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Continuing to delve into the latest trends and techniques in workplace safety, the Southeast Region featured Sara Wallon, EHS Director for PGT Custom Windows + Doors of Venice, FL, who discussed approaches to developing a comprehensive company “Safety Playbook.”

Wallon reviewed the characteristics of a safety culture that leads some organizations to become top performers. She challenged attendees to aspire to become visionaries instead of just compliers. The former she defined as those who “actively seek and learn more about safety methods and thinking” and are “internally driven to innovate and provide greater service to others.” On the other hand, compliers “complete safety activity because someone – such as corporate bosses, OSHA, etc. – told them to do so.”

She encouraged the adoption of goals and metrics to track progress toward realizing them, noting that “goals are the destination; metrics are the road map.” Viable goals and metrics must:

  • Be Visible – If I can’t see it, I don’t know it
  • Be Current – If it’s out of date, it’s not measuring
  • Be Comparable – If it doesn’t relate, it doesn’t matter
  • Be Attainable – If I can’t reach it, it’s not worth trying
  • Be Simple – If I don’t understand, I won’t do it
  • Be Uncluttered – If I have to dig for it, I won’t take the time
  • Be at Point of Work – If I’m not reminded, I will forget
  • Be Stable – If it’s a moving target, I will lose interest

Wallon suggested the use of tracking tools, such as project status summary sheets that include the name of the specific project and the person identified as the project owner, the stated goal, the problem statement, tracked metrics of results over time and a deliverables calendar. Other useful tools are the use of Safety Action Cards to track observed actions, record feedback provided and describe corrective and preventive actions implemented, and incident response techniques such as “hot seat” incident follow-up meetings to review implemented and planned corrective actions.

Approaches to changing existing behaviors involve attention to both the physical (ability facilitation) and psychological (motivation) factors of the task.