If your EHS systems are not functioning optimally, then the organization faces difficulties. Over and over we find the same gaps and drivers. In brief they are:
- Lack of sufficient and effective resources to successfully manage EHS programs.
- The framework is there but the organization lacks effective and qualified EHS leadership;
- Competing goals and objectives hamper and dilute EHS management system success.
Sometimes, obvious indicators of system malfunction such as higher than expected injury rates or perhaps pollution problems stem not from what the obvious but systemic issues with the organization. That’s not particularly happy news to company leadership when they want a specific fix to where they think the problem is but it is a common reality; when EHS programs falter, it’s usually due to system culture and/or leadership gaps. That being said, we can most often fix the focus problems but administration of program elements must be recognized as a companion item due apt attention.
There were two workplace fatalities in Utah in one week and both occurred in excavations. It was a sobering reminder that despite decades of OSHA regulations, cases of workplace fatalities continue. Our assessment is that in general, the workforce populations most likely to be injured or killed on the job are the very new and then the tenured individual with years of experience. Why? Because the new person may not have the experience and job savvy and may be anxious to perform, and thus may be reluctant to ask questions about tasks. More importantly, they may not ask questions so as to not reveal their lack of competence – the exact reason why they should ask questions. These newer individuals need mentoring and added attention while they become familiar with their job. On the other side, it is oftentimes the tenured individual who becomes a workplace statistic because they may tent to approach their tasks based on tradition rather than the most effective and safe practice. They may take what we would call “shortcuts,” and in so doing, have exposure to injury or worse. Make sure that all individuals at your workplace follow uniform practice that meets or exceeds OSHA and industry safety standards.