Saturday, May 2, 2009

Could Your Safety Picture Look Better?

Turn the Spotlight On Problem Areas. Start with your incident records, safety complaints, and other safety performance indicators. For example:
  • In which areas, if any, have you been experiencing a rise in near misses or accidents?
  • What kinds of injuries are being reported?
  • Which groups of employees are involved?
  • If you're currently experiencing compliance issues, how effectively and expeditiously are those problems being resolved?
  • What kinds of safety concerns, if any, have supervisors and employees been voicing lately?
  • What do safety committee members think are your main safety and health problems?
  • Which issues have been leading to the most workers' comp claims?
No doubt you can think many more ways to identify current or potential safety problems. Just by focusing on these key areas, you can probably significantly decrease risks and improve safety performance right across your workplace.

Train Away Deficient Safety Performance. In areas where you have experienced near misses or accidents, retraining is required to ensure that all workers involved understand what's going wrong and how to fix it. There may be other areas where nothing's gone wrong yet, but performance seems to be slipping. Refresher training is indicated for those situations. It gives you an opportunity to remind employees of safety rules and to reemphasize hazards and precautions.

Also, be sure that new employees are getting all the safety training they need right from the start, including all the basics as well as all the specifics related to their jobs. And when you train, be sure to explain right up front why the training is necessary. If you directly link training to protecting people from serious injuries, they're more likely to take you and the training seriously. Also be sure your training shows employees exactly how they can protect themselves.

Set Your Sights On a Banner Safety Year. This week, join with employees, supervisors, managers, safety committee members, and safety consultants to recommit your whole organization to flawless safety performance. For example, you could take advantage of North American Occupational Safety and Health Week to:

  • Hold safety meetings in every department to discuss safety issues specific to each group of employees.
  • Feature safety concerns and initiatives in your employee newsletter.
  • Put up posters and use payroll stuffers to remind employees to promptly report safety problems they notice anywhere in the workplace.
  • Promote your system for soliciting employee suggestions for improving workplace safety.
Why It Matters...

  • On a typical workday:
    • 17 workers are killed on the job by traumatic injuries.
    • 137 more workers die of occupationally related illnesses.
  • 17,138 workers are injured.
  • Forty percent of employees injured at work have been on the job for less than a year.
  • OSHA reports estimates that indicate employers pay almost $1 billion per week for direct costs of workplace injuries, not to mention hidden costs (lost productivity, extra training, and so on).
Thanks to Safety Daily Advisor


End Morning Madness

Whether you are married or single, have children or no children, getting ready in the morning can be very challenging to say the least. Putting a little routine into the day can make all the difference in turning a chaotic morning into one that is calm, smooth and more streamlined.

1. Rather than doing it in the morning, prepare lunches the night prior. Packing lunches after dinner can save you several minutes of valuable time in the morning so you can sit down and eat a good breakfast. Divide cheese and cut vegetables and fruit into small plastic bags that can be grabbed in the morning. Put individual packages of mayonnaise or mustard in lunches so sandwiches won't get soggy standing overnight. Put soup or chili into individual serving containers.

2. The same goes with your briefcase or purse. Put your keys, briefcase and all of the other things you will need for the next day in the same spot every evening so you can just grab everything and go in the morning. If the kids need certain things for sports or other activities, make sure they have them ready and all in the same spot the night before so the morning is not spent searching for something missing.

3. Plan out your wardrobe in the evening. Lay out everything from your undergarments to your accessories that you plan to wear. Ask your older children to pick out the clothes they plan to wear and have them lay them out as well. If some of the articles of clothing need ironing or mending, do it at this time.

4. Coordinate bathroom schedules with the people you live with. Fighting for the bathroom causes frustration and zaps you of the energy you need for the rest of the day. Discuss and designate times for everyone to use the bathroom in the morning. Consider showering and washing your hair the evening before. This way all the grooming you will need to do in the morning is to wash up, put on your makeup, and comb your hair.

