That too is talking to executives. Sometimes there’s a heavy focus on field employees, which is good. We’ll do system assessments with executives like we’ll do artifact reviews. You say close-call reporting is good. Show us what you’re doing. I don’t mean that to be challenging. But sometimes reality and perceptions aren’t always the same. So, I think speaking more to executives and getting some tangibles in terms of stuff that you’re doing also gives you a more complete picture.

Okay. The other part that drives me bonkers when we’re talking about surveys is an obsession with benchmarking. I want to compare myself with everybody else in my industry, and I get that, for example, in employee engagement surveys. But because of the nature of surveys in safety culture, I’m not saying there’s no value in it, but my challenge is too often I’ve seen a company that has lower maturity from a safety culture standpoint, have higher scores and a really good maybe have lower scores because as you get better, you start becoming more self-critical. And if you know very little about what you could look like or should look like, you might look very positive.

Yeah, I’m with you. I mean, I think benchmarking is a nice thing to have, but people take way too much faith in that. As I said, I’ve seen the same thing. Some awful organization, they get a bunch of vests and they’re like, oh my god, they care about us. You should have had vests 15 years ago, man. It can be misleading. And sometimes the really, really good organizations are more critical because they have the mindset of excellence, and they may raise themselves lower than they really are. So, I get your point there. I think it’s nice to have, but I’m more interested, frankly, in various iterations of the survey. Like five years ago we were here, two years ago we were here. And I think that’s something that’s smart too for companies. It’s not a one-and-done deal. You do an assessment, see how much you’ve progressed, do another one, two, or three years later. It doesn’t have to be as intent. It can be on a smaller scale, but that to me is more interesting. And also, comparisons between groups, whether, for instance, managers are telling us this, employees are telling us something different, and the scores on the survey may be quite different sometimes the higher you go anyway, so that’s one issue. 

And also, different groups. Maintenance is saying this, operations are saying that. And so the scores are interesting when they’re different, but also the comments from the interviews in the focus groups. So again, I think the best benchmarking is within your own organization, and also from the time one to time two to time three.

And I think the points you bring up there I think are important because it’s looking at even between-group differences. You have an overall culture, but you could have a microculture within a particular environment. We had somebody on the podcast that had a serious injury, and he came from an organization that had, by all accounts, a fairly, fairly mature safety culture. But in his specific area, there were a lot of challenges from a leadership standpoint, and people showed up in a very, very different, noncongruent way from the rest of the organization. So, understanding those differences, as you said, I think is incredibly important. The other element is longitudinally understanding how we’re shifting. I love pulse surveys as an indicator of how we’re making progress, even with higher frequency. So, as you’re driving improvements to check or is it landing with employees, are we actually seeing the impact? If I’m doing leadership training, am I feeling my leader showing up in a different way?

100% and that’s hard. I can add more really quick here too, in terms of how our leaders show up. Executive coaching, I think, is a big one. And just from experience, when we’re able to get into higher levels of the organization and talk to people, at the executive level, it’s different and it doesn’t mean it’s always easy, but that sets the tone. And again, I think sometimes with assessments, in particular, we miss the mark as we only talk to the EHS director, which is a very important position, but there are a lot of things that are also happening at the C-suite level that we need to address. So, I think executive coaching, when it’s paired with assessment-type work, is really good because you’ve got a strategic plan, and you need help from the top to get there. I don’t care who you are. So that’s something I think to consider as well.

And it also relates back to your story when you’re talking about Bob, who came into me, is when a new leader comes in and needs to show change, it’s very important to have a good strategy around what signals are you going to share. Because we talked about how culture can be based on something that happened 20 years ago in the organization that’s still in the present memory. So how does a leader come in and send some very intentional signals to show things have changed? I am going to show up differently or we’re going to show up differently.

100%.

So, great place to start. I love your quiz. Ratemysafetyculture.com so that’s a website. No gimmicks, no catches, completely anonymous. It just allows you to ask a couple of questions, 15 questions in total. To give you a bit of a sense in terms of where you’re at, should you consider some improvements, what are some of the areas of focus? So ratemycafetyculture.com it’s definitely not a safety culture assessment, it’s just a personal self-reflection to see how my organization is doing. So, I encourage people to go and visit their website, try it out, and get a few simple insights. And Josh, I’m sure they can always reach out to you if they want to have more conversations about, what does it mean, how do I make improvements, and how do I know where I’m at?

100% and I’ll give you more sports analogies.

So, Josh, thank you so much for joining us. Once again, I really appreciate you sharing yours. Wisdom around safety leadership, safety culture, and again, recommend anybody to go to the website ratemycafetyculture.com. No gimmicks. Just a good self-reflection quiz to say how am I doing? You’ll find links as well to all sorts of other quizzes that Josh has authored that help you look at different facets of safety culture, safety leadership, learning organizations, and so forth to see how you’re doing. So once again, thank you so much, Josh, for joining me today.

My pleasure. Thank you.

Thank you for listening to the Safety Guru on C-suite Radio. Leave a legacy. Distinguish yourself from the past. Grow your success. Capture the hearts and minds of your teams. Elevate your safety. Like every successful athlete, top leaders continuously invest in their safety leadership with an expert coach to boost safety performance. Begin your journey at execsafetycoach.com. Come back in two weeks for the next episode with your host, Eric Michrowski. This podcast is powered by Propulo consulting.

