The Break Room: Get Me Off This Bus!

In December, my husband and I traveled on Megabus from Pittsburgh to Cleveland. For those of you not familiar with Megabus or their brightly colored, double-decker buses, this bus carrier is famous for special travel deals as low as $1 and has accommodations that are, in my opinion, more comfortable and pleasant than other types of bus travel I’ve experienced. On this trip, we missed out on discounts and paid full price, but we were happy to settle into the front seats on the second level, where we could relax, let the driver do the work, and watch the miles zip by through the huge front windows. Unfortunately,  “relaxation” wasn’t […]

Building the Foundation for a Sustainable Safety Culture

Culture change in an organization of any size is not a simple process. When it comes to workplace culture, many elements contribute to creating and sustaining a strong culture of safety.  While it is likely that some of these elements vary from organization to organization, there are four distinct cornerstones that create a foundation on which a more effective safety culture can be built, despite complexity and variability among organizations. Cornerstone 1:  Leading Indicators Safety culture heavily is influenced by metrics. How safety is measured can fundamentally change how safety is managed, and how safety is managed is a primary contributor to an organization’s safety culture. In companies with strong […]

The Changing Definition of ‘Older’ Workers

The work force is getting older. People are retiring later in life than ever before. This trend has been a major concern for those in the health and safety field because the common knowledge has been that older workers are more prone to suffer very expensive injuries. However, new research from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) has cast doubt on this conventional wisdom, or at the very least, potentially changed the definition of “older workers.” NCCI studied different age groups and the rate at which they get injured. They found younger workers (under 35) had substantially more cuts on their fingers and older workers (over 35) suffer more […]

Managing Safety: The Power of Shared Definitions

Recently, a safety professional posed a question on a safety-related web site. He asked, “What is your working definition of safety?” Although everyone responding was a safety professional, many with years of experience and academic credentials, the answers varied greatly. Each response had merit and addressed one or more aspects of accident prevention, but none really encompassed the whole issue in a way that would bring clarity and focus. In my consulting experience, very few organizations have taken the trouble to define safety and the basic terms related to it. Many have created elaborate safety mission and vision statements designed to direct and motivate efforts, but I have found that […]

Managing Health: Ergonomics – Is It the Answer to Productivity Challenges?

The most important and the truly unique contribution of management in the 20th century was a 50-fold increase in the productivity of manufacturing workers, said author and management consultant Peter Drucker, and “the most important contribution management needs to make in the 21st century is to similarly increase the productivity of knowledge workers.” What Drucker describes is the greatest challenge facing management today. It is astounding that most employers have no idea how much productivity they are losing or why. This raises the obvious questions: How can you measure productivity loss in an office environment and how do you prevent it? The answer lies in ergonomics. It is the primary […]