Hand Safety – Making a Hands On Connection

When I spoke at an EHS Today/Dyneema forum during the 2014 ASSE Professional Development Conference and Expo in Orlando, Fla., I conducted an informal hand safety poll. I asked the audience: “How many people have cut their hands?” Everyone in the room raised a hand.

When I asked how many people have had stitches on one of their hands, many people in the room kept their hands raised. Then I asked, “How many people have had stitches more than once?” In a room full of safety professionals, I learned that most people have scratched their hands, and many have had stitches multiple times.

Ever scar on your hand has a story. They key to improving workplace hand safety is helping others see and feel the same lesson that you learned from your hand injury – without the pain.

For example, several years ago, I used a utility knife to cut plastic. The plastic was harder than I expected, and I had to apply pressure to make the cut. When I applied the pressure, the blade broke and my hand slammed into the broken blade stuck in the plastic. I didn’t want to look at the damage because I knew that I’d made a mistake. The incident cost me six stitches and a good dose of humility.

As a result of the incident, I cringe every time I see a utility knife. I have a personal, hands-on connection with the risk. A productive hand safety initiative helps others see the reality of the risk without the painful experience.

The Hands-On-Safety Champion Program is a process that reduces hand injuries with employee involvement and a hands-on reality check. I cringe when I see a utility knife, and my instinct is to pull back when I have to use one because I remember my lesson. The goal of the program is to instill the same instinctive reaction in others without the pain.

Here’s how the Hands-On-Safety Champion Program works.

You choose natural leaders (champions) in your workforce and give them a responsibility to focus on hand safety. The program is a 360-degree process that promotes identification, coaching, and mentoring through positive peer-to-peer influence.

Champions conduct focused hand safety surveys with survey cards. The cards have 10 specific bullets that help champions evaluate common risks that cause hand injuries. Champions also use the platform to coach and mentor coworkers. The focused surveys are an opportunity to share their stories or make hands-on connection.

STEP 1: Select your Safety Champions

You need good people to lead the charge. Each supervisor should appoint a safety champion for his or her team. The champions lead the initiative to coach, mentor, and observe safe hand behavior in their areas.

Safety champions should possess the following qualities:

  • Positive attitude
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Interest in safety
  • Conscientious
  • A desire to achieve safety goals

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Safety Success with a Temporary Workforce

A Four-Step Process For Safety Success With a Temporary Workforce

Chances are, if you haven’t utilized temporary employees in your workplace, you’ve interacted with or heard accounts from someone who has. The use of a variable workforce to minimize human capital expense has resulted in substantial cost benefits for employers with fluctuating production schedules. In turn, there is an abundance of staffing agencies popping up, eager and ready to recruit for and fill those contingent positions.

With the demand for high-quality workers in large quantities coupled with short time-to-fill requirements, it is easy to see how certain details are skimped on in the process and employee safety, believe it or not, is a huge one. OSHA’s April 2013 initiative to protect temporary workers sought to bring attention to the issue of safety for temporary workers and change how worker safety is handled by both the host and actual employer. There are responsibilities for employee safety on both sides of the employment fence, and I will identify where partnership opportunities lies between a host employer and staffing agency.

As the former safety leader for a large staffing company, I can say with confidence that when asked, “What does safety mean to you?” leaders from nine out of 10 staffing companies will tell you plainly: “workers’ comp.” To a safety professional, that response sounds like nails on a chalkboard.

Read the entire article here.

Best Practices: Incident Investigations – Four Critical Stages

When I was an OSHA compliance officer, I performed several fatality investigations. One of my early investigations involved a fatality in a grain silo. The silo’s bottom part had an auger that transported corn. The corn had formed a crust over the auger and prevented the flow of corn. Two teenage cousins entered the silo to shovel the corn to another opening in the side of the silo. They had to walk on top of the 15-ft pile of corn to do so.

While they moved the grain to the side opening, they dislodged the crust above the bottom auger. As corn began to funnel through the bottom auger, the flow created a whirlpool effect and the boys could not escape. It was as if they were stuck in quicksand. They screamed for help but the response was too slow. One boy stood on a board on top of the corn holding his cousin’s hands as he was sucked into the grain funnel. He could not hold him and he watched as his cousin was pulled into the corn where he suffocated. The incident happened in the early 1990s, and I remember the investigation as if it were yesterday. I had to relive the incident in an interview with the surviving cousin. That was one of the hardest conversations I ever had because I could picture every word he described and I could feel the pain he felt for his loss. My memories of the investigation are vivid; but can you imagine how vivid the memory is for the cousin who lived? Incident investigations are designed to answer the question “why” so that we can prevent future incidents. No one wants to investigate an incident because it is a reminder that injuries impact people. An investigation process is vital to the success of any SH&E program because it turns a reactive process into a proactive tool. Investigation processes driven by systematic urgency and discipline prevent future problems when they identify the real cause of the problem—and management takes action to solve the problem(s). We learn from mistakes to avoid future interviews similar to the one I had with the survivor.

What characteristics do great investigation programs have?

Read David Lynn’s entire article here: Incident Investigations – Four Critical Stages from Professional Safety Magazine.


Injured at Work? A Root Cause Analysis Can Save a Life

What memories would you miss if someone you cared about was injured at work?

View the video below from the closing of David Lynn’s Training Course: How 2: Conduct a Root Cause Analysis. This presentation describes what it takes to be a results driven safety culture. The benefits create memories for employees for years to come.

Course Description: Seeking the REAL truth will differentiate your investigation skills with other safety professionals because many people just fill out the form…if you know what I mean. You can learn to do more by analyzing each step leading to an event!

This class will place you in a select group of professionals that do more than check the boxes on an accident investigation form.  You will learn how to seek the truth and find the origin of why an event happened.  The class takes a tactical approach to solving problems that result in an injury. Participants will learn how to collect information and analyze the facts using an event analysis tool.  The analysis tool prompts an investigator to evaluate the conditions and behaviors that contribute to each step leading to an incident. The process generates data that you can trend and identify causes as well as specific defense failures. With the data, you can develop sustainable corrective actions.

  • Introduction to Incident Investigation
  • Investigating Step by Step
  • Investigation Techniques
  • Analysis Tools that Reveal the Root Cause

Class Length: 6 Hours

For more information contact David Lynn.

What clients are saying…
“David’s tool is deceptively simple and straight forward. It’s application can be achieved by just about anyone interested in determining the underlying reasons as to why adverse events occur.”
– Michael Weatherred, CSP, Corporate HSE Senior Manager with FLUOR

Life and Safety is Honored at SC Biz Event

Life and Safety is being honored as one of the best performing businesses in the state of South Carolina at SC Biz News Roaring Twenties awards this year! The Roaring Twenties is an annual event hosted by SC Biz News and CertusBank where the South Carolina’s top business leaders gather to celebrate the best-performing companies in South Carolina. 20 Large and 20 small companies will be recognized at the event for a total of 40 honorees in an exciting countdown format that culminates in the crowning of the two best-performing companies in the state.

A great big THANK YOU to our clients, friends and family – and we will continue to work hard to remain one of the top performing companies in South Carolina for many years to come.