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ABOUT THE GUEST

Dr. Josh Williams is a partner at Propulo Consulting. For more than 20 years, Josh has partnered with clients around the world to improve safety culture and prevent SIFs. Dr. Williams earned his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Virginia Tech and is a behavioral safety, human performance, and safety culture improvement expert. Josh is the author of Keeping People Safe: The Human Dynamics of Injury Prevention and co-editor of Keys to Behavior Based Safety. He has published more than 150 book chapters, government reports, white papers, blogs and articles in leading journals. Josh has also delivered hundreds of presentations at leading national conferences and is a highly regarded public speaker. He received the Cambridge Center National First Prize for his research on behavioral safety feedback.

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Implementing Effective Stretching Programs to Reduce Injuries with Patte Ackermann

Implementing effective stretching programs to reduce injuries

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Patte Ackerman joins us on the podcast this week to discuss the many benefits of implementing effective stretching programs in the workplace. Tune in as she shares the life-changing effects just seven minutes of stretching can produce and the need for safety leaders to embrace and champion stretching at work. After all, studies have shown that stretching improves coordination and balance, increases blood flow, and makes us happier!

READ THIS EPISODE

Real leaders leave a legacy. They capture the hearts and minds of their teams. Their origin story puts the safety and well-being of their people first. Great companies, ubiquitously have safe yet productive operations. For those companies, safety is an investment, not a cost. For the C suite, it is a real topic of daily focus. This is The Safety Guru with your host, Eric Michrowski, a globally recognized ops and safety guru, public speaker, and author. Are you ready to leave a safe legacy? Your legacy success story begins now.

Hi, and welcome to the Safety Guru. Today I am very excited to have Patte Ackermann with me. Patte is an industrial physical therapist who has done incredible work across multiple organizations to help reduce injuries, predominantly by implementing Ergonomic programs. We will get into a lot of the details very soon. Based out of St. Louis, Missouri, Patte, welcome to the show. 

Thank you for having me. I am happy to be here. 

Excellent. So, Patte, why do not we kick off by sharing a little bit about what got you into industrial stretching programs and maybe some of your backgrounds? 

I am a physical therapist and got into physical therapy after getting a degree in physical therapy, physical education, and corporate fitness. So, I was exploring, trying to make workplaces healthier and happier, but I was not getting enough education that I needed. So, then I went to physical therapy school where I got my physical therapy and my psychology degrees. And I say that every day. I use my physical therapy, psychology, and injury prevention physical education degrees as I try to help companies. So, in my first job initially out of college, I worked in a traditional physical therapy setting to start off my career. And then I saw an ad it said, physical therapist, would you like to work with healthy workforces, keeping them healthier, helping them try to stay out of the physical therapy clinics? And that job was made for me, and I have been doing that for 31 years now. So as a physical therapist, as an industrial physical therapist, I spent part of my time treating injured workers and doing physical therapy. But I only do it at job sites, which allows me to use the tools of people’s industry in their rehabilitation. So, if somebody is a forklift operator, probably in rehabilitation, we’ll be climbing on and off of forklifts. 

If somebody uses a sledgehammer throughout their normal days, we are going to be using a sledgehammer in physical therapy. So, it made me really functional minded treating patients like this, which led me to what I do most of the time, which is injury prevention.

Right. One of the things I want to touch on is stretching programs. I have seen them being incredibly beneficial, predominantly in industries like in construction where it gets implemented, utilities on the construction side of the utility side. But let us talk about who really needs stretching programs and why. It is really important to start really thinking about that as part of your safety programs.

I am glad you asked. Stretch programs are probably what I do the most with injury prevention. And people ask me, who is the appropriate candidate for a stretching program? And I say anybody who has a physically demanding job, which is all of us. If somebody sits all day, that is hard on your body. So even somebody who sits all day in an office space can benefit from a stretching program. So, I do stretch programs with office workers, construction workers, people in manufacturing, and public utilities, along with any kinds of jobs that people have because everybody’s bodies are in harm’s way. And I think stretching can help them reduce the discomfort that they encounter on a regular basis.

Yeah, absolutely. There are some industries that need more you mentioned a lot of people have demanding jobs. Construction is where I have seen this the most embedded, but it’s not the only demanding job. There are demanding jobs in manufacturing and all sorts of different sectors. So, what would trigger an organization to say, let us look at this? 

Well, I get the phone calls when a company has an increase in musculoskeletal injuries, and it might be on any body part, or when people are expressing discomfort, they’re not having the injuries, but they’re saying, you know what, my body is getting tired throughout the workday.

Sure. 

And that is when I usually get a call like, hey, Patte, what can you do to help us remain more comfortable both on and off the job? Yes, construction is very well known now for doing stretch programs. And one of the reasons it is so well known is it’s a captured workplace. So, everybody starts at the same place on a construction C-suite, and so that is why it’s easier there. But in manufacturing, we can have people starting in the same place too. And I do like the group stretch programs, so those are some of the most physically demanding, the construction sites and manufacturing. 

How does stretching really help? And what are some of the things that you should be looking for in terms of a good stretching program for the work site? 