5. Consider getting a low-maintenance haircut. Did you ever time yourself to see how long it takes you to do your hair in the morning? If it is taking you a long time to wash, dry and style your hair every morning, perhaps a simpler, more wash-and-wear style is in order. Talk to your hairdresser or barber and get a few suggestions.
6. Invest in a coffee maker with an automatic timer. Otherwise, set up your coffee maker the evening before. Then all you need to do in the morning is turn the machine on. If you're a tea drinker, put out your favorite bags in mugs in the evening or keep a small basket or container on the counter with a small assortment of bags. Set out your insulated travel mug near the coffee maker so you are ready to take a cup of coffee on the road with you.

7. Planning ahead is important for larger projects. As soon as you find out about an event at school that you need to prepare something for, make note of certain dates. After making a list of the things you will need, make a note of the date you will be purchasing the supplies. Also mark the date you will start preparation depending upon the size of the project. Lastly, mark the date of the event with a list of everything your child will need to take to school for that project. This way you won't be scrambling to make dessert or sew a costume for a play the morning the child needs to take it to school.

8. If you have young children, use the morning television programs strategically. Save a favorite program as a reward for when clothes are on, breakfast has been eaten and all of their things are ready to go.

9. If you tend to be groggy and forgetful in the morning, make a list the night before and tape it to your refrigerator or in another prominent spot where you will notice it. A dry erase board attached to your refrigerator is a good option. There is nothing worse than getting out on the road only to realize you left an important file at home. Avoid this by keeping a to-do list handy and check it regularly to make sure you have taken care of everything.

10. Wake up earlier. This may not be something you want to do, but it doesn't have to be much earlier, say 15 minutes. If your mornings are just too packed, you may need a little more time. To make up the difference, consider going to bed a little earlier as well. Remember that getting a good night's sleep is very important in helping to give you that good start to your day.
Thanks to Maria Gracia, Get Organized Now!


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Walk Your Talk

A few years ago I was invited to spend some time with Ken Blanchard at his lake home in upstate New York. Over the last 20 years Ken has probably sold more books than any other business author. His classic, The One Minute Manager, has sold over 10 million copies. He has also built a large training company with the focus on servant leadership and customer service.

I've had the good fortune to meet many successful businessmen, authors, and speakers during my career, but I've never met anyone that "walked the talk" more than Ken. He gets it. The first night of my visit to Ken's lake home, we were sitting on the deck with Humberto, his son-in-law, talking about some ways we could work together. It was about 10 p.m., when all of a sudden Ken jumped up and asked to be excused. He returned about 10:20 and Humberto asked "What happened?" Ken said, "I can't believe it; I forgot to call Dorothy on her birthday."

Later that night, after Ken had gone to bed, Humberto told me that Dorothy is an 85 year old part time employee for the company. It then dawned on me that at 10 p.m. Ken left to spend almost 20 minutes talking to Dorothy and inquiring about how she had spent her special day. However, after spending more time with Ken over the next year, I came to realize that this was no fluke. This is who he is. The last time while visiting him at his San Diego office, I learned that one of his employees who worked in the warehouse had recently passed away. On that day, Ken had invited the employee's wife to come to his office. When she arrived, he spent an hour walking around with her carrying a tape recorder to record all of the wonderful memories that other employees had of her husband. When the wife left she said it was a day she'd never forget.

You see, what many leaders would have considered a waste of time, Ken saw it as an opportunity to serve and to thank his people. He doesn't do it because it's expected of him, he does it because he truly cares. It comes from his heart, and his people love him for being the servant leader that he is.

This is an old Chinese poem that offers wonderful advice for any leader:

GO to the people
LIVE among the people
LEARN from them
LOVE them.
START with what they know,
BUILD on what they have.
But of the BEST leaders,
When their TASK is accomplished,
Their WORK is done,
The PEOPLE will remark,


An Excerpt from: You Can't Send a Duck to Eagle School
Mac Anderson / Founder, Simple Truths






Retention? Who Needs to Worry About That?

Effective employee recognition is timely and meaningful, says Tommy Lee Hayes-Brown, AIC, a certified recognition professional and member of the Multicultural Sales & Service Team with MetLife Auto & Home, a division of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

Local Control a Key

Each MetLife office is given a recognition budget and the discretion to decide who will be recognized and how, according to Hayes-Brown. "It's all left to the individual office," he says, adding that they did not want a "big mandate" from corporate.

Employee involvement in the recognition process is critical, he says. It has to be driven by the employees and modeled by the leaders. "Then you know it becomes part of your culture."

