The relationship between safety culture and lean manufacturing

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By Brie DeLisi

In many organizations safety and operational excellence are two separate functions, any overlap is deemed coincidental. However, these two functions are incredibly interrelated when it comes to the actual practice and the related values. At the most foundational level, lean processes and safety culture both rely on the same thing: the employees.

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Safety Prioritization and the effects on safety culture

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By Brie DeLisi

Most organizations believe that by having ‘safety’ as a company value and conducting annual safety training is sufficient to drive the message that safety matters. At Propulo, we’ve heard time and time again that “it goes without saying” and “employees know that safety matters” when we ask about a lack of safety conversations. However, the human brain doesn’t quite work like that – the brain prefers to prioritize what is considered important. Read More...

What makes a good change leader?

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By Martin Royal

It's been well established change initiatives have high rates of failures. It is well documented that the costs of poorly managed change initiatives measure in the millions. Therefore, understanding the reactions of employees to planned organizational change is a significant concern for many organizations. Many organizations are confronted with swift environmental, industrial and technological changes that challenge them to continuously adapt their processes. Effective organizational changes rely on the cooperation and engagement of employees. Poorly managed changes may lead to a variety of unwanted outcomes. These may include decreased workplace satisfaction rates, reduction in both individual and overall company productivity, decreased employee well-being, and increased absenteeism and turnover. Read More...

Safe Production Leadership Competency Series: Drive Thinking and Speaking

Leadership competencies


By Kelly Hamilton, Madison Hanscom, & Josh Williams

A key responsibility of leaders is creating an environment where people can do their best work. To do this well, leaders must be able to drive thinking and speaking—in other words, to foster a climate in which people feel they can speak up without fear of negative consequences, known as psychological safety. Leaders drive thinking and speaking by creating an environment of psychological safety, getting employee input for safety solutions, encouraging system thinking, and reinforcing teamwork and collaboration. Leaders who effectively create this environment increase employee engagement and decrease the likelihood of serious injuries and fatalities.
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Safe Production Leadership Competency Series: Recognize and Foster Growth

Leadership competencies


By Kelly Hamilton, Madison Hanscom, & Josh Williams

A critical skill all leaders must develop is the ability to provide high-quality feedback to their team members so they can perform their jobs well and grow and advance in their careers. When leaders do this well, it can fuel employee motivation and commitment, as well as positive safety outcomes. Read More...

Safe Production Leadership Competency Series: Build and Live the Vision

Leadership competencies


By Kelly Hamilton, Madison Hanscom, & Josh Williams

One of the most important jobs of any leader is to build and live the vision for employees. Building and living the vision means painting a picture for employees of desired performance and living and managing organizational values in everyday interactions. Providing employees with a sense of the organization’s vision and mission should inspire them to align their goals with those of the organization. Research indicates that when leaders encourage employees to strive for something beyond their individual goals, this has a positive impact on safety climate, safety compliance, and safety participation. Read More...

Safe Production Leadership Competency Series: Walk the Talk

Leadership competencies


By Kelly Hamilton, Madison Hanscom, & Josh Williams

It is not uncommon for leaders – who are pulled in many directions at once – to take shortcuts when it comes to safety. This can be detrimental, however, to safety culture and employees’ safety behaviors. In fact, research has shown that when employees perceive their leaders are not acting in ways that align with the company’s stated safety values, it leads to a decrease in safety compliance, a decrease in prioritization of avoiding accidents, and an increase in injuries.

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Safe Production Leadership Competency Series: Active Caring Promotes Positive Safety Culture

Leadership competencies



By Kelly Hamilton, Madison Hanscom, & Josh Williams

A common complaint of employees is that leadership doesn’t dedicate enough time to listen to and respond to their needs. Over time, this can lead workers to believe their leaders don’t care about them or their concerns, which can erode safety culture. Active Caring is a core leadership competency because it demonstrates organizational support and fosters a sense of support and trust among employees, leading to positive outcomes for employees, the team, and the entire organization.

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Blog Series: Five Core Safe Production Leadership Competencies that Drive Safe Production Culture

Leadership competencies

By Kelly Hamilton, Madison Hanscom, & Josh Williams

In today’s increasingly complex workplace, organizational leaders must be equipped to effectively deal with the relentless demands of daily decisions, challenges, and opportunities that impact all aspects of business, including safety. It is increasingly important to make intelligent decisions for safety in order to advance safety culture and prevent serious injuries and fatalities at work. Read More...

