Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other

Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other

Humanizing Safety

Humanizing Safety is the title of the cover story in the most recent addition of EHS Today. In this article the authors (Terry Evans, Division Safety Manager at Wood Products and Troger Audino, EHS Practice Lead at Origami Risk) suggest 7 habits to help any organization do just that; Humanize Safety. At McCraren Compliance we believe safety is really all about people and proclaim our purpose as Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other. As such we want to share our own spin (although pretty closely aligned) on the suggested 7 habits for humanizing safety:

  1. Be Authentic – “Mean what you say and say what you mean”, “walk the talk”, and “lead by example” are all common phrases that demonstrate what it looks like to be authentic. Positive productive relationships are built on trust. The quickest way to erode trust is to say one thing and then do something contradictory or to set an expectation that only applies to certain people. Alternatively demonstrating sincerity through consistent and meaningful interaction with your people in the places where the work is being done will quickly establish your credibility. See how the work is done, inquire on the obstacles to meeting expectations, ask the people doing the work for suggestions and collaborate on solutions. Show your people they are valued.
  2. Become Influential – Once trust is established through authenticity, you open the door to influence. Engage your people in both formal and informal settings. Ask for input and about their interests. Close the feedback loop by communicating back how input was utilized and/or considered. People will only share their thoughts if they believe they are being heard and their ideas are put to use.
  3. Be a Servant Leader – This style of leadership transcends the “management” approach by redefining the role of the leader. Instead of directing, allocating, and resourcing a servant leader’s primary role is developing, supporting and aligning people towards a common goal. The idea is creating environments and systems that facilitate individuals to be successful will advance the team and the overall organization. Investing your own time and resources into people will provide the greatest return.
  4. Focus on Long-Term Results – Recognize for both your self and the people you support that small changes will add up over time. Within the context of humanizing safety, keep track of the individual and small team interactions and chart them next to your overall safety results. Note worker specific levels of engagement and compare with safety performance. Over time you will see how authenticity, influence and servant leadership is reshaping your overall safety culture.
  5. Be Courageous – Recognize as a safety leader (whether you have the title or not) you are the link between company executives and the front-line workers. Put those servant leadership skills to work by advocating for the safety needs of the workforce. Own your expertise and echo the input of those doing the work to the decision makers. Be that voice even (and especially) in the face of resistance.
  6. Become a Data “Beast” – Whatever you measure and report is ultimately where you focus your attention. Therefore be sure your safety stats include human interactions amongst other leading indicators. Use data you get from hazard assessments, training, coaching, safety talks, achievements and certifications and share this data directly with the real people behind these numbers. People will be most interested in understanding the data trends for the metrics they can directly influence.
  7. Take Action – Put your knowledge to work; leverage your trust-based relationships and influence your workforce to see that “safety isn’t just part of the job-it is the job.”

These topics amongst many others are including in our Safety Leadership training and our Safety Certifications offered through IBOEHS. Call, email or chat to find out more.

Tools and Resources for Suicide Prevention

At McCraren Compliance we have long been interested in how we can help reduce the incidence of death by suicide in the workplace and in the community. This desires goes way back in our very beginnings when our founder, Sean McCraren, lost a close friend to suicide. Through our long time safety pro, Allan Henson, Sean connected with local leader in Suicide Prevention Diana Jimenez-Young to train our staff. Later I (Sarah) was also introduced to Diana and the ASIST training, after my own loss. Several years later I deepened my understanding of the topic through a Train the Trainer opportunity via Working Minds (now VitalCog).  McCraren Compliance has been offering Suicide Prevention in the Workplace training ever since.

Over the last several years, and possibly somewhat as a result of the attention COVid brought to mental health overall, many many new recourses have been published to help support workplaces and their surrounding communities combat this issue.  With construction and extraction industries consistently being in the top 10 across all industries for fatalities from suicide, many of these tools are tailored to the causes and messaging appropriate to our workforce.

