April 27, 2015 | Mark Paradies

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: How Many People Will Die Waiting for Management to Implement an Effective Improvement Program?

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You see the results of ineffective improvement programs in the headlines …

Ten Die in Refinery Explosion

Four Asphyxiated in Confined Space Accident

Fire Kills There Workers

Forklift Accident Kills Teenage Worker

Scaffold Collapse Kills Two Construction Workers

Trench Collapse Kills Father of Three

Welder Killed When Tank Explodes

Eleven Killed in Offshore Platform Explosion

Mine Accident Kills 13

Perhaps you think these were just bad days. That accidents just happen. The truth is that most fatalities are the result of bad programs. They were accidents waiting to happen. If management had effective reactive and proactive improvement programs, these accidents, and others ones like them, would not have had to happen.

 

  • Why didn’t management push for better safety improvement?
  • Why wasn’t improving their improvement program one of their highest (or their highest) priority? 
  • How many people have to die to get management’s attention and make them get excited about investing in effective improvement?

The fatalities continue while we wait for the answer.

If YOU are excited about improving your improvement program and PREVENTING FATALITIES, I have a few ideas for you …

  1. Take your senior manager on a hazard walk around. Go to one or two places in your plant and challenge the manager to spot all the hazards (sources of energy that could cause a fatality). Did they miss height, lack of breathable air, moving equipment, or other sources that you have seen? Next, take several sources of energy and ask what are the safeguards that keep a fatal accident from happening. Then ask for each safeguard, when was the last time that the manager heard of an audit of the effectiveness of that safeguard? When was the last time the manager checked the effectiveness of that safeguard? Do this once a week and the manager will start thinking hazards, safeguards, and audits of safeguards effectiveness.
  2. Take your manager to the 2015 TapRooT® Summit. They will network with the leaders in performance improvement that attend the Summit and they can benchmark their improvement efforts against others. They will probably find that they have some good practices to share. But they will also discover some gaps in their programs that need improvement and best practices to make that improvement occur.
  3. Have on-site training for your management team. Consider the 2-Day TapRooT® Incident Investigation and Root Cause Analysis Course. Or the Proactive Use of TapRooT® Course. One company even had all their Senior Project Managers (who manage construction programs over $500 million) attend the 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training. One of these senior managers pulled me aside to tell me that it was the most valuable management training he had ever had!

Don’t just sit around waiting for management to get excited about improvement after major accident. Prevent the accident. Get them excited about preventing fatalities! 

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