So that is a bunch of questions. So, stretching, how does it help? The main thing that I think stretching helps us do, and this is whether you’re Patte, celebrating her weekend or somebody who’s about to use a jackhammer, stretching lets your body know you’re going from a period of inactivity, driving into work, laying down in bed, to activity, the physical demands of your day without undue force. So let your body know, whoops, let us stop working on digestion. Let us stop working on revitalizing ourselves. We need that blood flow to be working with the muscles. And it lets your body know that you are about to start doing some activity. Stretching helps benefit by improving our coordination and balance. It feels good. It increases blood flow. It can warm us up. And as studies are showing now, this is one of the things that I’m using a lot right now. Stretching makes us happy because when you stretch, you release endorphins in your brain, and endorphins are those happy drugs in our brains. So, stretching can also make you happy. And believe me, I tell everybody that they need to stretch in order to be happier. It works for me. 

And one of the things that I have seen in certain organizations, some of them has really high engagement and high involvement of the workforce around stretching. And in other organizations, it is really a long haul. People do not really want to do it. It feels forced. What have you seen over the years that gives employees, first and foremost, want to do it to get excited about doing starters or starting stretches in the morning?

Well, some of the things that I found successful in getting better employee engagement is before I start a program, I ask the employees, hey, where do you feel discomfort throughout your workday? What body parts feel tired when you get home? What hurts throughout the day? What hurts? And I use the information that they share with me. Maybe they say, my feet hurt. And Eric. It is always surprising. The person, the supervisor who hires me, they are like, oh, everybody’s planning about shoulders. And I will show up there and people will say, it is my feet, it is my back. Like, it is never just one body part. And some people will say, my feet hurt throughout the day. And based on the information that I’m getting from the workers, I’ll ask them, oh, your feet hurt? Does this stretch feel good? And I will show them a stretch, and usually, it is a stretch, it feels pretty good. And I will show them the stretch and ask them to try it. And if they report that it helps with their discomfort, that will be one of the stretches that we use in that company-specific stretch program. So, when I come back out and show them the stretches, they know that the information that I have gathered has come from the work.

They have been telling me; that this is where we feel discomfort. And then they have helped me determine which stretches are going to be best for that workforce. So, getting employee engagement is very important. Listening to the workers is very important. Not just showing up with a canned program. I really like to do a specific stretch program for that company, that shift, that group, that job title. And that is one of the things. Longevity is a big mystery. The enthusiasm of whom they work with, whom they bring in, and the skill set of whom they bring in, is of course important. But really, if the supervisor does not believe in the program, I think it is going to be really hard to get the workers to believe in the program. The workers will know if the supervisor is finding the stretch program to be an inconvenience and what interests my boss fascinates me. We have heard that saying. And if the boss is looking at their watch the whole time that they are doing the stretching or saying, okay, it is time to stretch, let us get this over with, that is the message that the workers are going to hear. But if the supervisor goes out there and says, all right, everybody, it is time to do our search program, let us get our day going to a good beat, and that is the message that they’ll hear, and they’ll hear support for it. 

I think that’s a very important point because where I’ve seen this work really well is the leader is jumping in, is taking part in it, is showing this is important in some cases that leaders, leader also showing up, and maybe it’s even only once or twice in a week coming in, taking part in the stretch, maybe making it fun, bringing music. I think that is an element that I’ve seen over, and all be critically important because as you said, where the leader doesn’t show up, the leader feels like a drag. Where he is not willing to check in with the team member who is not taking part in the stretch, it is likely not going to survive very long. 

They know what is going on, the people who are participating in the program, they know if their supervisors getting upset with them, or if the supervisor is happy with the performance that they are giving, and they will respond in kind. And if it is a company that has frequently started and stopped programs, the participants are going to be concerned about longevity. And sometimes if it is a company that started and stopped programs, I have had the workers say, how do we know that they are not going to take this away from us again? And that is when it becomes my responsibility to say to the supervisors, they are worried about longevity, they want to perform this, they want to do the stretching, but they are worried you’re going to take it away from them. And I try to get some assurances from them and ways that we can get assurances if they bring the flex and stretch instructor back to update the program, to assess the program, to encourage the program. That is one way of ensuring a little bit of longevity. Because if they want to bring the person back, that means that they believe in it and they see if they are scheduling the person to come back in a month, they know that the program is still going to be going for a month. 

So, it’s just some of these little things that can help make sense.

One of the things that I am curious, I love your comment about making it very customized to that workplace, the type of work that people are doing, to the aches and pains that maybe people there are seeing when you talked about even customized to a shift. I think those are important pieces. So, it feels like our stretch. Any thoughts on programs that take it even further? Because some programs go all the way to Patte. This is your stretch, john, this is your stretch and each one is different because I have definitely seen some value in the whole group doing something similar. Any perspectives around which approach works best? And what is the level of customization you want? 

This episode of the Safety Guru podcast is brought to you by Propulo Consulting, the leading safety and safety culture advisory firm. Whether you are looking to assess your safety culture, develop strategies to level up your safety performance, introduce human performance capabilities, reenergize your BBS program, enhance supervisory safety capabilities, or introduce unique safety leadership training and talent solutions, Propulo has you covered. Visit [email protected] 

Well, I could make a commercial for each one of those and obviously, the one-on-one training is going to be an amazing program and you are probably going to get really good support from the participants in it. It is like, oh, they noticed that my shoulders stiffer on the right, so they gave me a specific shoulder stretch to be doing and that is awesome. It is a little bit more challenging to manage. And so, if management is going to get frustrated with trying to manage the specific program, that is when it could be better to do a big group program. But just making sure. Sometimes I will throw in with the front of a thigh stretch. Some of people can stand on one leg and hold the ankle all the way up to the foot. I mean, hold the ankle all the way up to the buttock as they stand up. And others cannot do that, but they might just do a little bit of a standing butt kick because it depends on people’s individual range of motion and balance. So, we can offer alternatives and make it a little bit specific. So yes, individualized exercise programs are fantastic but more challenging to manage. 

