Safety Management Scorecard: First of A Kind Survey Looks At Oil & Gas

It has been about six years since offshore operators were required to have Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) plans.  Since then, a lot of offshore contractors, as well as landside operators and contractors, have adopted safety management plans.  Ever wonder how well we are doing?  We did, so we surveyed industry. Here’s what we found.

Continue reading “Safety Management Scorecard: First of A Kind Survey Looks At Oil & Gas”

OSHA To Dodge Ax In New Trump Budget

For anyone who was worried (or hoping) that the Trump administration would gut worker safety, the next budget does neither.  In the budget request released this week, the administration is requesting roughly the same funding for OSHA as the department received this year.   Under the request, OSHA would receive $543 million, about what it had to spend this year.

Dig a little deeper and the administration is trying to alter OSHA’s course to make it more proactive in working with industry to solve safety problems, rather than waiting until a company is caught violating or an employee gets hurt.  The budget would increase staffing to support the  Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), which helps companies produce top-quality safety programs.  The request would also restore vacancies that have not been filled in the compliance and investigations side.  The administration caught flack recently for leaving compliance positions vacant.

On the negative side, the budget requests zero funding for the Susan Harwood Training Grant program just like last year, a decision that upset many in the safety field. Critics also argue that OSHA is already underfunded and a flat budget just causes it to fall further behind.

Remember, for many years Congress has not exactly followed this or any President’s budget requests. However, by asking for the same level of funding, the Administration is signalling that it will not push to lower safety thresholds in the American workplace.

New Research Points To High Costs of Bad Supervisors

If you are concerned about the cost of training your supervisors, new research says you may be exposing your companies to an even higher price tag.  The study, done at the University of Texas at Dallas, indicates that abusive supervisors can create problems throughout the company:

Research has shown that abusive supervision affects more than 13 percent of U.S. workers. Costs incurred by corporations because of absenteeism, health care costs and lost productivity has been estimated at $23.8 billion annually.

The authors found that the damage from abusive supervisors extends far beyond the direct costs listed above.   Bad supervisors and managers impact the way employees view their company.   Employees lose trust in the company, Quality and safety suffer.  Turnover goes up.

What this does to culture?  Every company has its own culture, roughly defined as “the way we do things.”   In a good culture, employees are engaged.  They trust management to do right by them and they respond with increased production, less turnover and higher quality.   In a good safety culture, employees believe the company’s commitment to safety and  openly communicate near misses and hazards to management.   Supervisors are the key to establishing that trust and an abusive supervisor can undue everything a company does to build a strong culture.

How does supervisor training help?  Let’s start with the path most supervisors take to their job.  In a lot of trades, they were promoted from the crew, either because they were good at their jobs or, in too many cases, just because they had some seniority and were reliable.  They may be insecure about their own abilities.  They may be good at doing but inexperienced at coaching and directing.  Their only experience with supervisors may have been the ones who run their crews by “tellin’ and yellin.”   Anyone surprised if they respond to their lack of preparation by being abusive.

What companies should do?

  1. Recognize what abusive supervisors can cost your company and commit to prepare your supervisors and managers to lead.  By that I mean leading by example, through communications and by using influence instead of giving orders.
  2. Align your HR approaches with the culture you want for your company.  Promote supervisors who show promise.  Reward the ones who grow into their roles and weed out the ones who can’t.
  3. Train.  Give them the tools they need to succeed.

How Lifeline Strategies Can Help

Customers told us they needed a way to help supervisors make the step from being a member of the crew to leading the crew.  So we created our class, “Buddy-to-Boss.”  Since then we have added modules to help more experienced managers and employees who manage processes or equipment, but need to rely on co-workers to be successful.

Let’s talk about your needs.  Contact us at info@lifelinestrategies.com.

Who Does OSHA Fine? Maybe, You If You Are A Smaller Business.

OSHA is the primary safety enforcement agency in America.  Like a lot of people, we were curious about who winds up in OSHA’s sights when it comes to citations and fines.   So we did a down-and-dirty analysis of citations issued in the Houston area.  The quick answer is, if you are a smaller business, especially in the construction sector, you are the top  target.  Here is what we found.

Continue reading “Who Does OSHA Fine? Maybe, You If You Are A Smaller Business.”

Small-to-Medium Businesses And Safety: Six Areas Where They Have An Advantage

Smaller businesses face safety challenges. No doubt about it.  They receive most of the fines from OSHA.  They often lack the resources to have full-time safety staff or to respond adequately to incidents.  Lost-time injuries hit them harder because of insurance rates.  Because employees tend to wear more hats in smaller companies, an injury may mean losing critical skillsets.

But smaller companies do have some advantages.  Let’s look at a few. Continue reading “Small-to-Medium Businesses And Safety: Six Areas Where They Have An Advantage”

Oilfield Job Recovery Uneven/Are Employers Unprepared?

The surprising news in Houston in the past week was that Hess Corp. plans to cut about 300 jobs in its quest for profitability.  Despite that the overall prospects for oilfield jobs is good.  According to Bloomberg,  oil and gas employment in the U.S. had dropped by more than 160,000 after the 2014 bust, but has now climbed by 45,000.   Continue reading “Oilfield Job Recovery Uneven/Are Employers Unprepared?”