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#73: Safety Up North

April 21, 2021 | 56 minutes  1 seconds

In this episode of the podcast, series host Jill James interviews Ryan Quiring. Ryan is a 14 year veteran of functional safety engineering and process safety - and he’s been applying those principles to safety for the past six years. Ryan is also a Canadian native as well as the founder of his own company.

Transcript

Jill:

This is The Accidental Safety Pro, brought to you by HSI. This episode was recorded March 17th, 2021. My name is Jill James, HSI's Chief Safety Officer, and today I'm joined by Ryan. Ryan is a 14-year veteran of functional safety engineering and process safety, and he's been applying those principles to safety for the past six years. Ryan is also an entrepreneur and founder of his own company. Ryan is joining us today from his home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Ryan, welcome to the show.

Ryan:

Thanks. Thanks for having me, Jill.

Jill:

Well, I was mentioning at the start of the show that our producer, Will, who's always listening quietly in the background, is probably going to be laughing this entire time because we have a Minnesotan accent and a Canadian accent all in the same recording. And who knows what will happen? How many abouts and abouts and yeah.

Ryan:

Got to listen for the "eh," although I'll try to keep that to a minimum, but we'll see where I end up.

Jill:

Who knows what happens when you put the two of us together, this will be entertaining.

Ryan:

It's going to get really thick here pretty quick, yeah.

Jill:

It is the anniversary of the movie Fargo and so, maybe just in honor of Fargo and all the accents that came out of that, that will be it today. But Ryan, we didn't come here for that, we came here to hear a story and your story about how it is that health and safety found you in your life and wondering if you might share that?

Ryan:

Absolutely. So, I have a rich history with work place safety. As a child, my father was injured in a work place safety accident where he worked in a meat packing plant, a meat packing facility. And, he was using a bunch of machinery, I'm not exactly sure of the exact terms of the equipment he was using, but it had broken, the hydraulics had broken on it. And, it was used to lift pig carcasses into loading bins and loading trucks.

Ryan:

And, the equipment broke and so he was just hand bombing them into a loader bay because they had to get shipped, it was on a timeline. And, by doing so, the first 10, the first 50, were fine, it was doing this for a repeated amount of time, without taking appropriate breaks, trying to hit deadlines that, he eventually herniated his lower back vertebrae and required a bone fusion in his lower back.

Jill:

Wow.

Ryan:

He was 24 at the time. I was quite young and so, I've lived what that looks like through him, or I've seen the impact that it's had on his life, and how it doesn't have to be a fatality to be serious. It can be anything. Chronic back injury has been a big problem for many companies and many individuals across North America and the world.

Jill:

So, did your dad continue working at that meat packing facility?

Ryan:

No, no. He had to go to surgery. He was off for six, seven, eight months, I'm not exactly sure, I was-

Jill:

You were little.

Ryan:

I was quite young, so I don't quite recall all of that specifically, but he had to repurpose his job role.

Jill:

Yeah.

Ryan:

And so, he managed to get a job, switching career paths into courier, lightweight, small car courier. And, unfortunately, while that worked short term, after about a decade of doing that work, he ended up re-injuring and continuously re-injuring that same lower back injury itself. And, it's had a ripple effect through his entire back system and just, in general, his whole spinal cord now. He's had surgeries on his upper neck because the changes in the tension on the spinal cord effected his neck and then he had to shave off or remove a disc within his upper neck itself and then he had to have another spinal fusion to remedy another potential herniated disc that was impacting his ability to walk.

And so, now he's 60. And, just to show the financial impact of this, he's been on workers' compensation that have been supplementing his income for 35 years.

Jill:

Wow.

Ryan:

So, just think of that from a societal cost, if you want to put a financial number on it.

Jill:

What was that like for you growing up? You were such a little kid, this is just how your dad came, essentially, right? This was just part of it, but did his experience color the way that you all approach things in your family from a safety perspective? What was that?

Ryan:

So, dad didn't like to let this impact him. It was certainly something he hid very well.

Jill:

Sure.

Ryan:

And so, as a child, I didn't see it initially until I got to my late teens and I could start to see that, "Oh, dad's having trouble walking," Or "He's not able to do certain tasks," or "I go to help out a little bit more in mowing the lawn and doing any construction projects, renovations in the house," and that kind of stuff, and heavy lifting. When I really noticed this, was when I had kids and he wanted to play with them so badly and he would, of course, because his enjoyment of enjoying his grandchildren was a higher priority than protecting his back. But then, afterwards, he looked exhausted and it took a toll on his body.

And so, now looking at, he can only work two, three hours a day. He wants to work, he hates being sedentary, that is not something that he's chosen to do. He wants to stay active and stay fit and stay moving around, and this is just that ripple effect that it's had.

Jill:

Yeah.

