Know Your Leading Safety Indicators

Do you want to execute a successful investing strategy in the stock market? … all you have to do is anticipate where the stock price is going and commit money.  Knowing leading indicators of a stock is a great tool for successful investing.

Managing Safety can be analogous to managing a stock portfolio.  Successful execution of a good Safety strategy is validated by OSHA Incident Rate, OSHA Free Days, First Aids, and such.  However, these are lagging indicators reporting history and are like looking into the rearview mirror.  To reach and sustain World-Class Safety, you must know leading indicators that can signal future events.  Then, you can drive catalysts to affect those events.

The most effective leading Safety indicators I have found are:

  • Housekeeping: One of the best indicators, housekeeping is assessed by merely looking.  Are areas organized and free of clutter?  Are there any “snakes on the floor?”
  • Communications: How quickly and effectively does safety information move and become understood?  Does everything start with safety?
  • Quality Safety Contacts: Measuring contact content and frequency reveals Safety awareness levels.  Safety contacts must be of high quality, personal, and add immediate value to a situation.
  • Audits and Inspections: Self-Audits by the team and content-experts can reveal gaps of discipline to practices, behavior, or physical compliance.
  • Behavior: Watch the eyes, hands, and motion of employees.  Are eyes on task and are hands moving without risk?  Is everyone watching out for each other?  What do Behavior surveys reveal?
  • Training: Well-trained operators are safer operators.  Tracking training hours tells you whether people potentially understand practices and rules.  Training must span new hires, temporaries, and seasoned employees.
  • Site Executive taking laps on the frontline: Observe.  Openly ask the people if there is anything they are uncomfortable about regarding the Safety of themselves or their team.  Are they committed to Zero Tolerance of risks?  Does a healthy Safety Tension permeate the environment?

Do you want to execute a Successful Safety Strategy?  … all you have to do is anticipate, and then commit energy and resources to execute.  These leading indicators signal the probability of sending your team home every day.
And Pass It On!

Quote from Charles Kirby, Manager at Mohawk Industries: “The more snakes in the pit, the more likely you’ll get bit!”

Leading-Lagging Indicators

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Making Sustainability of the Environment Personal

A key to building buy-in with Sustainability practices is to make it personal.  Making the jump from Sustainability strategy to personal behavior executing the plan is easier when linked to a common denominator that can be understood, like money.  Making it personal is a strong motivator.

A reality I’ve found in industry is that Sustainability pays for itself 99.9% of the time.  Leading your Sustainability initiatives invariably saves money.  Sustainability not only makes serious common sense… it also makes serious “cents.”

Here are some examples that people can relate to personally:

  • Lighting consumes 11% of energy use in most homes.  Turning off one 4-foot fluorescent light saves $45/yr., equivalent to a small tank of gas.
  • Turning off the water faucet when brushing your teeth or shaving can save two gallons per minute.
  • Scan and send documents on the internet rather than using snail-mail; pay bills online (many companies now offer a $2 savings/use).
  • Your next washing machine should be a front-loading model, which uses one-third less water, energy, and detergent than top-loading.
  • At 65 mph, a car burns 10% more fuel than at 55, and, at 75 it burns 25% more, per the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.
  • Recycling ten pounds of cardboard saves the equivalent of 2 gallons of gasoline. Producing recycled paper takes 40% less energy than producing paper from virgin wood pulp.
  • Tossing away an aluminum can wastes as much energy as pouring out half of that can’s volume of gasoline.

Now, compare these Sustainability equivalents for industry:

  • Recycling:  With today’s recycling capabilities, throwing anything away is throwing money away!  For example, paper can be sold at a few cents per pound to be recycled.  Nylon is over ten times as much.
  • Repairing one 1/4″ x 110 PSIG compressed air leak can save $8,000/yr.
  • Preventive Maintenance, or more appropriately, Reliability Centered Maintenance, is one of the more effective Sustainability strategies for physical assets.  Improving asset uptime just 1% can easily equate to millions of dollars in savings for large industries.
  • 40 plastic bottles can be recycled into one 30” X 50” Rug.
  • Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for four hours.
  • Every pound of recycled PET used in place of virgin material reduces energy use of plastic production by 84%.
  • In 2009, Americans produced enough trash to circle the earth 24 times.

Since Sustainability saves money, it is also a competitive advantage, which translates to job security.  … Now that makes Sustainability personal!
… And Pass It On!

Another Sustainabilty focus comes from Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld: “The #1 pollution problem in the world is disposing of plastic computer parts.  Every household in the US throws away 3 ½ electronic pieces every year.”

Motivation to Make It Personal

Motivation to Make It Personal


Posted in Sustainability | Leave a comment

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