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It has taken me 25 years to diagnose it, but I have finally establish the "Delusional Safety Syndrome" (DSS).  It is the only mental illness known at this time that is actually contagious.  It is spread by close contact with an infected person.  It can lie dormant for years and the infected person can spread the disease before they even recognize they are ill.  Some symptoms include:

As part of their Industrial Safety Ordinance Contra Costa County, CA developed a VERY NICE safety culture survey.  It is a requirement for CalARP facilities, but just a GREAT RESOURCE for the rest of us.  Check it out Attachment E: Safety Culture Assessment (PDF).  You may have some work to do to get it in a manageable format, but the content is WORLD-CLASS and it is FREE!

Industrial Safety Ordinance
Industrial Safety Ordinance
Industrial Safety Ordinance

Many Americans often worry about plane crashes or lightning strikes. But everyday things like driving pose greater risks to our safety. Find out more about your odds of dying from various causes.

  1. Odds of Dying 2015 (NSC)
  2. Safety irony of the week...
  3. What does management commitment to safety look like?
  4. Believe in what you do!
  5. A toothpaste factory had a problem (Cliff Williams)
  6. Being a SAFETY LEADER is not easy... (2)
  7. Being a SAFETY LEADER is not easy...
  8. Obituary – A Wake up Call!
  9. “FROM ROUTINE TO NON ROUTINE”
  10. The Value of Self Assessments
  11. Safety Poem - I have to say goodbye today (LOTO)
  12. A Message to my friends and co-workers about Fatigue, Rushing, Frustration, Complacency!
  13. Injury Myths
  14. “An Accident Waiting To Happen”
  15. “SEAT BELTS” (Alias: seat-belts)
  16. “SAFETY SPEAKING”
  17. “MOLE HILLS TO MOUNTAINS”
  18. “HURRY UP-- CAN HURT”
  19. Getting to ZERO! - See it, Believe it, Sell it, Achieve it!
  20. Reach out and Touch Someone -John W. Schlatter (true story)
  21. WHO AM I? ... I AM CARELESSNESS
  22. “SAFETY” - “MEANS” A LOT
  23. “EXCUSES” (Alias: excuses)
  24. “Eternal Mistakes”
  25. “SHORT CUTS”
  26. MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL - A SAFETY LEADERS CALL
  27. “Some Mistakes During Electrical Work” (By Jim White, Shermco Industries)
  28. “Safety Resolution”
  29. “ZERO WORK HOURS WITHOUT TAKING A CHANCE”
  30. “Wet Weather Safety”
  31. GOOD LEADERS DON’T SET BAD EXAMPLES
  32. The Safety Poem... As I go to work today
  33. Safety Slogans
  34. AVOID THESE PITFALLS
  35. “Safety”- Be The Leader
  36. Safety from the perspective of EVERYBODY, SOMEBODY, ANYBODY, AND NOBODY
  37. On your child's Life (A Parents Safety Pledge)
  38. Health & Safety Test
  39. Who Packs Your Parachute
  40. SAFETY ATTITUDE
  41. TODAY'S CHOICE
  42. THE POWER OF RESPONSIBILITY
  43. How To Lead By Example
  44. Getting to our Goals - “Lesson from a Custodian"
  45. POWERFUL Safety Lesson (True Story)
  46. Attitude to Safety     
  47. Make SAFETY a VALUE
  48. What does safety mean?
  49. FIVE HABITS OF VERY SAFE PEOPLE
  50. Five Distractions from Work
  51. Three Myths About Injuries
  52. Your personal accident-prevention plan
  53. Safety Quotes
  54. Silence Is Not Golden     
  55. RESPONSIBILITY SAFETY
  56. ALWAYS BE SAFE
  57. CLOSE CALLS AND NEAR MISSES
  58. WE KNOW BETTER!!!!
  59. Employee Engagement
  60. Safety Bullet, Excuses
  61. PARAPROSDOKIANS
  62. Line Of Fire Hazards
  63. ZERO WORK HOURS WITHOUT TAKING A CHANCE
  64. Safety Appeal
  65. ITS UP TO YOU
  66. Accident Reporting and Prevention Awareness
  67. Can Do Attitude-Can Get You Killed
  68. SAFE WORK PRACTICE
  69. EYE PROTECTION AND FLYING OBJECTS
  70. Safety and Apathy