Ryan:

Degradation of his back, just in general.

Jill:

Right, right. Yeah, exactly. I was thinking about, as you're telling your story about your dad I'm thinking about my own. My father, before I was born, had a traumatic brain injury as result of a farm accident. And so, like you, I grew up with a father that had an injury from work, except his happened on a farm and wiped out the frontal bone, so the forehead bone, so he didn't have a bone in his forehead. How odd is that? So, I grew up in a house where everything appeared functional with my father, except we were really raised to be super careful around dad's head.

So, the safety impact of my father's story, which is different than yours, you're seeing this long term financial impact and also your dad's want for work and a limiting agent. And, mine was colored by being careful, the way that we placed things in our house or the way that we moved about. And, things that carry with me to this day because you're thinking about, "Oh, this could hit somebody in the head." Having your dad get hit in the head when you don't have a frontal bone would be fatal and so, it colors the way you do things and so interesting how our little lives, right? Even before, we're just little tiny kids how these things color our lens.

Ryan:

Yeah, they paint our perspective, right? And so, as I was getting into the workforce, after going to school, I took electronics systems engineering, is what I'm trained in, and then heading out to Calgary to go work in the oil field. I always had that, "What can happen?" In the back of my mind.

Jill:

Yeah.

Ryan:

When I'm programming control systems or when I'm building control systems, if a shutdown doesn't occur and a vessel over pressures, or even a valve swings, when it wasn't supposed to, and it can impact somebody's hands or somebody's... If they're not doing the proper lock out, tag out processes or whatever systematic policy they've put in place, I was very aware of how that impact could hurt somebody, from a personal perspective. And so, I think that's what triggered me to get into functional safety engineering.

And, for those who don't know, functional safety engineering's a process that's been put in place for, I think the past four decades now, started in Norway, but IEC 61511 is the specification specifically for the processing sector. There's separate policies for nuclear and other processing facilities but oil and gas is 61511.

Jill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ryan:

But, how do you design a control loop on a processing facility to not fail? And, if it does fail, you know the probability of failure, so then you are willing to accept that amount of risk, from a [inaudible 00:10:04] risk perspective. And so, when I started the control systems, all of the risk reduction and risk mitigation tactics have already been put in place, and I'm just meant to program them in. And so, I slowly worked my way upstream to the hazard and operability analysis sector, where we would analyze P&IDs, and identify all of the potential failure points, and what the risk or consequences would look like with no safe guards.

And then, we move up from there, right? So, not dissimilar to a hazard analysis on a new project, or construction, or something like that.

Jill:

Sure.

Ryan:

It's just our safe guards were automated, and we wold quantify them. So, we would take all those high risk scenarios and we would said, "Okay, now let's put a probability of failure around them. So, when that valve needs to work, how often will it not work?" And, there's a database we use called Oreta, and it's a shared database that Shell and Exxon Mobil and BP, all of the big oil and gas producers, put their fail rate data into it, so that we have quantifiable information around, how often does a 10 inch ball valve fail when it's operating in -30 degree temperatures, with emulsion running through it?

Jill:

Interesting.

Ryan:

Right?

Jill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ryan:

Because it can be a chemical plant, which is a bit different, right? So you need to make sure that everything lines up, but then you can say, "Well, you know what? Every time or 100 times is when that bell," although fails, and then you would want that into ultra analysis solution to properly analyze what were probability of failure on demand is and is it falling within the realm of appropriate risk reduction. And if it's not, then we can pump it up, we can put two valves in or we can put more sensors in to make sure that we're detecting things correctly, and that there's no issues with... or discrepancies between spurious trips when sensors aren't working. So not only as the safety concern, but also the availability and reliability of those readings.

Jill:

That is fascinating, fascinating. And who decides what the acceptable level of risk reduction is? Is that something that's in the standard you're talking about?

Ryan:

That is part of the standard, and it's up to corporates, like the executive team to say, what are their What are they willing to lose? What is their insurance going to cover, for example, there's different level risk requirement standards, with respect to the public. And there are with respect to people who are traveling and arriving on site is that the amount of training that people on site have had is far more than the public. And so if you have a wildland gas processing facility, for example, in the middle of a city well and you have an explosion, your impact to the people standbys, like the citizens is much higher and so that an impact how risky you can operate.

So usually when, with respect to human life, loss of human life were impacted the human life, it was a pretty high number, like one in a million years or one and 100,000 years is the... if you're willing to accept one fatality every 100,000 years would be a number that we would set as a corporate tolerable risk level. And then we would just make sure that we design the control loops and make sure that we meet those demands.

Jill:

Interesting. Yeah. This is great, Ryan. And so did you like that work?

