Safety is not something that can be solved by one person alone. It requires collaboration and buy-in from all levels of an organization.
As the saying goes, it takes a village.
Jason Damm is the Natural Resources Project Manager and Health and Safety Coordinator at Metric Environmental. He shares why it’s important for safety professionals to be humble and to factor in feedback from others when investigating and refining safety plans.
In this episode, we’re excited to discuss:
- Troubleshooting how to identify and eliminate health and safety blind spots
- Collaborating with employees on comprehensive safety plans
- Why stop-work authority sounds more complicated than it is
Let’s dive in!
“No one health and safety person has all the answers for any of this. People are doing what they can, but I feel like they’re skipping over major portions that could be investigated and refined.”— Jason Damm
Finding and Solving Problems
Jason has a highly unique background as an ecologist who worked with threatened and endangered bat populations of Ohio and Indiana.
As a trained scientist working in the field for an oil and gas company, he was issued safety protocols that were developed by distant office dwellers, and not by experienced people aware of real-world risks.
There’s no such thing as a one size fits all safety plan, and no one is an expert in everything. It’s crucial to get perspectives from all levels of your organization.
Learn the specific challenges that your workforce faces so you can troubleshoot holistically.
People are your most valuable resource, and industrial health strategies should be designed to see your employees’ home safe, not just protect the company from liability.
“I heard that the CDC actually has plans in place for a zombie apocalypse.”— Jason Damm
Collaborate and Listen
While you probably won’t have to face zombies on the job site, it certainly doesn’t hurt to be prepared and to follow common-sense guidelines that keep everyone safe.
Sometimes workers can be resentful of rule enforcers, and sometimes people can be overbearing in the name of making sure no one is flouting regulations.
These dynamics cause unnecessary tension. Adopting a mindset where you’re more collaborative than confrontational is a much better way to proceed.
It’s vital to really listen to questions and concerns from the staff. Jason has an open-door policy and strives to ensure every issue is addressed honestly.
“When somebody does bring an issue to you, regardless of who they are, or where they stand in the company, it’s very important to treat that issue with gravity.”— Jason Damm
A staple of any safety management plan, a stop-work authority program often seems confusing and complicated to higher-ups.
It’s really just a fancy term for the acknowledgment that workers have the right to stop working in a dangerous situation. It empowers employees to perform risk assessments and take appropriate safety measures before choosing to proceed.
Jason advises forming a safety committee with members drawn from across your organization. This is one of the best moves to eliminate potential hazards and make your company that much stronger.
A united front against threats is invaluable, as is the trust of your coworkers.
Jason has a true passion for the ins and outs of occupational health and safety procedures, and his genuine excitement encourages others to appreciate the importance of this field.
“It does not hurt your cause to have a true passion, a true excitement for the material.”— Jason Damm