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STARING DOWN THE BARREL OF A GUN

by Administrator 27. October 2011 09:19
My sister sent me a 52 second video on gun safety (or the lack thereof).
Click on the picture or youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHdg3yeU2iY

Watching the video triggered the thought of staring down the barrel of a gun and that an entire safety meeting could easily be developed on this topic. I'm not sure the video is real, but it looks real enough. Don't get hung up on whether or not it is - I guarantee no one will sleep through it, and you can use it to generate discussion about gun safety, decision making, personal accountability, near-miss reporting, risk taking, and more.

After watching the video, some will say, "No one in their right mind would do that!". I can't tell you how many times I've heard similar sentiments when doing a risk assessment or conducting a Root Cause Analysis. It's a tough challenge for lots of folks to realize when they are "staring down the barrel of a gun" or being in the line of fire… until it's too late! Quite often, it has become a "normalized deviation" where they feel comfortable taking unconscionable risks.

Do you encourage or discourage near-miss reporting? When people make embarrassing mistakes, how likely are they to try to hide it? What's in it for them to report? Can they report anonymously? That's what the Chemical Safety Board has asked DuPont to do following a fatality in West Virginia. Do you know enough about your organization to even answer these questions?

Many organizations will be discussing gun and hunting safety this time of year - kick these ideas around and come up with some creative and interesting training ideas. Let us know how it goes.

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POOR COMMUNICATION CAUSES PROBLEMS IN BASEBALL, AND SAFETY

by Administrator 27. October 2011 08:44

Clear communications that are well understood by all affected parties are critically important in safety. Some organizations use “echo protocol”, where communications are precisely repeated to ensure understanding. Echo protocol is a great safety technique that should be adopted by more organizations to reduce risks, especially when precise understanding is needed in critical tasks. To see and hear echo protocol in action, visit a Waffle House restaurant and notice how your server and the cook make sure your order is right. For many people, getting their food order right is of critical importance.

The airline industry also uses echo protocol religiously. When I have taken advantage of the opportunity to listen to pilot and air traffic controller conversations, I can fully appreciate the value in repeating instructions back and forth. When the air traffic controller issues instructions to the pilot, the pilot must precisely repeat the instruction back. A simple “gotcha” or “roger, wilco” will not do… the pilot must repeat the exact instructions (bonus points if you know what “wilco” means). The controller will continue to repeat the instructions until exact confirmation is received from the pilot. It is habit, an industry standard, it works, and I’m glad it does.

The utilities industry has similar echo protocol. Breakdown in task-critical communications can, and have, resulted in tragic outcomes. Poignant examples recounted by experienced and apprentice linemen drive home the dire consequences of having too much bravado (or too cool) to repeat instructions; or becoming complacent and comfortable with a long-time co-worker. It takes a little extra effort to confirm, and not assume.

In the eighth inning of the 5th game of the 2011 Baseball World Series, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa had all kinds of communications problems with his bullpen, resulting in the wrong pitcher being ready, and the right pitcher not being ready. This fiasco was rife with misunderstood instructions, false assumptions, no double-checking, that resulted in a game-winning double made more likely by the wrong pitcher-batter match up.

Baseball is a game where mistakes in communication are made that we can live with.  We can easily correct a smothered, but not double-covered, hash browns mistake for breakfast. But, when it comes to safety communications, there may not be room for errors – we may not be able to live with the consequences. Does your safety skill set include the willingness and ability to give and accept task-critical communications in a professional way that greatly reduces the likelihood of a mistake?

 

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by Administrator 11. June 2011 10:00
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