Ryan:

I loved it. It was so fun. In fact at a quite a young age, I got into it when I was 25. At a young age I was teaching. There's an authority, or the HJ that already having jurisdiction in Alberta, northern Alberta with the oil sands there. It's called Absa, so the Alberta boiler and safety Association. I was teaching them how we can be building safer overpressure protection systems using this specification, or for SIL loop is called safety integrity level loop design, then what a mechanical valve can perform at. Looking at the numbers of mechanical valve fails one and 100 times. So if you put-

Jill:

Gosh, that seems like a lot.

Ryan:

It does, doesn't it?

Jill:

Yes.

Ryan:

But yeah, that's the bar, like so. If that vessel gets over pressured, 100 times, one of them is bound to fail. And that's what I was so intrigued and he was like, "ell, one, like, what does that what does that model look like? How do we determine that right? And how do we, how do we go from there? Where do we move?" And so looking at the Markov modeling for that scenario analysis, and then putting on overpressure protection by systems design on top of it, it really allowed us to say, "Well, I can build a system that will fail one and 1,000 times, and we'll have lower environmental impact," because we're not going to pop open a bell to remove pressure, we're going to shut down before pressure and actually exceed a rated limits.

So it's just a much different mindset preventative measures versus mitigation.

Jill:

Right, right. Right. How long did you stay in, in that kind of work?

Ryan:

So I did that through the core of my... So I did three years of control systems engineering. And then I moved into Functional Safety, engineering and life safety systems, like gas detection and I did that for 12 years.

Jill:

And did you do that work in Canada or? I know that you've said... You told me previously that you've worked in different parts of the world on where, yeah, where did you do some of this work? What took you on those travels?

Ryan:

Yeah, so I started doing this work in in Canada at a research facility, where we had to have gas detection systems, protecting a research facility. So they were they were doing a lot of oil and gas research. And again, that life safety system. So if I nitric oxide levels were detected, then we would open up the doors to the facility and turn on hurricane events, the kind of evacuate all the air, and we would do an air exchange within 30 seconds. And the thing, right? Very exciting and exhilarating to witness, I don't want to be in there when that happens. So that's kind of where it started. And then I started to get... I kind of made really good friends with one of the safety logic solver solutions. So it's like the computer for the safety system.

And they started connecting me to their global network of people because they just I was able to code. But then I also understood how to practically apply the loop systems. So they detected me there. And then I started to code, like weather management systems for a firm out in New Zealand. So I went up to New Plymouth, it was July, when I was up there when 2011 or something like that. So it was New Zealand was kind of disappointed it was there winter or not the time to go. But I went out there to commission a boiler system and a oil here. So the standards in New Zealand in Australia for Functional Safety are are very they're law. Whereas in Canada, they are not law, they are optional, or often kind of thing.

Jill:

Yeah, and how does that compare to the United States.

Ryan:

So United States is a little more fragmented. So places like Texas have regimented this for law. You know, Georgia, they have laws in place, I think those are the places where there's a lot more mature oil and gas sector like Texas, for example, in Louisiana, that's where these laws have been put in place, because they have an aging infrastructure, right? So if you go to Texas City, and the BP had a plant there, it was bought by someone else, I can't remember all the custody transfers, but when you head down there the amount of, of issues they have with aging infrastructure can cause detrimental human life loss, and it's... or an impact to you in life in a significant manner.

And so even when there's trying to ramp up and make something they shut down for a couple years, they have to meet these new specifications when they go to [inaudible 00:18:58]. And there's numerous examples where OSHA have put out the investigation what happened and those are very informational videos, I suggest everyone go and look for some of these accent investigation videos, where they animate it, and they narrate what actually happened and how everything happened in the sequence of events. And it's all solved by approaching everything with safety first.

And it's just amazing. So, but but then you have places like Wyoming where they have nothing as far as regulations for safety with respect to building processing systems, then environmental regulations override everything. Because you know, the with the national parks that they have there, they don't want it the all the all the pollution. So now you're meeting different specifications that are more environmentally driven, where you have to incidentally, become safer to operate because of it.

Jill:

So you're accomplishing the same thing or is it like you said it seems sort of Helter Skelter across the US?

Ryan:

Yeah the US is this quite fragmented, everyone has their own ideas. And like I was mentioning to you a little bit earlier was the differences between what the federal law states and what the state law has and what they follow and who they follow, it can become quite convoluted. And so again, I'm outcome based, when I approach anything, so if I'm solving something, because it's an environmental. Safety doesn't get lost, I'm just framing it differently, because we need to do it for that.

Jill:

Great.

Ryan:

But in the meantime, I think just the extra rigor that you put into the thought behind building a solution, or implementing a new piece of equipment is enough to say that risk reductions been put in place, whether you're reducing risk with with an environmental impact in mind or with a human life impact in mind is the same thing.

