In our experience, most companies define safety as "going home the same you came to work." While healthy and unharmed is certainly the state we want each of our employees to be in when they leave work, this definition fails to account for the organization's responsibility for ensuring that result comes to fruition. It also puts the safety focus on outcomes (e.g., whether someone was injured or not) rather than on controlling the environment that puts people at risk for harm.
Have you ever wondered how you as a leader or how your organizational systems are contributing to human error? Have you ever wondered why one of your best employees makes a serious mistake?
At home, at school, in the workplace, it’s human nature to follow a routine. We find a pattern in the things we do and the things we see every day. Therefore, it’s important to rely on the help of an outside source to periodically inspect your facility for safety hazards.
A new era in workplace safety has dawned with the release of ISO 45001, the international standard for occupational health and safety designed to help organizations across industry reduce injuries and illness around the world.
At BNSF Railway, that vision is workplace with zero injuries and the leader driving it is Brant Ring. Brant is the vice president of unit operations for BNSF Railway—the largest intermodal railway in the US, with over 32,500 route miles and thousands of workers. In this interview, Brant explains why BNSF Railway partnered with DEKRA to eliminate exposure and ensure safe performance every day.
The science is indisputable. All three types of fatigue, whether physical (body), mental (mind), or neurocognitive (brain), impair human performance. The most insidious and dangerous form in workplaces is neurocognitive fatigue, which is caused by insufficient Delta-wave or deep, restorative sleep that the human brain requires every 24 hours. The particular parts of the brain that suffer from this type of fatigue are the four lobes of the cerebral cortex—the parts of our brain that control cognitive processes such as pattern recognition, auditory discrimination, visual processing, memory, speech, reasoning, planning ahead, problem solving, and decision making.
How do you get better at safety? Especially in 2020 where in-person learning was practically impossible? In our experience, the answer depends on where your organization is on its safety journey. For some, there’s a need to develop safety leadership skills in supervisors. For others, the solution is broader exposure control, targeted risk management, remote learning or serious injury prevention. Still, others need a combination of all the above.
Employees face hundreds of exposures every day. These exposures can be as seemingly innocuous and commonplace as an uneven floor or a dimly lit workstation. They can be in the way people are encouraged to work by an organizational culture that hurries them to complete a job or turns a blind eye to shortcuts that keep production flowing. They can be remarkable for their lack of protective measures: machinery with faulty or missing guards, elevated tasks with no handholds or tie-offs, jobs with no clear procedure for working around chemicals or hazardous material.
Unloading shipping containers isn’t quite as easy as unloading groceries from your car. Workers must be aware of the many safety hazards that await them if done haphazardly. What are these hazards and what can an organization do to mitigate the risk of injury or worse?
Workers involved in the loading and unloading of containers should be appropriately trained in how to avoid risks such as: