Posts tagged ‘Risk Management’
In a business, change presents an opportunity to eliminate environment, health and safety (EHS) risks, and learning how to initiate and drive necessary change is an important skill for EHS leaders to cultivate.
Here are a few observations on how to reduce EHS risks by taking advantage of change:
- Identify the relevant opportunities: One of the key challenges is to explain which opportunities merit your involvement and why. While this may seem obvious to you, it may not be to your leadership or to the project managers who are under pressure to deliver results on schedule, under budget. There are the big opportunities such as a facility move, consolidation, or expansion, and new or modified equipment. These offer excellent opportunities to implement fire protection systems, machine guarding, electrical safety devices and ergonomic principles. New or reformulated chemicals or materials and changes in chemical use offer a more subtle opportunity to reduce EHS risk by substitution, improved control and more efficient use. New product introduction can be an opportunity to address long-term, regulatory-driven challenges such the European Union Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive or the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) directive. New customers, contracts and suppliers may be game-changers where EHS requirements are concerned.
Business leaders need to understand the EHS risks and opportunities that come with these new relationships.
- Get a seat at the table during the initial planning phase: This requires networking upfront with key process leaders as well as infusing EHS into the policies and procedures of the engineering, manufacturing and procurement departments. It also means engaging in strategic planning and product development processes. These relationship-building investments will pay dividends in the long-term. I have experienced missed opportunities due to lack of upfront involvement, such as failing to conduct a Phase I ESA prior to leasing a manufacturing facility and not specifying fireproof ceiling materials when renovating a building. Typically, trade-offs in material and equipment selection and capital investments are much more palatable when considered as part of a change.
- Make the business case in broad, but tangible terms: When conducting the traditional return on investment analysis that we are all familiar with, consider the financial benefits of EHS- driven investments that improve quality, improve productivity (e.g., more efficient material flow, reduced labor, and shorter cycle time associated with ergonomic improvements), reduce insurance premiums and avoid the cost of regulatory compliance administrative tasks (e.g., regulatory reviews, operating permits, and compliance training). Lastly, customer and employee satisfaction and retention are highly persuasive aspects of making a business case, if you can do it in credible, concrete terms.
- Reinforce the value of your involvement by measuring and reporting results: This is often forgotten in the swirl of the work day and the pressure to move on to new challenges. Once the change has been made and you are operating at steady state, do the analysis and demonstrate that the change has delivered what was promised. It will make people more receptive to your input the next time a change is contemplated.
What advice do you have for ensuring EHS is included in the management of change process? What lessons and success stories can you share?
Stephen Evanoff is Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety for Danaher Corp., a Fortune 250 global science and technology company. To learn more about the habits of effective change agents, tune in for NAEM’s Emerging Leaders webinar on “Strategic Influencing: How to Drive and Manage Change” on Sept. 20.
A few years ago a colleague sent me a research article. The article stated that 90 percent of training resources are devoted to the design, development and delivery of training, yet only 15 percent of what is learned transfers to the job (Brinkerhoff, 2006). After reading this article, I not only started digging up more research but I also quickly realized that I didn’t have a process or set of tools for evaluating whether our training program at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) was effective.
When I talked to my colleagues, I found out I wasn’t alone. All of us were evaluating whether participants valued the training and whether they actually learned. Beyond that, many of us also struggled with having the time or resources to evaluate whether our training was having a positive effect on safe work performance or contributing to the success of our organizational goals.
As I began to research the topic of training evaluation, I discovered that there was one dominant model used to evaluate training effectiveness. It is the Kirkpatrick Model. In short, the Kirkpatrick Model is built around a four-step process, in which each step (or level) adds precision, but also requires more time-consuming analysis and greater cost.
The following is a brief overview of each step:
Level One: Evaluating Reactions: Measures how participants value the training. Determines whether participants were engaged, and whether they believe they can apply what they learned.
- Evaluation tools include end-of-course surveys that collect whether participants are satisfied with the training, and whether they believe the training is effective.
Level Two: Evaluating Learning: Measures whether participants actually learned from the training.
- Evaluation tools include:
- Pre-test and post-tests and quizzes
- Observation (i.e. Did person execute a particular skill effectively?)