Makes sense. You talked about something as well that kind of caught my curiosity in terms of office workers because it definitely is a lot of strain sitting in a chair an entire day. But I’ve never seen an office environment do formalize stretching programs. What would you do to get people bought into this in an office context? 

So usually, it is pretty easy. Well, if I can get a ringleader, if I could get someone, what I need is a partner. And that partner must be able to say, hey everybody, it’s 820, let’s do our stretch time. And that is it. Every office worker complains about having to sit for a long time, and how exhausting it is. I never get up and move about. And if we custom makes a stretch program for the office workers, that will allow them to stretch their entire body in a few minutes in their work clothes with the group, it will probably improve morale, it will probably improve their range of motion, it will probably decrease their discomfort and maybe even prolong their life because prolonged sitting is hard on us. And then usually with a desk size program, an office worker stretch program whatever you want to call it. We will be upper extremity specific. We will show them some stretches for their hands, wrist, and forearms and stretches that they can do while they are still sitting because sometimes, they cannot get up and move about. And I will show them some stretches that they can control and do on their own. 

So, it will be a little bit of each, it will be a little bit of a stretch program that they will stand up and do as a group, which is ideal and it’s more fun and they’ll get to giggle together a little bit and some individualized one for them to be doing throughout the day. 

Love it. I think it’s another piece where if you’ve got a stretching program for frontline workers in a field environment, in a field environment, or in a manufacturing environment, you can have a program there, but maybe you can extend that same reach to start bringing safety to people working in an office and getting them to reflect on how they sit every day. Love that part. 

And how their jobs are physically demanding as well. 

Absolutely. So how do you know how effective a program like this is? What are some of the anecdotes, the stories that you have seen that make it successful? 

So, I love your question because I get to talk a little bit about some of the successes I have had. The best way to measure the success of a program is when the people are performing the stretches. First off, if they are doing it every day, if I get a phone call saying, hey, we are getting sick of the stretches you are showing us, that means that they are doing them enough for getting with the stretches. And that is the best phone call I can get. If people are saying I feel better, I feel better for doing these stretches, I love the stretch program. Hey, I have been doing those stretches every day and it felt so good that after work I went for a walk. Well, that is a way that I know that I am really impacting their overall health and wellbeing. There are ways that management can ensure and assess program effectiveness. Some companies go as far as to do the measurement, testing, testing people’s hamstring length, and shoulder range of motion at the beginning of the program and maybe six months later and see if they’ve had an actual increase in range of motion of these muscle groups. So that is a way of measuring effectiveness. 

Some groups do auditing, and you can objectively measure what percentage of people are doing the stretches, what percentage of the people are doing them correctly, how much coaching is the leader giving, how effective and how effectively are they doing the stretches, so we can audit the group and the leader. But my biggest successes are the individual conversations I have had. I have a few stories from groups that I have stretched with individuals who have come talk to me and said how a stretch program has impacted them and if I can brag one guy one of my lifetime best moments was when a guy told me that he was working at a construction site. And he said that he was walking on the big rocks of the construction site. And they had been stretching for probably six months at this place. And he said that he was walking on the big rocks on the construction site, rolled his ankle, and had that lightning bolt of pain in his ankle. And he said, Patte, I knew that I tore something, and it hurts so bad. And I walked around, and I was limping on it for about five minutes. 

And I was thinking to myself, oh, no, what if I cannot do the sporting event that I was going to do that weekend? What if I am really injured and I have to miss work? And he said, after five minutes, he no longer had any pain. And he said, Patte, I know it is because the stretches that you have shown us to help strengthen and stretch my ankle and my lower leg, that is something that previously I would have torn, something that I was able to just walk off. And is that a career high for me? Yes, it really was, because something that I taught this guy made him not get hurt and attributed it to the stretch program that his employer provided. So, yes, it was a very proud mama moment. Another one that will stick with me forever. I had a stretch program where they were getting pretty advanced, and I incorporated squats just basically going towards a sitting position and up. And I always teach people different ways of doing it because not everybody can do a squat. And people kind of freak out with squats if they haven’t done it before. What if I cannot do it safely? 

How am I going to do it? Oh, I know this is going to hurt. And this guy told me that he was worried about doing squats because he had knee pain, and he was worried that if he did squats, it would increase his knee pain. And he said, Patte, after a month of doing squats, not only did it not increase my knee pain, but I also no longer have knee pain. He knew it was from those squat exercises. Yes, because the squat exercises were allowing him to strengthen his hip muscles. So now, not only is he not in harm’s way, but he is also strengthening his muscles so that he can be safer. So, it’s those little things that are career highs for me, and it makes for a wonderful brag. I have to admit, it’s in my mental portfolio. 

I love it. I think it is also an interesting piece because you talked about the endorphins that make people happier. It strikes me, that even if you can bring it into an office environment, there are probably very few industries environments that shouldn’t consider something like this. Even if it’s a small stretching program, it just also creates a team-building activity that gets energy flowing and gets people more alert for the work ahead. It sounds like a very simple fix that obviously improves safety performance, but also has lots of other positive benefits. 

I think people would be more alert. I think the people who kind of like slowly to walk into work if they do a seven-minute stretch program, they’ll wake up during that stretch program. And I’d rather them wake up during a stretch program rather than wake up after they’re already swinging a hammer or driving a piece of mobile equipment. So, yeah, I think that will increase their safety as well. 

Right. 

So recently I had a safety person talk to me and he said that he thinks that his organization would benefit from a stretch program, but he is really having trouble selling it to upper management their injuries are high and there are numerous reasons. And I said something, and I have been doing this for a long time, and I said something to the sky, and I said, your workers have been giving their bodies to your company and they will for their entire career. All you are asking is that your company gives them seven minutes a day. It seems like a pretty fair trade-off, and he was kind of blown away by that too. But it is like we are asking so much of our workers, hopefully, they’re going to stay with us throughout their career, retire from us, and why don’t we make a tiny little investment from them so that they can feel better upon retirement. I see stretch programs as a bit of a 401K for our bodies, and if we can provide them with that time, provide them with education, why wouldn’t we? 

I think that is a great pitch because it’s very simple just asking for seven minutes. And I could see the value of the A call center based on what you shared, right, where you have got people that are captive for hours in an environment answering phones, but you could just get the energy flowing, just start the day with some stretches and it’s going. 

To make them a little bit happier. I had a plant manager announce once. He said, of course, we are going to let them stretch for seven minutes a day. They are going to gather on their own in the morning already. If we round them up for seven minutes, we can assess them, we can manage them, they are going to still have their conversations, but we are going to stretch. We can talk to them a little bit about the safety that is going to be happening. And as he knows, the front-line supervisors can also assess the workforce in the morning and make sure that they are walking in looking healthy, looking safe, and unimpaired in any way. And it is just one of the many benefits of stretching. 

Definitely. I really appreciate you coming in and sharing some of your thoughts or ideas about it. I definitely have seen the value of power in organizations, particularly when leaders embrace it, leaders sponsor it, even at very senior levels, recognizing the importance. And it does not sound like it’s a very complicated thing necessarily to go roll out in different industries. So, if somebody wants to get in touch with you, Patte, what’s the best way for them to connect with you? 

My email is Ackermann, which is A-C-K-E-R-M-A-N-N as in Patte at SSM select.com. 

Perfect. Well, thank you very much for sharing your ideas on stretching programs, and definitely encourage people to think about how to incorporate them if you don’t have a good program already in place in your organization.

Well, thank you for having me. This was fun.

Thank you for listening to the Safety Guru on C-suite Radio. Leave a legacy. Distinguish yourself from the path. Grow your success. Capture the hearts and minds of your teams. Elevate your safety. Like every successful athlete, top leaders continuously invest in their safety leadership with an expert coach to boost safety performance. Begin your journey at execsafetycoach.com. Come back in two weeks for the next episode with your host, Eric Michrowski. This podcast is powered by Propulo consulting.

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ABOUT THE GUEST

Patte Ackermann is an Industrial Physical Therapist with SSM Health Physical Therapy in St. Louis, MO.  For over 25 years she has dedicated herself professionally to working with employers to reduce workers’ compensation claims and their associated costs.  Her expertise includes job site physical therapy and work hardening utilizing the tools of the trade to ensure that therapy is as functional as is possible.  She also specializes in on-site injury prevention classes, job-site flex and stretch programs, job analyses, ergonomic assessment and recommendations, individualized exercise programs, body mechanics coaching, job descriptions and any other method of helping employees and employers with the common goal of improving job site safety and overall health and wellness.

She received her BS in Physical therapy along with her BA in Psychology from Maryville University and her BS in Corporate Fitness from University of Tampa.  She is a Certified Safety Consultant through the State of Missouri.

For more information: [email protected].

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Strategies to Prevent Heat Stress with Cam Mackey and Dan Glucksman

Strategies to prevent heat stress

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ABOUT THE EPISODE

In this episode, we have a very important conversation with Cam Mackey and Dan Glucksman about the reality and risk of heat stress. Unfortunately, the danger of extreme heat increases each year due to continuing effects of climate change. According to OSHA, workers suffer over 3,500 injuries and illnesses related to heat each year. Tune in to learn how organizations can implement effective strategies to prevent heat stress or illness from happening to their team members.

Reference: https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/heat-nep-factsheet-en.pdf

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Real leaders leave a legacy. They capture the hearts and minds of their teams. Their origin story puts the safety and well-being of their people first. Great companies, ubiquitously have safe yet productive operations. For those companies, safety is an investment, not a cost. For the C-suite, it is a real topic of daily focus. This is The Safety Guru with your host, Eric Michrowski, a globally recognized ops and safety guru, public speaker, and author. Are you ready to leave a safe legacy? Your legacy success story begins now.