Jill:

So you had started by saying, You're in electronic systems engineer, and you're also a Functional Safety engineer. So are those two separate educational paths? Did you pick up one and then the other? How did that happen?

Ryan:

So, I mean, I would say Functional Safety is more of a specialty. It's not a degree, it's taught by the TUV out of Germany. And a lot of other Exida on Functional Safety engineering as well, you can get trained there, or I think TUV out of Italy does their own Functional Safety engineering as well. So it's not specifically like an engineering course. But what it is, is a condensed version of the application of risk engineering with respect to process safety.

And so with that in mind, so I took my electronic system engineering and then got into control systems, because those are all electronics and then specialize in risk reduction or risk engineering through Functional Safety engineering taking that course.

Jill:

Very interesting path Ryan.

Ryan:

Yeah, and it started off as, like Functional Safety engineering was a mandatory requirement in order to program life safety system. So just kind of serendipitous how it all just kind of fell in line. And then I already had the impact my life so it just it really jived with preventative measures is what I really resonates with me. And so you had mentioned selling that to corporations when it's optional.

Jill:

Yeah, right. How have you done that?

Ryan:

So, I mean, the manufacturers of these, of these logic solver systems have done a tremendous job of showing how preventative measures with the upfront investment and prevents billions of dollars in effects or mitigation costs, right? I was in Alberta selling a pipeline leak detection system, it was a few million bucks or something like that. I don't remember the exact details to a firm. And I was trying to explain to them how preventing a pipeline, like shutting down the pipeline before too many barrels of oil leak out is way, way better in every single aspect of the reputation of their production value of their assets that they're selling for their impact to human life as well.

And while that doesn't ever get disputed, it's always a finger pointing show around. Well, we don't have the up X that, like, "Yeah, we're saving off X a bunch of money, but I'm not in charge of off X." And you know, it's more holistic than that. And I feel like that needs to be implemented as what is the total cost was a sum all costs from a corporate perspective as opposed to a project versus an operational perspective? And so trying to sell that to people who had the mindset of, "I need to do really well on my budget or my project if I want to get my bonus."

Jill:

Tied to money, okay.

Ryan:

Yes. The motivating factor is money. So having maybe some long term bonuses to say, Well, how well does the thing function after a better or more appropriate, but it's hard. It's hard to sell an optional expense to people who don't see it. And unfortunately, once you implement a control measure, like we can take COVID-19 as an example.

Jill:

Yeah, please.

Ryan:

Implement masks. You know, the public health advisors or the public health leaders in our, in every single country across the entire globe, all agreed that wearing masks was an effective way to reduce risk of catching a COVID-19 or flattening the curve, so to speak, of COVID-19. So we don't overwhelm our healthcare systems. And we did it. And it worked. But then everyone was like, "Well, we haven't overwhelmed the health care systems what we didn't need to wear these masks," right? Like, there's no control case to show. What would have happened.

Jill:

Had you not. Yeah.

Ryan:

And so I feel like preventative measures are very difficult to sell. Because if we effectively prevent the scenario or trying to prevent, it will go unnoticed or it won't be it won't be properly recognized.

Jill:

Right. I want to ask about some things you've been writing on about the Swiss cheese model. But but before we get into that I'm just thinking in the work that you do, which is just mitigating such high risk is the disaster that is Deepwater Horizon. Is that something that you studied?

Ryan:

Oh, absolutely. That was a prime example of where preventative measures were skipped more than once. And that's the outcome of what happened.

Jill:

Yeah.

Ryan:

Deepwater Horizon was one of the videos they showed where they did the analysis, they did the animation. And they highlighted all of the various aspects that failed. And when you remove... So we put multiple layers of protection in place for a reason, so that when one layer fails, the others can make it up and put can come up to save the date. But when you bypass your EOS was your emergency shutdown, essentially. Now, when you bypass that bell, you've messed up, like, that was your last line of defense. And you kind of skipped over the other lines of defense that you had like, all your safeguards were skipped over, or bypassed in to get the job done. And the outcome was the wrong goal. [inaudible 00:27:23] we brought about the... Yo yeah, that is something that they touch on very deeply.

And not just that, but BP Texas City had an explosion when they tried to ramp up their ice on unit again with gas detection... Sorry, with gas production. So that's where they take crude oil and they turn it into gasoline. They had a tower that had a faulty sensor, and it didn't shut down. And they kept on pumping high octane gasoline into this hour. And it overheated, because of the chemical reaction, and it ran away, and it exploded and impacted many people's lives.

Jill:

Wow. Ryan, I think we need more of you in our lives. And then also, with your background and practice coupled with the ability to, to quantify and sell these systems that you're talking about, or put them in place.

Ryan:

Yeah it's funny coming from Europe, and coming into Canada, where we would think that we would at least have some sort of equity with their rules and regulations. But we're so far behind. And I remember looking at Norway, when I was doing gas compression systems back in 2005. And seeing how they're able to not have pressure safety belts wearing to the environment, like from an environmental impact, with climate change, and everything being so high on the radar for many of these organizations. Being able to shut down before that high pressure scenario occurs, and just like, "The gas is underground, it's not going anywhere, and it's safely stored. Why don't we just keep it there?" Right?

Jill:

Exactly. Exactly. Instead of leaking and causing earthquakes in places that never should have been.

Ryan:

If you flare it, though, like you're losing money, you're burning money now. And that doesn't make... It doesn't even compute to a finance person. I don't understand the logic behind it. We have better systems in place today. And if it's just because we've always done it that way, then that's not a reason.

Jill:

No, it's not. No, it's not. Ryan, let's talk about how you apply the Swiss cheese model to your professional practice. And also, if you don't mind in the event, we have people listening who aren't familiar with it can you do a little one on one and Swiss cheese model? Yeah.

Ryan:

Yeah, yeah. So the Swiss cheese model is a model that we use for risk reduction, and it's just kind of a... it's a visual comparison to multiple layers of protection that I was mentioning earlier. So if you try to shoot a rock with a slingshot through Swiss cheese in one of the holes, you might get through one of the holes, but another, there'll be a blockage somewhere else that it'll hit right and capture it. So that's kind of the visual impact that is trying to highlight. If you look at it from a layer of protection analysis, or layer protection perspective, if you can have five circles, for example, have a center circle, and then an outer circle and another outer circle, and then keep on balancing those circles and have an event occur in the center circle, for it to escape and impact somebody, it has to go through five different layers of protection in order to do that.

And they're all varying amounts of thickness. But all five of those layers must fail at some point in order for that impact or that event to impact anything. And so that's the layer of protection analysis that I've applied from Functional Safety engineering to occupational health and safety. And what I did was, I didn't want to, like specifically, I just took some rough assumptions around how often humans failed the follow up procedure. And that is one in 10 failure, one in 10 times humans will fail the follow up procedure.

Jill:

Wow, interesting.

Ryan:

That is... t is interesting. It's but that that number goes up by an order of magnitude when you put two people responsible for a procedure. So because now they're held accountable, and it's that accountability, that rates that extra little extra thickness of layer of risk reduction which is-

Jill:

Adding another human being [inaudible 00:31:49]. Interesting.

Ryan:

So in the purposes of oil and gas, well, we have a bell that would need to be made, something had to happen with whatever maintenance or cleaned out or something. And it had to be walked off with a bypass valve open. If you put one person in charge of that procedure, one in 10 times, it will fail. If you put two people go out there, and it's called a car seal, so you would have them actually have to cut the car seal, you have a messy transfer of the car seal and your document, car seal, kind of like the warranty sticker on a VCR or a DVD player or whatever, or a monitor, if you put that warranty seal, it's no longer valid. That's what a car seal is a mechanical valve or instrument.

But just by simply doing that process that fails one and 100 times. Because each of those people are responsible for it, and neither of them want to fail. So just that in and of itself, he was like all of us is odd. It's funny how that functions and how that helps. If there's some sort of faster way to accomplish something, people identify it.

Jill:

Yeah, every time.

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Interesting.

Ryan:

Without exposing yourself to risk. So what I did was I said, "Hey, if we're trying to protect ourselves from COVID-19, we don't need to be putting biometric sensors in our each back systems and limiting remote access to all of these different facilities, we just need to be putting in some very simple, relatively robust layers of protection with one in 10 times they're going to fail, but it doesn't matter, because we're still protecting ourselves to the best of our ability, and they don't cost anything." So the way you calculate risk reduction in terms of layers of protection is you multiply the layers risk reduction factor together.

Jill:

Okay. Yeah, give an example. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ryan:

Yeah. So if I have four layers of protection, and each of them is going to fail, one in 10 times. One in 10, failures on demand, I think the inverse of that to get my risk reduction factors that equals 10, risk reduction factor of 10. By multiply that together, or times I get 10 times 10, which is 100 times 10, which is 1,000 times 10, which is 10,000. So one in 10,000 times all of those factors will fail. And that is a number that is relatively livable, or most corporations.

Jill:

Great.

Ryan:

Considering no safeguards, where your your, your chance of a COVID infection would be 100%. You're reducing it down to point 0.00001% or 1,000th of a percent over a percent point. So that's, that's the power of layer protections. And so I just I'll show you, or I'll list out a couple of the four layers of protections that I was referring to. One is Social distancing measures within your workforce within your workplace, wearing masks when working nearby other people, monitoring self assessments and questionnaires pre checks to make sure nobody has symptoms of COVID-19. And just increased workforce training during the pandemic, in an effort to break complacency, keeping it relevant, those four things, and all reduce your risk of a COVID infection by up to 10,000 times.