  71. PINCH POINTS AND YOUR HANDS
  72. Eyes, protecting your EYES
  73. “COMMITMENT TO SAFETY”
  74. RECOGNIZING AND CONTROLLING SLIP AND TRIP HAZARDS
  75. Caught in Hazards - Quiz
  76. SAFETY ATTITUDE
  77. “CORE VALUES AND SAFETY”
  78. EXPLODING TYRES ON MOBILE EQUIPMENT
  79. “SAFE WORK ZONES”
  80. “ATTITUDE/ BEVAHIOUR AND SAFETY”
  81. Setting The Example!!
  82. Traits of a Good Leader
  83. “Hazardous Behavior In The Workshop”
  84. DO YOU FOLLOW THE RULES
  85. “DON’T” TAKE YOUR EYES FOR GRANTED
  86. “Housekeeping”
  87. “Personal Responsibility“
  88. “Conscience Driven Safety”
  89. "BASICS”
  90. “Different Controls on Similar Equipment”
  91. “Avoiding Electrical Shock”
  92. “CRANE SAFETY”
  93. ADOPTING A “VIRAL” APPROACH TO SAFETY
  94. LINE OF FIRE HAZARDS PART 1
  95. “Personal Accident Prevention Plan”
  96. SILENCE AND UNSAFE PRACTICES
  97. “ALCOHOL AND THE JOB”
  98. “Depression And Personal Safety”
  99. “Hazardous Haste”
  100. CAR SAFETY: DISTRACTIONS FACED
  101. “Sharpening Our Axe”
  102. The video EVERY WORKER should see - "The Costs of Accidents" (Harsco Video)
  103. A Simple Safety Lesson
  104. I never kid about safety!
  105. “I believe in Safety!”
  106. Sheldon Cooper the Safety Professional
  107. The Accident Insurance Policy
  108. Engineering Study, Toothpaste
  109. PRINCIPLES ABOUT THE LAW OF THE PICTURE
  110. JUST FOR TODAY…
  111. The Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, Nobody Safety Committee
  112. “DOING THE RIGHT THING”
  113. Safety Attitude Survey
  114. Decisions, ITS YOUR DECISION
  115. I Resolve...
  116. EVERYONE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SAFETY
  117. And That's How It Happens...
  118. AFTERTHOUGHTS AND REGRETS….
  119. A SINGLE SECOND
  120. The Front Fell OFF! (PR effort after catastrophic accident)
  121. Ausgrid Stayin' Alive safety video
  122. "Chance"
  123. I AM - a Safety Radical
  124. If You Want Happiness - A Chinese Proverb
  125. Are accidents the evil poison we make them out to be?
  126. Psychology of Safety ----- Who are you kidding
  127. Coal Miner’s Family Prayer
  128. Where would we be without Safety Professionals?
  129. Why Safety is important to me (Video)
  130. Safety Poem
  131. What's easier... getting someone to AVOID an UNSAFE ACT or to get them to COMMIT a SAFE ACT
  132. Safety Creed
  133. Start Each Day with Safety
  134. SAFETY- SPEAKING IN QUOTES
  135. From the eyes of a Safety Professional
  136. Let your team members know you care! SendOutCards
  137. Ready To Respond To An Electrical Emergency
  138. MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL! A SAFETY LEADERS CALL
  139. Maintaining Focus During The Working Day
  140. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR SAFETY
  141. Safety is ALL ABOUT YOU!
  142. I’m Going Home… And so are You!
  143. Safety Culture
  144. Personal Accountability
  145. Definition of a Safety Professional
  146. WHY SAFETY PEOPLE ARE IMPORTANT
  147. Where does safety stop for a safety professional?
  148. 911 Call - 28 year old crushed by forklift
  149. Safety Rap!
  150. For The Life of a Friend
  151. Workers Memorial Day 2011 Video     
  152. Supervisor handling a workplace inspection (Video)
  153. Another GREAT video for safety professionals to laugh with
  154. Safety Supervisor Song
  155. TXTNG & Driving...It CAN WAIT!
  156. The More Routine The Task.. The Bigger The Safety Risk?
  157. Safety Communications...When is it too much?
  158. I Chose to Look The Other Way
  159. It's Up To Me
  160. Definition of a Safety Pro!
  161. Special Safety Message
  162. TOO EXPERIENCED
  163. Saturday with a Great Start - But Poor Finish
  164. The Funeral