- Successful completion of activities
Level Three: Evaluating Behavior: Measures whether training had a positive effect on job performance (transfer). This is a cost-benefit decision, because this can be resource-intensive to evaluate, requiring a more time-consuming analysis. It may be that a level three is performed for safety skills that have a high consequence to error, where you want to make sure safety skills/performance transfer to the job.
- Evaluation tools include:
- Work observation
- Focus groups
- Interviews with workers and management
Level Four: Evaluating Results: Measures whether the training is achieving results. Is the training improving safety performance? Has training resulted in better quality, increased productivity, increased sales and better customer service? The challenge here is that there are many factors that will influence performance, so it is difficult to correlate increased performance to training alone.
- Evaluations include:
- Measure reduction in number, or severity, of incidents or accidents compared against the organization’s performance (or contract goals).
- Measure reduction in total recordable cases (TRC)
- Measure reduction in DART rate (days away, or restricted work)
When it comes to evaluating training effectiveness at your organization, what methods do you use? Has the Kirkpatrick Model worked for you? Which metrics do you collect? How have you evolved your training programs based on this kind of analysis?
James Basore is the EHS Training Manager for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He will share more details about his training approach in the “Driving Success Through Effective and Efficient EHS Training” session at NAEM’s EHS Management Forum on Oct. 17-19 in Naples, Fla.
With more than 30 years in the oil and gas, and hard rock and coal mining industries, Sandy Stash has significant experience representing business on controversial natural resource, public health and environmental issues. A petroleum engineer by training, she spent her early career as one of the first women to work as a drilling engineer and drilling rig foreman at ARCO locations across North America. Today she is the Global Senior Vice President of Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Operational Assurance at Talisman Energy. Her current project is introducing a holistic operational management framework that will govern risk management across Talisman’s global businesses. We spoke with her at NAEM’s recent Environmental Women’s Leadership Roundtable about her career.
GT: You were one of the first women to work as a drilling engineer. What was it like for you back then?
SS: Actually, it was a blast! In all seriousness, I made a conscious decision, particularly as a woman, to get some good solid field experience. The first thing I learned about was the equipment. I also gained a better understanding of the culture of the oil industry. And finally, I learned an awful lot about influencing people because as you might imagine, I was a 22-year-old female thrown on a drilling rig, ostensibly to be “the boss,” yet I really didn’t know what I was doing. I think I learned a lot about how to listen to people, how to influence them and how to build the teamwork necessary to make me successful.
GT: Throughout your career, you’ve also been involved with driving change in a lot of complex organizations. What are some of the strategies you’ve used?
SS: Well, first of all, it’s very, very hard work because I think that as human beings we tend to be change resistant, so I think it’s important to take the time to understand everyone’s perspective. Number two, there’s a bit of collaborative work that needs to be done to come up with a common vision. In other words, it’s a lot easier if you own part of the change, rather than having someone else telling you that you need to change. The third thing is that once you’ve made the decision, you need to be very clear about who is accountable for the outcomes. And finally, and this may be the toughest part, you’re always going to have some people who don’t want to get on board, and you need to get them out of the way.
GT: You have been involved with structuring the EHS guidelines for Talisman’s hydrofracking operations. One of the most important components you identified was a commitment to transparency. Could you explain why you included that?
SS: Hydrofracking or ‘fracking’ comes under a lot of pressure because of the concerns that people have about the materials or the chemicals that go into the frack jobs. Truthfully, it’s a very, very small percentage because mostly it’s water and sand, but we feel that we can dispel a lot of concerns and bad information by just fully disclosing what chemicals are in our frack jobs. And finally, by being transparent about chemical usage and whatever it is, the next very important step is that you actually set metrics to improve, reduce or increase whatever the metric is. So transparency leads to very important target-setting, which is important for all of us to continuously improve our businesses.
GT: You also said that your attitude when it comes to incidents is “Not on my watch.” What did you mean by that?
SS: I think that as HSE professionals we should be preventing accidents, not responding to them. We may always have the need to respond, but the more we can do in the way we design our plants, operate our plants, train our people and create clarity around people’s accountability, the better we will be at preventing accidents in the first place.