Jill:

And enforcing those things, right? I mean, even How many times have we heard our health officials saying the last year, just because you have a mask on doesn't mean you can get close to someone.

Ryan:

Yeah, you can't go rub your face on someone else.

Jill:

Right.

Ryan:

That's where that education comes in.

Jill:

Exactly.

Ryan:

... formed and it's enforce, when we had our all US me enforces a word I like I tried to steer clear from because it shouldn't be about enforcing Should we go by and work like, let these individuals get them participating in the system, voluntarily, like, it's for them. You know, if I give you the keys to a Lamborghini, and I say, "Habit," you're not going to go and destroy it right away, you're going to take care of it. Right? Because it's for you. It's a gift. And we need to be approaching safety with the same rigor and regard.

Jill:

Right. I think you're getting a new understanding versus knowing the regulations.

Ryan:

Yes, the regulations are fine. The regulations are in place for a reason. That's because they needed some way to penalize somebody for not doing something. But when you come from an outcome based approach, and the workers in your workforce, understand that this is here, so that we don't get you or your family sick. That's the only reason you being sick and your family being sick. Does the company no good? Why would we ever want to put you in harm's way that has a negative impact any way you spin it? So asking you to try to do something without a mask on is detrimental to our operation?

Jill:

And detrimental to your family.

Ryan:

Yeah, exactly. So let's not take this virus home. So one thing I noticed with COVID-19 was health and safety was acquired by very quickly, within an hour. Never in my life that I seen government leaders talking about PPEs so much in my life.

Jill:

I know, isn't it? I mean, we have such an opportunity right now as professionals because people are talking our vernacular. And so what can we do with this opportunity that we have right now? Right?

Ryan:

Yes, exactly. And use it as a jumping off point to further health and safety, again, removing that negative connotation of enforcement, or you're doing something wrong, and make it more involve with the workforce and say, "Hey, look, I didn't see that you wrote this thing down. Let's talk about that and understand why."

Jill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, so I know that you've told me before that you'd like to talk about empathy and how this comes into play, right? I mean, which is interesting to hear from someone who's an engineer, you're very systematic, you think linearly, you're measuring everything, right? And now we're going to put something that seems a little mushy like empathy, which you and I both know, it's not, but you're putting it into practice. So tell me how that works and how you view that?

Ryan:

So I mean, empathy can be measured through engagement. And so that's something that... that's a metric I feel most companies should start thinking about in measuring or putting into their safety report. What is safety engagement look like? And once you understand, I mean, the number is irrelevant. It could be 30% engagement, it could be 70% engagement, you just need to know, what's [crosstalk 00:39:12].

Jill:

What does it look like how... Can you give an example Ryan and then how would you measure it?

Ryan:

Yeah, so engagement, to me starts with just our people completing things on time. You know, every morning in highly risky scenarios, or before you perform past you're supposed to do some sort of hazard analysis or you're working from heights softball protection plan should be implemented. If you have material up in a high rise, you should be doing material securement checklists, like all of these different things, toolbox talks being another safety meetings being another big impact to what to the risk reduction, overall risk reduction of your organization. Measuring how often the frequency you know, the timing, the regular timing on when these documents are being submitted or completed. That is a really simple measurement to be putting into place and then trending it over a week, week over week, what does this look like? Right? And then get a Belper.

So that's something that I've always thought about is if your worker engagement is that median at 30%, you have people on one side doing really, really well. And those are your champions. And you have people on the other side who maybe don't connect safety to their well being. And that's room for [inaudible 00:40:42]. That's where now as a safety leader, as a safety manager, you can focus on... Your safety champions, they're doing phenomenal, you do not need to go and have confirmation bias box with them. Right? They get it. Let them continue to operate. And let's focus our energy on the individuals who maybe didn't submit a hazard assessment last week.

Or retroactive submissions and you know, falsifying documentation is another big aspect because now, you're sure you're compliant to an enforcement perspective, but you're not getting any benefit from performing like the safeties is no, it's actually a cost center. No. There's no investment anymore.

Jill:

Yeah, I saw that. So many times in my work as an investigator with OSHA, particularly during accident investigations, when I would ask for particular paper trails, if you will particularly when it came to lockout tagout, or confined space entry procedures things that didn't really need to be systematic. And how many times that didn't exist or if it did, it was like big line drawn through all these checkpoints? Like, "Yeah, we did all that stuff." Except, it didn't. It didn't happen.

