Top Pain Points for Safety Professionals
On a weekly basis, we speak to a lot of safety, quality, and environment professionals all looking to solve various pain points in their organization. While there are honestly hundreds of pain points we hear about from these professionals, we have narrowed it down to 6.
How many can you relate to? Are there any that apply that you didn’t realize until now?
1. Reducing the Occurrence of Common Injuries
Sprains and strains, slips, trips and falls, cuts and contusions, and back injuries are among the most common workplace incidents. Typical responses to these issues include engineering, buying new products, adding more policies and procedures, reintroducing the same compliance training, and telling employees to be more careful. Unfortunately, these measures have been shown to have little long-term impact because the hazards were already known—the problem is with the majority of the pain-points that are to follow – not a hidden danger. These injuries affect the company’s TRI rate (total recordable injuries) and can lead to a continual struggle to bring that rate down.
2. Employee Engagement and Overall Safety Culture
The old ‘us vs. them’ mentality is still present in many organizations. There’s a disconnect between management and frontline workers. No matter what kind of changes are made within the facility, employees will not be engaged if they feel the company is only looking out for themselves while also making their lives more difficult. The most common struggle is to get employees to take personal accountability for their own safety. The problem is bad enough if it were to stop there, but there’s a number of spin-off effects. When employees are not engaged in the safety culture, supervisors and employees will witness at-risk behavior but they do not intervene. Productivity and morale are low. And when these problems occur, OHS managers rarely see a clear path to improving engagement and building a stronger safety culture.
3. Workers Ignoring Rules and Regulations
After an incident, core EHS teams are often left sitting in a board room asking, “why… how!”
Some employees take known risks, choose shortcuts, or ignore the rules and regulations that have been set out for them. And when these lead to injuries, it can leave health, safety, and quality professionals feeling helpless or even thinking workers deliberately ignore the rules – which is often not the case. Clearly, providing a set of rules or equipment is not enough (choosing not to wear the PPE provided can have devastating results). It’s as if there need to be two safety playbooks—one that contains all the necessary, compliance measures, and one that teaches safety managers how to influence employees to actually follow them and become EHS leaders to others.
4. Perception of Business Alignment / Executive Buy-in
Any company head will tell you that safety is one of their top priorities. But a behind-the-scenes look usually tells a different story. When stacked against production, downtime and overall cost, safety, quality, and compliance often takes a back seat. EHS leaders need to prepare a business case for securing more budget to improve compliance, but this can be difficult. EHS managers intuitively know that proper systems will actually save the organization money and reduce the risk of reputational damage, but many aren’t able to demonstrate that to the CFO. Aligning the goals of the EHS team to the core goals of the organization is key.
5. Controlling Costs and Increasing Efficiency
Because of the variety of tasks a facility manager overseas, they are often highly concerned with operation and management (O&M) costs. Budget control and maintenance is a key element of the day-to-day of any facility manager, evaluating data and reports to identify areas where adjustments can be made to maximize efficiency. You’ll likely know a facility manager when you meet one because they are on a constant hunt to improve the operational infrastructure while reducing the budget – which is their biggest challenge of all.
6. Training Flexibility and Reach
With workers operating on different geographical sites, languages, and shifts and often on tight schedules, it can be difficult to bring workers together for classroom or group training. Complicating matters are the wide variety of state, federal, or specific facility-based regulations that cover daily activities. Even when it is possible to get workers together for training, it’s difficult to ensure they have grasped all the necessary information.
There is a spike in demand for ‘just in time’ training. This essentially delivers on-demand instruction to help solve these issues, allowing EHS managers to assign and administer training courses or materials as needed and confirm training requirements are being met with at-a-glance management and completion tracking. Workers can complete training on their own schedules and at their own pace, allowing them to better comprehend the material.