Stepping up on my soap box...  Some people filling the role of safety person need to take a long look in the mirror.  If you do not believe your role in the organization is the most important then how in the hell do you expect anyone else to believe it.  Stop looking to management to prop you up and take charge of the safety movement and be a leader!!  

Many of you may have seen an email that has been circulating for a few years or read a post by Terrence O’Hanlon on the LinkedIn site of the Association of Maintenance Professionals. This is a well thought out follow up to that story and worth a few minutes of your time. We can all learn something here.

Here is the original story -

A toothpaste factory had a problem. They sometimes shipped empty boxes without the tube inside. This was caused by the way the production line was set up, and people with experience in designing production lines will tell you how difficult it is to have everything happen with timings so precise that every single unit coming out of it is perfect 100% of the time. Small variations in the environment (which can’t be controlled in a cost-effective fashion) mean you must have quality assurance checks smartly distributed across the line so customers all the way down to the supermarket don’t get angry and buy another product instead.

Understanding how important that was, the CEO of the toothpaste factory got the top people in the company together and they decided to start a new project in which they would hire an external engineering company to solve their empty boxes problem since their engineering department was already too stretched to take on any extra effort.

The project followed the usual process: budget and project sponsor allocated, RFP and third-parties selected. Six months (and $8 million) later, they had a fantastic solution - on time, on budget, high quality and everyone in the project had a great time. They solved the problem by using high-tech precision scales that would sound a bell and flash lights whenever a toothpaste box would weigh less than it should. The line would stop and someone would have to walk over and yank the defective box out of it, pressing another button when done to restart the line.

A while later, the CEO decides to have a look at the ROI of the project and sees amazing results! No empty boxes ever shipped out of the factory after the scales were put in place. There were very few customer complaints and they were gaining market share. “That’s some money well spent!,” he says, before looking closely at the other statistics in the report.

It turns out the number of defects picked up by the scales was zero after three weeks of production use. It should have been picking up at least a dozen a day, so maybe there was something wrong with the report. He filed a bug against it and after some investigation, the engineers came back saying the report was actually correct. The scales really weren’t picking up any defects because all boxes that got to that point in the conveyor belt were good.

Puzzled, the CEO travels down to the factory and walks up to the part of the line where the precision scales are installed.

A few feet before the scale was an inexpensive desk fan blowing the empty boxes out of the belt and into a bin.

“Oh, that,” says one of the workers, “one of the guys put it there ‘cause he was tired of walking over every time the bell rang.”

 

Many of us laughed and said, “That’s what’s wrong with industry” and “Those closest to the problem”.

The general consensus was that the CEO was in the wrong and there was no doubt the worker had done the right thing and we need more of those types of solutions. On the face of it, this appears to be true, but what happens if we take a deeper look at this story.

First of all, the worker just ignored a system that the company had paid a lot of money for - that was set up to capture information that would help measure the extent of the problem and maybe, just maybe, prompt further investigation. Or at least it might have, but the worker didn’t know or care to know.

The project took six months - this must have meant people were in and around the area - ample opportunity for the worker to give input. Why didn’t he give it? Why wasn’t he asked for it? (Isn’t that what some consultants do - come into your plant, ask the operator what the problem is and then write a report stating that?)