Ryan:

Yeah, it didn't do it at the right time. Like, there's a reason that these forms are engineered, these safety forums are not just plucked out of thin air, they're asking you very relevant questions, very relevant job duties, and scopes for safe work practices. Answering them before performing your dog task, sets up your subconscious to recognize where the risk lies while you're working, but these are very... So this is where I look at empathy as a solution to safety engagement. And empathy is the instrument that we use in an effort to champion new safety champions maybe don't know yet [inaudible 00:42:48] all the things.

And if you don't measure engagement, you don't have a metric to work from. I mean, you can go and start championing people, and you'll probably see an improvement, but you won't be able to quantify it. Or justify how you're spending your time to your executive team as a safety manager, right? They're going to be questioning what are you doing? And well, maybe I'll just show them a decrease in incident rates, it'd be great to show them an uptick in engagement.

Jill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). And so how do you start those, those conversations to improve that engagement with people? What are...

Ryan:

Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of problems when measuring engagements that are quite costly. If you try to do it on antiquated systems like paperwork, where that data is just locked on paper, and then stored in file cabinets that may be transcribed into a database at some point in time, but you don't have the insight that you need to properly measure it. So the first step that I talk about safety managers is they take the leap and get into a digital system of some sort. Which one, I don't care doesn't matter, though, being an improved safety culture, yet a digital system. Start getting timestamp submissions in real time where workers are held accountable to the timing when they're performing their meeting. And when they're performing their jobs. And so that's what I really push for. I don't think that it's possible to nurture a safety culture without going digital.

Jill:

Sure. And so the point, the point being to be able to find those outliers?

Ryan:

Yeah. So-

Jill:

And be able to address them in a very pointed way.

Ryan:

Yeah, know where you should be exerting your energy. You are a knowledge worker, as a safety professional, you are a knowledge worker that needs to deliver knowledge. I think the 80/20 rule, or a firm that's implementing safety on paper 80% of their time is on administrative duties, and 20% of their time to work on knowledge and value creation.

Jill:

Great.

Ryan:

[inaudible 00:44:57] that, and remove that burden of administration from their place. So that they're able to start to think sit back and stop responding to firefighters or the whack a mole solution or being a sales manager just arriving to problems that always arise. And let's get proactive about this and start... You know what? You might find that you're bored for a little bit. That's great, because now you can get creative. It gives you the ability to read your mind from just being busy for being busy, safe.

Jill:

Yeah. So Ryan, you've done your work different places on the planet. I'm curious with regard to what we're talking about right now. Are you finding different countries or maybe even business sectors that are more inclined to say, "Yes, of course, we're going to do this, it makes complete sense."

Ryan:

Yes, I wish that I could say that I've seen that.

Jill:

Okay. Just checking.

Ryan:

Yeah. I mean, there's a few rules and regulations coming down the pipe, from a regulatory perspective, where they're... I'm seeing in Canada anyway, where they're mandating a company must implement safety on a digital platform or digital system, because auditors are hired now of getting milk crates of documentation letters Sonic coffee stains is illegible. And-

Jill:

I've had this kind of stuff rolled to me in little bread wagons like, "Look at all of our binders."

Ryan:

You want me to lift the stop work order?

Jill:

Right.

Ryan:

And this is what you're going to give me to do that? No, I can empathize. Right? I can understand as a business owner, you want to continue working, this is impacting your ability to make money, but you're not doing it safely. So what's the priority now? With this new I don't know if it hasn't been formalized into law yet. But I know it's in the works. And with the way things happen, when one country or one province or state adopt something, usually some of it trickles into everyone else's plans or that [crosstalk 00:47:25].

Jill:

That is hopeful. That is hopeful news.

Ryan:

Absolutely. And you know, people think of a subscription to software to go digital or building a software to go digital, whatever you want to do, is going to be costly. But I bring up the fact that I mentioned earlier preventative measures versus mitigation, up X versus off X, where do you want to save the money, because if you continue doing it the way you are, you're going to ultimately spend way more money and reduce incidents and web premiums and unplanned work stoppages caused by occupational injury like buddy hits his hand with or buddy drops the board on his toe, because he's he didn't wear steel toed boots, the site didn't have proper PPE.

Now he's not working. And you know what? Chances are the people he's working with aren't working either. So now that's an impact your productivity every year, over $55 billion is spent through productivity hits on site due to occupational injury. That's not even fatalities, that's just people breaking their arm or falling because they didn't have all protection gear on.

Jill:

Your back injury like your dads or musculoskeletal something or other.

Ryan:

Exactly. So you know what? If we can make any impact on that we're net win.

Jill:

Absolutely.

Ryan:

If we do a 1% impact on that $55 billion that is a net win. And that's the high level of when you bring that home, to the impact that's going to have on people's families, long term over decades, generations, that it's life experience now that you're impacted. And there's no amount of money that you can spend, that can rectify that.