Hi, and welcome to the safety guru. Today I am very excited to have with me Cam Mackey and Dan Glucksman, both from the international safety equipment association. Cam is the President and CEO. Dan is the Senior Director of Policy. The International Safety Equipment Association is the voice for safety equipment. And today we are coming to talk about a very important topic which is heat stress. So obviously we are getting into planning phases into the winter, but summer is running right around the corner, and we’ve had quite a hot summer. So, you can start out with Cam or Dan, sharing a little bit about what’s the size of the problem around heat stress so we can get a bit of a sense for some listeners in terms of actions that needed. 

Yeah. Thanks, Eric. Dan and I appreciate the opportunity to be on the podcast. We’re in what, mid-September? So, we can share a couple of stats on the summer that we are wrapping up. It is hot, right? So, this was the third hottest summer ever for the continental US. And even though we are in mid-September right now, guess what? The west coast is just coming off an insane heat wave. Sacramento hit 116 deg the other day, and over 1000 different heat records were broken. So just from purely what we are feeling as citizens, as workers, it is crazy hot out there. So those are some weather stats, Eric. So, what, there is a human cost of this heat, right? So, if you think about what the impact on our workers is, whether they are agricultural workers, construction workers, folks that need to be outside to keep us safe, to feed us, et cetera. Eleven workers are injured or died every single day when heat stress in the US. Now to put that in context, a single death or injury is unacceptable. But both those stats here, they are above the ten and 30-year highs. So, it’s getting hotter, and our workers are paying the price. 

There is also an economic cost to this. Some studies have shown that the US. Could lose about $100 billion a year in productivity due to heat stress. And as well as I do look at a lot of the climate forecasts out there, as the world’s getting hotter, that number is going to go only higher. So, there is a human cost, there’s an economic cost and here at ISEA, we take it really seriously. 

Yeah, I think this is a very important point to talk about. You also touched on Pacific Northwest. The other one that was in the news earlier this year was UK and Europe in general. We are talking about also regions that aren’t particularly used to heat stress and heat waves, unlike maybe southern teams on the Gulf or Arizona. So, tell me a little bit about what are some of the themes because you’ve got regions and people that are probably also not familiar with what should I do in those cases. 

Yes, it’s a great point. As you mentioned, in the UK, you have these beautiful buildings, in some cases hundreds of years old. They were not built for this, right? They were built to retain heat, not have fresh air. So, there is an infrastructure issue, power grids aren’t built for it. But just as people, there is a learning curve, right, folks, where we are not used to working in these conditions. We are used to summers in the mid seventy s and so we will probably talk throughout our conversation today. There is a really big education curve to get over, right? So, it is letting workers, as people know, watch the signs of heat stress for themselves and for colleagues. And also, we’re really excited that OSHA that they’ve introduced a national emphasis program earlier this year specifically on heat stress. So, part of that is raising awareness of the severity of this issue for employers and for employees. So, we are really excited to see that that’s getting off the ground in the last few months.

Great. Let us talk a little bit about some of the symptoms to look out for. So, if I am thinking for myself, what should I be looking out for? If I am looking out for my peers, what are some of the things that I should keep an eye out for?

Yeah, there are a couple of things. Some workplaces actually have a buddy system where individuals are looking out for each other. Some of the things to be aware of are how often are you drinking or staying in a buddy system. How often is your partner drinking water? There is sort of heat cramps. So, if you or your partner are having spasms and say your arms or legs, it’s a sign of dehydration. Parenthetically, you see this on the playing field of sports over the summer, right? Players go down and they’re grabbing their skin or something like that and sometimes that’s a sign of heat cramp from dehydration. There’s heat exhaustion. It’s kind of funny, but one of the phases of heat stress goes from clammy skin to dry hot skin. So being aware of these phases of how your body is reacting to heat, the heat exhaustion, the skin is kind of clammy, but heat stroke, the skin is hot and dry. So, there are all kinds of things to be aware of. But really the preventions should really be top of mind such as drinking a lot of water, listening to your body and taking rests as needed and finding shade. 

I know cam. One thing he says around the office is that heat stress is the one injury that’s 100% preventable. There’s really no reason anyone ought to be being injured by heat stress.

Yeah, Dan makes a great point, Eric, for some workers, right? They don’t have the luxury of working from home like others of us do. And so, this really is a preventative condition, even in some tough work environments. And so, we’re excited to partner with our member companies who make this great PPE to keep people safe, and to raise awareness that workers and employers do not have to accept that heat stress is just part of the job because it’s not sure. 

So, let’s dive into some of the things an employer can do. I’m assuming one of them is training around signs, and symptoms, peer checks around it and making sure you’ve got good hydration. What are some of the other things that organizations can do to drive a difference? 

Yes, I think the first thing is really educating yourself, and that’s at the employer level as well as the individual employee level. So, I think the first step in that education process is you need to find a trusted partner in safety, whether that’s your EHS professional, whether that someone if you’re an end user, if you’re a manufacturer, someone a distributor who really can help you assess your heat stress. But what you want to do is conduct a thorough job hazard analysis. And what that will do is help identify some of the risk areas, some of the potential problem areas on your work sites, and your locations for heat stress. So that’s something where we don’t recommend just googling heat stress and doing it yourself. So really find that trusted partner and safety to do that, and you’re having that kind of expertise, they can really provide them the best preventative measures. Right. The trick here is not, oh wow, I’m experiencing heat stress. How can we really triage this? The best remedy is to get ahead of the game.

