What’s right about safety in your workplace?

January 12, 2017

Most of the time, in a workplace, there are no incidents and things go pretty well. But when it comes to safety investigations, we usually look at what went wrong, so we can prevent it from happening again.

Thumbs up and thumbs down in flat style - Illustration

Photo credit: iStock.com/sanlas

Safety leader Ron Gantt says we can also gain much by looking at what’s right. He’s giving a workshop for operations managers and safety and human resources professionals to explore the concept of Appreciative Investigations (AI) and explain how they’re done.

“You not only learn about stuff that could prevent accidents, but you also get to understand what is actually working in your organization, which is not something you think about often. A lot of times you assume – especially in safety – that ‘This new rule is in place and now there’s no accidents so the rule must be working.’ But is it? How would we know?”

Ron’s talk on AI at the Bridging the Gap construction safety conference last October piqued delegates’ interest, says Candice Thomas, Safety and Injury Management Advisor with the BC Construction Safety Alliance, which planned and hosted the conference. That’s why BCCSA worked with Ron to develop the forthcoming workshop.

“We wanted to continue the momentum of inspiration by providing industry professionals with the opportunity to learn how they could integrate positive investigations into their own management systems,” Candice says, and describes how AI gets more people involved in the safety process: “This is an invaluable tool to get unique insights on the inner workings of an organization you wouldn’t normally hear. People at all levels have an opportunity to voice their ideas about the way work is carried out, and to collaborate on unearthing areas of strength and those needing improvement in a proactive, positive way, rather than a reactive, blameful way.”

Ron’s Appreciative Investigation Workshop, hosted by the BCCSA, will take place on Thursday, February 2, in Vancouver.

Seven steps to better workplace safety meetings

January 04, 2017

These tips from Tanya Steele will help your team get the job done. Tanya is a safety trainer and advisor who presented Rejuvenating your Safety Committee at the 2016 Safety Committee Conference in Langley on Nov. 2, 2016.

1) Give out the agenda one week before the meeting

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Photo credit: iStock.com/Rawpixel

An advance agenda gives people a chance to add to it and to reflect what’s going on in the workplace.

“They want to contribute, not just show up and wing it with no agenda. One of the biggest complaints I hear in class is that the chair is unprepared or that the agenda comes the morning of the meeting.”

2) Start and end on time

People fall into the habit of arriving late if meetings don’t start on time.

“When I ask students to make a list of everything that drives them crazy about their committee meeting, it includes not starting on time and ending late.”

3) Bring snacks and water

People often want coffee and tea, which is fine — but what they really need is water.

“Have water for everybody, because when you’re hydrated your brain works better and you’re energized. You stay more focused. If you’re drinking coffee, you’re just dehydrating yourself with the caffeine.”

Good choices include bananas, apples, grapes, and granola bars.

4) Get the quiet people talking

One way to get quiet people to talk is to have a roundtable discussion, at the end of the meeting, where every member shares a story about what’s working well.

Encourage members to share something that’s good.  Have them talk to their department — because that’s who they’re representing — and ask if they have anything positive to contribute.”

5) Leave on a positive note and thank everyone for their time

It’s important to thank everyone at the end, explains Tanya: “People will start to get excited about being on the committee because they’ll see they are part of a purpose or a bigger plan.”

6) Recruit new people by asking in person

If you’re looking to invite people to join your safety committee, Tanya shares this advice: “Don’t just send out an email that says there’s a spot on the committee. If you actually physically go and ask somebody, and tell them why you want them, they’ll be more likely to join the committee.”

7) Make sure the chair controls the discussion

When people go off-topic, says Tanya, it’s important for the chair to steer the conversation back in the right direction. Add off-topic ideas to the agenda and revisit them at the end if there’s time.

For more information, see Joint Occupational Health & Safety Foundation Workbook and Joint health & safety committee member training from WorkSafeBC.

What’s right about safety in your workplace?

Most of the time, in a workplace, there are no incidents and things go pretty well. But when it comes to safety investigations, we usually look at what went wrong, so we can prevent it from happening again. Safety leader Ron Gantt says we can also gain much by looking at what’s right. He’s giving […]

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