Here are a list of some of the tools available which we believe to be the most useful for our industries:

  1. Call or text 988 or text TALK to 741741 – Community resource for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis. This line is manned 24/7 and can be the initial bridge from immediate crisis to needed resources.
  2. CIASP – MindWise Screening (preventconstructionsuicide.com)  free online mental health check-up for employees to use as a self assessment tool. Can help employees self identify when they should seek support.
  3. Interventions database: – proven solutions you can introduce on your jobsite to support worker wellbeing. Part of the Construction Wellbeing Initiative from SkillSignal
  4. VitalCog: Suicide Prevention in the Workplace – This is the 2 hour training McCraren Compliance can provide to our clients
  5. Toolbox Talks – BTEA (bteany.com)
  6. How to Reduce Stigma Through Safe Language.pdf  – Can be incorporated into training or as a toolbox talk.
  7. How to Say the Right Thing to Someone Struggling – MindWise  – Can be incorporated into training or as a toolbox talk.
  8. MindWise Library – Online library of resources including a section of articles focused on the construction and extraction industries
  9. Mental health and substance use trainings for workplaces – MindWise provides many mental health and substance use related trainings for employers and their employees.
  10. 2023 SAFEBUILD VIDEOS – BTEA (bteany.com)  – Videos which can be incorporated into other trainings.
  11. International Association for Suicide Prevention – IASP -Expand your understanding beyond the United States to see what is working across the globe.

For more information on how to incorporate Worker Wellbeing and Mental Health associated workplace risks into your health and safety programs or to schedule Suicide Prevention in the workforce training, give us a call at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com

Total Worker Health – A Broader Perspective on Health and Safety

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Heath (NIOSH), has been promoting the concept of Total Work Health (TWH) for a while now. Despite the years of research and every growing library of tools and resources, its possible (maybe even likely) the concept is still a little fuzzy. For that reason we are dedicating this month’s Safety Leadership post to help increase awareness of the concept and advance the TWH paradigm by sharing some of the related NIOSH offerings.

First – what is it? Well in NIOSH’s own words  – A Total Worker Health approach is defined as policies, programs, and practices that integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with promotion of injury and illness–prevention efforts to advance worker well-being. 

Another way of explaining is TWH programs looks at hazards and risks from a complete or comprehensive perspective with solutions that integrate health and safety along with the concept of worker well-being. This is quite different from traditional programs which have separated health from safety and failed to consider the impact of non-task related factors which can and do have significant impacts on a workers overall well-being.

The idea of workers going home in the same condition as when they arrived should consider all aspects of health including mental health. While TWH programs prioritize hazard free workplaces, they go beyond traditional physical hazards and consider addition factors, such as stress, directly related to work and how they can also impact worker’s personal and family lives as well. Beyond that, benefits and compensation evaluations are also considered as we all know financial insecurities and access to affordable medical care have a HUGE impact on our overall quality of life and ability to thrive.

Here is a look at the Hierarchy of Controls through a TWH lens

Worker Health

You can see how traditional practices would still fit and yet this model takes a much wider look.

Here are a few examples directly from the NIOSH page which helps to make the financial case for TWH:

  • High work stress: Research shows that high stress levels, especially when experienced for prolonged periods of time, can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Workers who report stressors like high job strain (high demands, with low levels of decision-making power) have an increased frequency of heart disease [Theorell et al. 2016]. Work-related stress can also lead to depression, which contributes to absenteeism, presenteeism (workers going to work when they are sick), disability, and unemployment, which lead to higher costs for employers [Schnall et al. 2016].
  • Paid sick leave: A NIOSH study found that workers with access to paid sick leave were 28% less likely to suffer nonfatal occupational injuries than workers without access to paid sick leave [Asfaw et al. 2012]. Another study found that providing paid sick leave could have saved employers $0.63 to $1.88 billion in reduced influenza-like illness-related absenteeism costs per year [Asfaw et al. 2017].

Use the link above to see the full list of research demonstrating the benefits to the organization.

Here are several other resources to help your organization fully assess the safety, health and well-being of your workers.

McCraren Compliance offers a full range of safety and health training and consulting services. Plus we can help you incorporate well-being into your traditional systems in order to support the Total Worker Health of your workforce.

Call 888-758-4757, email info@mccrarencompliance.com or visit our website www.mccrarencompliance.com