Sure.

So, you want to identify preventative measures. And so, some of the ones that we recommend are as powerful as our continuous use of PPE or personal protective equipment and cooling solutions. And so, this is anything from cooling towels and cooling garments, which if you haven’t used before, yes, the technology has been around for decades, but it’s pretty much as close to a textile miracle as I’ve ever seen. When you put this stuff in water for a minute or so and it just makes you feel cool and calm, it’s pretty fantastic. There are also cooling vests and then some pretty space-age technology called phase change, which again has been around for years. But companies are doing pretty incredible things to keep workers even in tough environments, safe. So, PPE is part of regular proactive, hydration is part of it. But yeah, the most important thing, Eric, is to bring in someone who knows what they’re looking for and develop a proactive heat stress prevention plan.

I would say that PPE for heat stress is a really high-tech, low-cost item to keep workers safe. Cam is right that these are harnessing the latest in fabric and fiber technologies. For example, some of them have an interwoven pattern of fibers that will draw water away even though they’re really thin. One layer draws water away from the body, and the other layer pushes it to the outer part of the fabric where it evaporates. And as Cam noted, there’s a range of options. For example, there are some hard hat shades that are designed to be highly visible for road construction workers, but also keep the sun off of your neck. There’s one company now that has a metal insert on the top of a hard hat to reflect the radiant heat from the sun. So, there are a lot of innovations out there to keep workers safe in the heat.

It’s really interesting. So, a combination of training so you have some awareness, making sure you’ve got the right hydration, and then really relooking at what kind of PPE you have, and making sure it’s readily available for anybody, particularly when the heat starts dialing up. Are there things that should be done just before a heatwave? You mentioned California had a very high heat wave just a couple of weeks before we’re recording this episode. What are some of the proactive steps when you know the heat is coming and it’s going to be increased that an organization could do to make sure there are no injuries?

Yeah, I think you’re right, Eric. Let’s be honest, the fact that we can predict the weather, I think it’s an amazing asset. We and citizens don’t appreciate it enough, but we can often look several days out and see when heat waves are coming. So again, this stuff is 100% preventable. So, some of the tactics that we recommend organizations employed before a significant heat event is number one, you got to track the weather. There’s no excuse. Ocean recommends the use, for example, the wet glow bulb temperature monitor, and that’s something you can use. Obviously, there are a lot of other ways to find out the current and predicted conditions. Second thing, make sure you have the correct PPE on hand, ready to go. You might even need more than you expect, but that’s something that needs to be done in advance. You also want to think about changes to how work is done. So, for example, modify the work-to-rest ratio. We’re humans, we can’t work just as hard in 100-degree temperatures as in 70 deg. So really being proactive about that and also making sure that you have a mechanism, whether it’s like a buddy system or wellness assessments, but you’re more continuously checking in with workers and allowing and encouraging them to check in on one another, all that’s critical. 

Then you also have to have, frankly, a disaster emergency preparedness plan. So, this could be obviously, first aid teams having even a makeshift immersion tub available. So, all the prevention plus the tools and resources and equipment if an emergency. 

Does occur, I think the buddy system you talked about I think is important. Somebody shared with me recently an incident where somebody was starting to feel signs of heat stress, but they were trying to work through it, and it was somebody else who caught it because we’ve got a desire sometimes to just fight through things and we may downplay what we’re experiencing. That strikes me as something that’s quite important, particularly if you’ve got small crews that are working more independently, making sure there’s always a buddy system in those heat periods.

Yeah, it’s great .1 of our members makes basically electrolyte beverages and products specifically for industrial workers. And I forget the exact number he shares with me, but it’s some shockingly high number of folks on the job site who are dehydrated, and they don’t even know about it. So, I think just to your point, Eric, we’re not maybe often the best judges of how we’re doing. So having that buddy system where this is not informal, this isn’t where a couple of workers decide to do this, but really where the employer is creating a culture where this is encouraged and mandated, but we’re looking out for one another, that’s key because we are not great judges of our own condition. 

This episode of the Safety Guru podcast is brought to you by Propulo Consulting, the leading safety and safety culture advisory firm. Whether you are looking to assess your safety culture, develop strategies to level up your safety performance, introduce human performance capabilities, reenergize your BBS program, enhance supervisory safety capabilities, or introduce unique safety leadership, training, and talent solutions, Propulo has you covered. Visit us at propulo.com.

Yeah, one thing you talked about as well is really making sure people are feeling empowered to stop work, to pause if there’s a need. The other thing is, from a hydration standpoint, everybody talks about drinking water or making sure you stay hydrated. But correct me if I’m wrong, it’s also something you’ve got to start many hours before you start work. It’s not enough to just start drinking water once you arrive at the job site and it’s getting hot, your body has to be hydrated hours before and stay hydrated. 

Exactly. And just like when you get overheated, it’s not as simple as just throwing on a cooling towel. It’ll help. But you’re right, a lot of these measures need to be done correctly. That’s just the physiology of our bodies. 

So definitely sounds like something organizations need to think about more particularly. As global warming is increasing temperatures around the world, there are more and more of these events in regions that aren’t used to it, but it’s also getting even warmer in regions that have been used to it in the past. So very many key themes I captured from our conversation are making sure people are well trained to recognize the signs in themselves and in their peers that people feel empowered to stop work if they feel something’s not right, but then also making sure you’ve got the right PP in place and really looking at overall what’s the PP you need. You talked about a lot of different items from clothing to reflect the heat, to cooling mechanisms, to staying hydrated with electrolytes. So, it sounds like a lot of different pieces of PPE should be considered for the summer months.

Yeah, it’s a great point. And the thing is just here in New Zealand, Eric, that’s a lot, right? Let’s be honest, that’s a lot for an employee to think about, for an employer to think about. This is again, why we recommend it so important. You need someone to help navigate through this, right? Someone who’s familiar with the different types of PPE products out there. For most of us, it’s not as simple as going online and thinking that you can educate yourself in a few minutes. So really find that trusted partner who can help you navigate this to build a holistic heat stress prevention program. 

Sounds great. And where can they get such information? Would that be information that you can provide as part of the International Safety Equipment Association? Or is this somewhere else that they should go get some additional insights from? 

Yeah, there are a few places. Number one, OSHA does a fantastic job with resources around heat stress. So, they have visual management posters, etc. You can have your work site and a lot of good educational materials. They have training guides; they even have an onsite consultation program if you were missing. I didn’t plug ISEA our website, Safetyequipment.org Heats trust. We’ve got a lot of good resources there and we actually have a training program called USSP or Qualified. 

Safety Sales.

Professional Program where this is one of the areas they cover. But also, again, the people that you rely on in your company internally, whether it’s EHS professionals or the channel partners you’re buying cooling products from, they’re going to know about this. They’re going to be able to guide you towards equipment and PPE solutions. Number one will keep you safe from injury, and number two, when appropriate, will help prevent heat stress. Great. 

And it sounds like a good time to start thinking about it. I know we’re getting to the winter months, so it’s easy to start forgetting about it. But to think about all these items, you can’t start doing it the day there’s a heat wave announcement coming in for the next day. That’s going to be too late, so it’s good to start thinking ahead. So, we’ve talked about lots of different topics around proactive measures. You’ve mentioned OSHA. Tell me about some of the changes that are coming from a legislative context. Dan is sure.

The House Education and Labor Committee just recently held a hearing in a committee vote on a bill sponsored by Congresswoman Judy Chu of California. When she was a state legislator, created the California Heat Stress Rule, and she brought that same kind of passion and legislation to Congress in DC. The Education Labor Committee took up her bill, recrafted it a little bit, and has told OSHA to create essentially a final rule within a twelve-month period on heat stress. So now that measure will go to the full House of Representatives and hopefully then also to the Senate and then to President Biden’s desk. Congress will need to act relatively fast, but so there’s some movement in Congress. Also, OSHA, as Cam mentioned, the National Emphasis Program, that’s a three-year program calling on a wide range of employers to focus on heat stress. That National Emphasis Program also focuses OSHA’s enforcement staff on heat stress and tells them that anytime they’re doing an inspection, also be mindful of how the employer is handling heat stress, making sure that there’s a heat stress plan and to some degree that workers are involved in implementing the heat stress plan. 

So, there’s a lot going on legislatively and regulatory on heat stress prevention. 

Perfect. So just another reason to focus on this and make sure you’ve got your game planned for the upcoming summer season, right? Kim Dan, thank you very much for coming on the show, sharing some very important information on a hazard that’s becoming more and more prevalent, and helping listeners think about strategies and approaches to make a difference around heat stress. Thank you. 

Thank you. 

Thanks for inviting us, Eric. It’s our pleasure. 

Thank you for listening to the Safety Guru on C-suite Radio. Leave a legacy. Distinguish yourself from the path. Grow your success. Capture the hearts and minds of your teams. Elevate your safety. Like every successful athlete, top leaders continuously invest in their safety leadership with an expert coach to boost safety performance. Begin your journey at execsafetycoach.com. Come back in two weeks for the next episode with your host, Eric Michrowski. This podcast is powered by Propulo consulting.  

The Safety Guru with Eric Michrowski

More Episodes: https://thesafetyculture.guru/

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ABOUT THE GUEST

The voice of credibility for the safety equipment industry, ISEA is the association for safety equipment and technologies – equipment and systems that enable people to work in hazardous environments. For more than 85 years, ISEA has set the standard for personal protective technologies, supporting the interests of its member companies who are united in the goal of protecting the health and safety of people worldwide.

Cam Mackey

Cam Mackey is President and CEO of the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA). Mr. Mackey has led or collaborated on benchmark studies in areas like product management, competitive strategy, innovation, digital marketing, pricing, and channel strategy.

Dan Glucksman

Daniel Glucksman is Senior Director for Policy at the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) where he leads the organization’s legislative and regulatory programs. Mr. Glucksman also contributes to ISEA’s standards development and member engagement programs.

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EXECUTIVE SAFETY COACHING

Like every successful athlete, top leaders continuously invest in their Safety Leadership with an expert coach to boost safety performance.

Safety Leadership coaching has been limited, expensive, and exclusive for too long.

As part of Propulo Consulting’s subscription-based executive membership, our coaching partnership is tailored for top business executives that are motivated to improve safety leadership and commitment.
Unlock your full potential with the only Executive Safety Coaching for Ops & HSE leaders available on the market.
Explore your journey with Executive Safety Coaching at https://www.execsafetycoach.com.
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