Three Tiers of Recognition

Following the "rebirth" of its employee recognition programs 6 years ago, with help from Recognition Professionals International (RPI), MetLife Auto & Home started offering three tiers of employee recognition:

1. Day-to-Day Recognition

"The day-to-day recognition is probably the most important," says Hayes-Brown. "It allows you to give employees constant feedback and encourage them to repeat that behavior."

Day-to-day recognition includes a pat on the back for a job well done, leaving a thank-you note on an associate's desk, or giving someone a roll of Life Savers candy for helping out and being a "life saver," he says.

Employees also can nominate a co-worker for recognition on a third-party vendor website, where they can describe what the associate did and identify a category the behavior falls into, he says.

The categories are tied to the company's core values. For example, this year's categories are innovation, learning, caring, and collaboration, Hayes-Brown says.

Local recognition committees—made up of local peers—review the nominations from the vendor website and decide the level of award. Employees selected for an award are directed to a website where they have access to a certain level of merchandise from which to choose.

2. Informal Recognition

This type of recognition includes celebrations of service milestones as well as team-oriented accomplishments. Associates and management determine what accomplishments are worthy of celebration and plan appropriate activities.

The type of activity varies widely, and has included themed parties, managers washing associates' cars, and the entire office participating in volunteer work together, he says.

3. Formal Recognition

Toward the end of each year, the company accepts nominations for formal recognition. Again, employees nominate on the vendor website.

A corporate recognition team, with representatives from every division, reviews the nominations and picks "the best of the best," Hayes-Brown says. Only about 2 percent to 5 percent of the employee population is selected.

Those employees are invited to a gathering where they meet the company president, attend "elegant dinners," and participate in teambuilding activities and focus groups, he says. "Not only are they recognized for what they did back home, but they are asked to help us move forward."

When employees are recognized and feel valued, "It creates a better working environment, which then creates a better customer experience, which creates more opportunities for us in the marketplace."

Hayes-Brown's Tips for Recognition Success

Here are a few tips to help strengthen employee recognition programs:

  • Be Strategic. Reinforce employees for behaviors that are consistent with your core values, your goals, and/or your mission statement.
  • Get Employees Involved In the Recognition Process. "It shouldn't be an HR program, nor should it be a management program," he says. "Everybody should own it. Everybody should have a piece of it. That's how you build it into your culture."
 Thanks to HR Daily Advisor


Give Value To Relationships

A man stopped at a flower shop for ordering some flowers to be sent as a gift to his mother who lived two hundred miles away.
As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the curb sobbing. He asked her what was wrong and she replied, "I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother. But I only have seventy-five cents, and a rose costs two dollars."
The man smiled and said, "Come on in with me. I'll buy you a rose." He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother's flowers.
As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride home. She said, "Yes, please! You can take me to my mother."
She directed him to a cemetery, where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave. The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the gifting order, picked up a bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to his mother's house.
At times we take many such relationships with our family and friends for granted. Learn to value them.
Best Wishes for Mothers Day!.
Thanks to PravsWorld


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

5 Keys to Improving Worker Safety Attitude

1. Take Safety Seriously

Every employee must take safety seriously in order to:

  • Avoid accidents that can cause fires, explosions, or other dangers
  • Avoid accidents that can cause job-related injuries
  • Avoid exposure to hazardous substances that can lead to serious illness
  • Comply with OSHA safety and health regulations
  • Comply with company work rules, policies, and procedures
2. A Positive Safety Attitude Makes the Most of Company Safety Tools and Training

When you take safety seriously, you take advantage of the protections available on the job. The safety procedures, equipment, and information employers provide include:

  • Engineering controls such as ventilation
  • Work procedures such as lockout/tagout
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, hard hats, and protective eyewear
  • Emergency planning and response programs such as alarms, evacuation plans, and eyewashes
  • Safety information such as chemical labels and material safety data sheets
  • Training on how to do your job safely
3. Carelessness Is the Most Common Cause of Workplace Accidents

Unsafe acts are often a factor in accidents. They result when people take attitudes like these toward safety:

  • Complacency. After performing a job many times without an accident, you may believe you're experienced enough to skip safety procedures or steps. That's exactly when an accident happens.
  • Being Upset Or Angry. You can't let emotions get in the way of doing your job correctly. Distraction can be dangerous.
  • Fatigue. Being tired can slow down your physical and mental reactions, causing your mind to wander.
  • Recklessness. Taking chances with tools, machinery, chemicals, or work procedures is foolish and dangerous.
  • Being Afraid to Ask Questions. Training and work procedures cover a lot of ground--sometimes too much to remember. Always ask when you're not sure what to do or how to do it. It shows you're smart enough to know what you don't know.
4. Take a Positive Attitude Toward Safety

  • Take personal responsibility for your own safety and that of your co-workers.
  • Pay attention to training.
  • Follow every step in every job every time.
  • Know and follow safety rules.
  • Use required personal protective equipment.
  • Give work your full attention.
  • Keep an eye out for hazards. Always ask, "What could go wrong here?"
  • Put your personal feelings and problems aside while you're working.
  • Urge your co-workers to follow safety procedures.
  • Know what to do in an emergency.
  • Ask questions about any procedure or precaution that's not clear.
  • Report any safety hazards you can't fix.
  • Save fooling around for your personal time.
5. Look for Opportunities to Improve Workplace Safety

Demonstrate that you have the right attitude toward safety by:

  • Volunteering for safety committees
  • Taking an active role in safety meetings and training sessions
  • Proposing safety improvements through the suggestion system
  • Cooperating with safety inspections and monitoring
  • Setting an example of a good safety attitude for others, especially new employees
 Thanks to Safety Daily Advisor


Monday, April 27, 2009

Crucial Conversations for Uncertain Times

Your 401K has been decimated, and you've been told neither you nor the workforce you manage should expect a raise this year. So, understandably, you're a little concerned. Wondering if your company will make it through this one?  Clues to your organization's future already have been set before you, according to "Financial Agility: The Four Crucial Conversations for Uncertain Times," a newly released study from VitalSmarts. The research findings show there are four crucial moments that predict an organization's ability to respond effectively and quickly to financial threats. Here are key points from the study: 
  • There are four behaviors (and resulting conversations) of uncertain times:
  1. Denial: Often, employees question the severity of financial crises and resist change. Unable to overturn doubts, leaders make across-the-board cuts or get bogged down in endless discussions.
  2. Silence: During financial crises, people often fail to hold teammates accountable to commitments made by the whole group. Companies that encourage people to speak up and hold others accountable to agreed-upon plans experience steady, rapid, and unified action.
  3. Protection Of Pet Projects: In many companies, employees half-heartedly engage in cost-cutting decisions. The most obvious and necessary cuts often are the boss' pet projects, but suggesting cuts there could be politically unwise.
  4. Irrational Slashing: Leaders often hastily conclude they can't trust their team to offer up real reduction opportunities, and consequently, they impose deep, across-the-board cuts. These companies emerge from recessions cynical rather than nimble and vital.
  • Some 60 percent of the more than 2,000 managers, leaders, and executives polled for the study say their bosses may offer potential solutions "but genuinely challenge the team to candidly discuss other possible options" when they have to respond to immediate budget constraints.
  • Fifty-two percent of respondents say their company tends to make "appropriate and intelligent adjustments in a very short period of time" when the organization's leaders are required to respond to significant changes in financial outlooks.
  • Some 40 percent of respondents say disagreements "rarely" occur among team members and the boss about how severe or urgent a financial issue is. Thirty-four percent say these disagreements arise "occasionally," and 11 percent say they "never" occur.
  • Forty percent of respondents say their peers talked to each other, but not with the person who was failing to act at times when people on the team failed to take the kind of rapid and decisive actions needed.
  • Forty percent also say it took their team "somewhat longer than ideal—a few weeks" to respond in an effective way to their financial challenge.
  • Twenty-seven percent say they "spoke up in a professional way and shared all of their criticisms of the organization's norms or practices" when faced with a time when the biggest savings would require taking on an entrenched cultural norm or practice. "Others added their perspectives, and the issue was fully discussed by the team," these respondents agreed.
  • Nearly half of respondents are satisfied with how their organization responded to the financial crisis. Forty-seven percent report: "We miss a few opportunities, but generally do O.K."
Thanks to Training Maganize