Speak Up for Safety: Using the Power of Conformity

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Josh Williams, Ph.D.

Employees can prevent serious injuries and fatalities by speaking up when they see coworkers operating at-risk. Unfortunately, social norms and pressure may prevent this. Many organizations have created culture that reflect the famous Hank Williams song refrain, “Mind your own business and you won’t be minding mine.” The power of conformity, not speaking up in this case, is powerful. An illustration from social psychology demonstrates this.
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The Power of the Mind: Using Cognitive Psychology to Prevent SIFs

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Josh Williams, Ph.D.

According to OSHA, more than 14 people die on the job every day and most of these occur in high risk work environments.1 Specifically, 21% of all workplace fatalities in the U.S. occurred with construction workers, there were more than 1500 deaths in the oil and gas industry over the last decade, and recent studies show utilities are becoming the highest risk industry for SIFs.2-4 Something needs to be done to prevent these serious injuries and fatalities from occurring.


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How does your emergency preparedness reflect on your safety culture?

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By Brie DeLisi

At Propulo, we understand that emergency preparedness is one of the most important indicators of organizational safety culture maturity. Emergency preparedness includes several aspects including:
- Identification of risks (fire, medical, natural disasters, loss of power, security, etc.)
- Written plans to address those risks with actionable items
- Conducting drills of those plans and testing systems
- Applying continuous improvement to update and validate the plans when gaps are exposed

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The “Shocking” Power of Leadership

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D.

In of the most famous psychological experiments in history, Stanley Milgram set up a situation in which participants believed they were providing electric shock to a perfect stranger (who was actually a paid actor) as part of a study on memory and learning. Participants were told to shock the person, who was in another room, when he or she gave incorrect answers to various word pair questions. In some cases, the actor made a point to say he had a heart condition. Read More...

Recessions and Safety


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By Eric Johnson

One of the biggest challenges to developing a robust safety culture we find is built around the value of safety. Unless you are Apple, corporate resources are often quite limited and have competing interests tugging at them, all while trying to demonstrate the best return on equity. Those projects/processes/activities that are best quantifiable are often the first to receive the benefit of resources. Read More...

The Front-line connection – leveraging the front-line in execution excellence

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By Eric Johnson

The front-line of many organizations is often the first segment of interaction of the company to its customers. In a past post, we have discussed the importance of customer care. In this post, we discuss empowering employees to make the decisions that align with the organization while increasing their own satisfaction with their roles and ability to achieve their career objectives. Read More...

The Value of Mentoring in Safety

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By Eric Johnson

When our organization engages clients, one of the first steps we perform in our assessments centers around establishing a baseline regarding the safety culture climate within the organization at all levels. These questions center around elements such as “What is the overall view of safety within the organization?”; “How do employees react to injuries – both to themselves and to others?”; “How does safety messaging impact employees”. The answers to these questions often depend on both the current safety climate but also historical data. Within the conversational aspect of our assessments, we often come across a common theme that can enhance and support a growing safety culture – the component of mentoring within safety. Read More...

Safety at the Front-Line

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By Eric Johnson

“Why can’t my employees just work safer?” is a question we hear again and again when interacting with senior-level and mid-level leadership. “Management simply doesn’t know what we are dealing with” rebuts front-line employees. And indeed, both are partially correct. It’s this middle ground where an established safety culture can take root.

Safety focus is not independent of other aspects of the organization, but can enhance or detract the work experience depending on the engagement of the front-line – an engagement that can be supported by management Read More...

Operations and Non-Serious Injuries

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By Eric Johnson

One of the biggest elements of a good safety program is the ability of employees to feel free to both own their safety to protect themselves from hazards and to then report safety incidents, close calls, as they happen within the workplace. Within groups that exhibit private compliance and higher maturities, the workforce feels comfortable and duty-oriented to enforce safety. But as we all know, safety is a journey, not a destination, and elements of a safety culture can quickly erode if not deliberately maintained. Read More...

Strategy and Planning – How to Do It Right the First Time

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By Eric Johnson

Strategy and Planning are the core activities in any organization that provide guidance and link the “whys” to the “hows” that define utilization of resources in producing high quality outputs. These are also core events in the business cycle that should be driven by data behind both external and internal forces to best approach the most advantageous deployment of resources toward customer satisfaction. Read More...