Jill:

This is such an interesting topic, Ryan and such important work such important work. I'm wondering as we're winding down with our conversation today are there other things that you'd like to leave our audience with? Or if someone wants to study some of the same things you've studied? What would you recommend if what people are hearing is eye opening and thinking, "Gosh, this sounds really interesting to me. Where can I learn more about these things that Ryan's talking about." What would you recommend?

Ryan:

Absolutely. Your first question is, one thing I'd like to leave your audience thinking about is my experience in control system And Functional Safety engineering. Things came from the world of pneumatics, where there was no sensors, they were all just fell. And you know, they had pneumatic sensors that were with like physical plunger systems inside of them, they would all work on it automatically. But none of them talk to each other. Right? They would only respond to the thing that was right in front of them. I can draw a parallel to that being the paperwork system that we have in occupational health and safety today. Right?

Jill:

Yep, they got it.

Ryan:

And then how we got to where we are today was by putting in electronic sensor, putting in digital systems that would function and talk across the whole platform or offshore rig or facility, so that everyone knew what was going on, everything was visible and transparent. That's how we accomplished the specifications that I'm talking about a verse reduction today. And that is what going digital means. Is you've turned everything into a sensor, a data entry point where you can start to measure things and actually perform really high level work that can make a way bigger impact than just responding to OSHA investigation or a stop work order or an injury that happened on site.

Jill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Makes so much sense.

Ryan:

Yes. That's a future that I'm looking forward to these digital systems... Everyone has a smartphone, nowadays. And if they don't, that might be a signal that you get the person one or some other digital entry point doesn't have to be a cell phone, it can be a tablet, or a laptop, or whatever. But the cost of the hardware is minuscule to the cost of one incident where you didn't have the data. Learn more about what I'm talking about, I'd suggest there's... Like I mentioned a couple of organizations that a run lead on Functional Safety engineering. And it's TUV out of Germany, they're the governing body of a lot of functions. They like the originating regulatory authority, kind of like UL in North America, or ISA.

And then there is Exida, E-X-I-D-A, who do a fantastic job. There's many textbooks that I've read, that I bought from them about implementing Functional Safety engineering, and it's a life's... Like it's a holistic approach to an asset, if you consider a facility to be a singular asset that has inputs and outputs, and let's maintain that asset and its lifecycle is 50 years, 75 years, somewhere in that realm. Let's make sure that not only are we protecting ourselves up front, but also in 25 years from now.

Jill:

That's right.

Ryan:

Right? So that we're not we're not losing sight of keeping people safe. And with the Functional Safety engineering, when you're designing these loops, and building out this analysis and all these different requirements, maintenance is a big role. There's a very big role in this. And I could draw a parallel to that. And that's our training for Occupational Health and Safety, right? If you consider your workforce as the production side of your company, the maintenance your workers is training, and education.

Jill:

Good analogy. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ryan:

So when you are doing these, all these fault analysis on... Yeah, this valve will fail one in three times. But if I maintain it every three months, and I go and check it, it'll fail one in 100 times. Right? A person will fail one in 10 times, but if I continuously keep them up to speed with the latest and greatest training requirements and education that I can perform for them, you're going to fail one and 100 times. And that's not quantified. I'm just making assumptions. But that's the style of thought process that I'm trying to apply to Occupational Health and Safety that I'm bringing to Occupational Health and Safety.

Jill:

Thank you for that. And maybe Ryan, you can give us some links to the TUV and exceeded that we can put in the show notes for people if they want to learn more about that too.

Ryan:

Absolutely. Yeah [inaudible 00:54:39].

Jill:

Thank you. Thank you. Ryan, thank you so much for sharing your story today. This has been really enlightening and interesting. I appreciate it.

Ryan:

Absolutely. This is a blast. I love talking about safety and just in general. Doesn't really matter what the topic is.

Jill:

And so I'm so happy that they're people like you in this world. So thanks for the work that you do and that you've been doing.

Ryan:

[inaudible 00:55:02] and I appreciate you bringing me on to share the story and hopefully inspire more.

Jill:

Very good. Thank you.

Ryan:

Without being too complicated with our accents. I don't think they're too bad there, so.

Jill:

That's right. We think maybe we did okay. All right. All right. And thank you all for spending your time listening today. And more importantly, thank you for your contribution towards the common good. Making sure your workers including your temporary workers make it home safe every day. If you'd like to join the conversation about this episode or any of our previous episodes, you can follow our page and join the accidental safety pro community group on Facebook. If you aren't subscribed and want to hear past and future episodes, you can subscribe on iTunes, the apple podcast app or any other podcast player that you'd like.

We'd love it if you could leave a rating and review us on iTunes. It helps us connect the show with more and more safety professionals like Ryan and I. Special thanks to Will Moss, our Podcast Producer. And until next time, thanks for listening.

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