I’ve worked for Ma and Pa shops and Coca-Cola and I can state categorically that there was never a problem such as this - in consumer packaged goods, the biggest crime is for a faulty product getting to the marketplace as the empty boxes did - when the CEO was the only person who knew about the problem. This type of problem is the biggest stick that CEOs will use to beat those below them. So what happened to the plant manager, quality group, etc.? Did they show up and the worker ignored them too?

Next, an inexpensive fan was installed. Whenever I’ve seen such solutions, they are plain unsafe! The cord runs across the floor, or even worse, is draped about head high onto the machine. Did anyone check if the fan could fall into the conveyor? Did maintenance know they now had another strategic piece of equipment to take care of?

The engineers visited the site to ensure the scales were working correctly. Didn’t they see the fan?

So what at first seemed to be a case of a stupid CEO and a much maligned worker turns into a comedy of errors. Would you want any of those people - CEO, plant manager, quality, engineers, or even line worker - working for your company?

Before you answer that question, did you see the biggest mistake of all? The one most prevalent in North American industry? The one that most often gets missed?

They were all dealing with SYMPTOMS; the actual problem they all needed to address was WHY WERE THE BOXES EMPTY?

No one was upset that what the worker had done was just maintain waste - empty boxes that had been printed, cut and formed ending up in a bin.

There was no mention of the missing toothpaste tubes - waste also?

So many times in accident reports, downtime analysis, etc., we look at the story at the level that Terrence posted it - and never dig deeper - never get to root cause - never eliminate the defect.

So maybe when we next see a story or read an incident report, we won’t take it at face value and instead probe a little deeper.

Later on I posted a “Happy Ending” for this fairy tale - and it goes like this:

So the CEO returned to his desk very happy that at least the empty packages weren’t getting to the customers. He continued to monitor the results, and for a couple of weeks there were still no empty packages causing line stops. However, on the third week, there were 15 instances of alarms, but the CEO believed this might just be a blip.

When the next week revealed another 15 alarms, he decided to visit the shop floor again. When he got to the scales, he noticed the fan was no longer there.

“Hey Bill, what happened to your fan?”

“Don’t talk to me about that fan. Your new safety officer came down here and decided that the fan was unsafe. The cable was on the floor and the fan was held in place with electrical ties. He said until we had a conduit run and a proper mounting for the fan, we couldn’t use it. Knowing how long projects take in this place, that will be a couple of months!”

“Well, you know that safety is #1 Bill, keep up the good work.”

“Oh, one other thing before you go back to your office.”

“What’s that Bill?”

“My name is Bob!”

So the next week, the CEO saw the alarms at a rate of 15 again and took solace in the fact that it wasn’t increasing.

When he saw the following week’s report with no alarms, he was intrigued. Even he knew that the electrical group never did anything that quickly and he was afraid that they had ignored the advice of the safety officer, so he headed back down to the scales.

“Hi Bill, er Bob, I see the fan’s not ready yet, but you didn’t seem to have any empty packages last week, how come?”

“Come with me,” and Bob started off up the line. “I got so fed up with that bloody alarm that I called Joe the mechanic to see if he could do anything. Well he asked me a stupid question, ‘Why are they empty?’ When I told him I didn’t know, he said, ‘Let’s go find out,’ so we did and that’s where we’re headed now.”

Bob and the CEO finally reached the area where the toothpaste tubes were fed into the boxes and the CEO could see two pieces of plastic tie wrapped around the feeding chute.

“When we got here, Joe noticed that every now and then a tube wouldn’t enter the package and so he started to take stuff apart. He seemed happy when he told me the problem was really a simple one yet at the same time one that wouldn’t go away. He said the feeding chain for the boxes stretches as it gets used and that’s normal. The problem is when it stretches to the point of not quite lining up with the chute. The chain still has plenty of life though, so he put those pieces of plastic there so the tube wouldn’t fall over and would find its way into the box!”

The CEO just laughed and shook his head. “I guess that’s what you call getting to the root cause of the problem. Bob, can you talk with Joe and figure out when would be a good evening for me to take you both out to dinner - this is great work. Oh, and don’t forget to cancel the fan project!”

 
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