For more interviews with speakers from the Environmental Women’s Leadership Roundtable, please visit www.youtube.com/NAEMorgTV.
While working and benchmarking with a wide variety of companies, I hear a range of interpretations of what constitutes an “ergonomics program.” Unfortunately, the term is being used to describe a mix of approaches (in addition to ergonomics) to managing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
Several leading organizations are in the process of evaluating and changing their programs to simplify, improve focus and improve efficiencies in addressing and preventing MSDs. Currently, there are five general, but very different, approaches used to manage MSDs. Companies use a few, some, or all of these to reduce losses resulting from these types of injuries.
1. Change the Work and Workplace: This approach focuses on the design of new jobs, or changes to existing workstations, tools and equipment to better fit the population doing the work. This is occupational ergonomics, which has been defined by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) as “The science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of the working population. Ergonomics is an approach or solution to deal with a number of problems – among them are work-related musculoskeletal disorders.”
The most effective workplace changes are engineering controls, which are adjustments and changes in the physical workplace to ensure that the reaches, forces and distances are within the acceptable limits of the workforce. This means designing the workplace to fit people, from the fifth-percentile female to the ninety-fifth-percentile male, to prevent exposure to MSD risk factors for most workers. Engineering controls have been proven to be effective and efficient through research and benchmarking studies.
A secondary level of control is administrative controls, or changes to the administration of work, like job rotation, rest breaks and slowed pace. Unfortunately, administrative controls do not reduce or eliminate the presence of MSD risk factors; they just reduce the exposure time. They can also create additional work and challenges for managers and supervisors as they shift people between work task assignments.
Both of these types of controls are best supported by ergonomists, engineers, and professionals qualified in ergonomics.
2. Change the Capability of the Person: This approach is based on trying to change the capabilities, fitness and stamina of the individual doing the work. This is an element of fitness and wellness programs, and includes stretching, exercise and conditioning. The focus is on changing the individual employee and is dependent upon the willingness and participation of people, as well as their existing physical condition.
Although some organizations mandate stretching before and during work, many find it a challenge to get people to participate in stretching and wellness programs. In addition, company-mandated stretching programs have not been proven to be effective in preventing MSDs.
Unfortunately, employers have limited influence on the personal health and wellness of their employees, and have no control over pre-existing conditions. This approach is typically supported by fitness trainers/specialists, physical therapists and occupational therapists.
3. Change how the Person Performs the Task: This approach is based on getting people to behave differently in hopes of reducing exposure to MSD risk factors. This is behavioral modification, and may include behavior-based safety programs, training and awareness campaigns, and use of body mechanics. This requires people to change their perceptions of work and risk, and change how they perform work (consistently throughout the day, week and their careers).
Even when behaviors do change, they rarely have a significant impact on preventing exposure to MSD risk factors. Managers have expressed their frustrations on “getting people to use safe working practices.” This approach is typically supported by behavioral safety professionals/programs, training and fitness trainers.
4. Fit the Person to the Task: In this approach, the focus is on the individual employee (or candidate), measuring their physical abilities (strength, reach, range of motion), and matching their individual capabilities to the demands of work tasks. This is accomplished by conducting a Functional Job Analysis and Pre-Work Screening to match the results to Functional Job Descriptions.
It requires an investment in performing tests on each employee and the time to match them to the physical demands of a task. This practice was in favor in the 1960’s through the early 1980’s but appears to be waning. It is our experience that 15 to 30 percent of U.S. companies still practice this approach. Companies in which manual material handling and field tasks are common typically have these programs in place.
Physical therapists can provide valid test methods to help match the capabilities of an individual to the physical requirements of a task.
5. Fix the Person: When people experience an MSD or sprain/strain injury, they must be diagnosed and treated, and then managed in their return to work. This is medical management, a reactive program to reduce the losses due to injuries that have already occurred. The need for good medical management is totally dependent on the exposure to MSD risk factors in the workplace and the effectiveness of the ergonomics, fitness and job placement programs in place. A medical management program is best supported by health care providers (nurses and doctors) qualified in occupational health.
So, how does your organization manage MSDs?
What approach or approaches do you use?
What has worked for you and what hasn’t?
What changes have you made to improve management of MSDs?