Utility Safety Leadership Development

Mike Caro, CUSP

Behavior-Based Safety: What’s the Verdict?

From its infancy in the late 1970s and early 1980s until now, behavior-based safety (BBS) has been a source of conflict in the safety profession, among company and union leadership, and even between practitioners. Nonetheless, after 30-plus years of use at companies that run the gamut of industries in dozens of countries around the world, it seems safe to assume that the theory and practice of BBS are here to stay. And since that is the case, this reality begs several questions. What is it about the BBS system that companies, safety professionals and practitioners find appealing? What are the criticisms of BBS and are they valid? How have the proponents of BBS answered them? How is BBS different or better than it was 30 or even 20 years ago? What is its future?

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Richard J. Horan Jr., CSP, CUSP

Elements of an Effective Safety Committee

There are a number of components necessary to create and maintain a strong, effective safety committee. Key among them are employee involvement and evolution – that constant search for ways to improve both how the committee functions as a group and the results committee members produce. Other ingredients for success include ownership at all levels of the organization, a clearly defined committee charter, sponsorship, effective committee facilitation, and companywide communication about committee activities and progress.

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Mike Engelman

Injury Prevention Through Leadership, Employee Engagement and Analytics

Injury Prevention Through Leadership, Employee Engagement and Analytics

Safety is a core value and central to everything we do at Duke Energy. It is an ingrained part of how we operate the company, and we put safety first in our workplaces and communities. Our goal is for everyone we work with to return home safely each day.

We continue to drive a culture of safety through an excellence model comprised of three key elements: safety leadership, employee and contractor engagement, and robust safety processes. Everything we do – from activities and programs to safety improvement initiatives – falls under one or more of the elements that comprise the safety excellence model.

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Phillip Ragain

Understanding and Influencing the ‘Bulletproof’ Employee

Understanding and Influencing the ‘Bulletproof’ Employee

Some employees are regrettably willing to take risks, as though they believe that they cannot be injured. This is the challenge of the “bulletproof” employee. To influence these kinds of employees, we first need to understand why they take the risks that they do, and our approach to understanding these employees, as it turns out, is where the challenge starts. By breaking a handful of old habits and adopting a more useful model for understanding others' decisions and actions, we can become better equipped to tackle this challenge head-on and positively influence these employees.

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Parrish Taylor

Learning Leadership: Personal Protective Emotional Armor: Part 2

In the first part of this article (“Personal Protective Emotional Armor: Part 1,” December 2013), we briefly touched on the evolution of the value of human capital in the utility workplace. In the 1970s, government – including OSHA – and industry leaders began to combine efforts to define written safety procedures for nearly every craft. In recent years, with a growing interest in leading indicators such as near misses – which are often caused due to workers thinking and feeling that they are safe – it has become more commonplace for employers and employees to discuss thoughts and feelings.

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Jim Vaughn, CUSP

Train the Trainer 101: Practical Elements for Developing a Safety Culture

If you have been a safety person for any time at all, you have heard someone say, “I can't believe they did that!” It is usually in the context of an incident investigation. As the interviews are completed and the evidence is analyzed, it comes to light that the crew did something completely out of character, or maybe even violated a well-known rule or procedure. Sometimes we find out that the crew involved had just completed training or attended a safety meeting regarding the very risk that caused the incident.

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Parrish Taylor

Learning Leadership: Personal Protective Emotional Armor: Part 1

Prior to the 1990s, thoughts and emotions typically were not topics of discussion. That was a time when children were to be seen and not heard, and employees were not to think, but rather just do as they were told. The very idea of talking about what was on your mind or how you felt often was the last item on anyone’s priority list.

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Kate Wade

2013 USOLN Safety Award Winners Announced

2013 USOLN Safety Award Winners Announced

During the iP Utility Safety Conference & Expo held earlier this year in Louisville, Ky., representatives from the Utility Safety & Ops Leadership Network presented the 2013 John McRae Safety Leadership Award to Jim Vaughn, CUSP, and the 2013 Carolyn Alkire Safety Advocate Award to Michael Getman, CUSP.

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Richard Hawk

Spice It Up!

Spice It Up!

Would you go to a fine restaurant that only served bland food? Of course you wouldn’t. One of the main reasons we enjoy going to restaurants is because the food is seasoned and tasty. The same applies to safety presentations. People enjoy them if they are pleasing to the senses. That’s why spicing them up so they aren’t bland will not only make your presentations more enjoyable, but will help stimulate your employees to get involved. I’ve seen it happen hundreds of times.

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Parrish Taylor

Leadership Skill Set 5: Social Persuasion

Leadership Skill Set 5: Social Persuasion

Social persuasion is the final skill set needed to understand the science of emotional intelligence. The concept behind emotional intelligence is that everyone can learn its five skill sets. Some people have a greater need for them than others, but the point is to start the process of better understanding others by studying the disciplines and applying them to each of your relationships. Studies in the last three to five years validate the notion that your understanding of emotions can improve your ability to bridge relational gaps and ultimately improve personal and professional performance.

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Parrish Taylor

Learning Leadership: Leadership Skill Set 4: Social Awareness

You’ve surely heard the saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” Truth be told, it’s not up to you to lead the horse to water or get him to drink. If you are wise in your ways of understanding others, all you must do is make the horse thirsty. A thirsty horse will find its way to water and drink all on its own.

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Jim Vaughn, CUSP

Passing the CUSP Exam

Passing the CUSP Exam

The Utility Safety & Ops Leadership Network's Certified Utility Safety Professional exam is like no other in the safety industry. There is strict criteria an individual must meet to sit for the exam, and the exam itself is challenging, but for good reason. From the beginning, members of the USOLN exam development team challenged ourselves to create a valid process to identify the skills a utility safety professional should have, and then to establish a process to validate those skills. The culmination of these processes is the CUSP credential – a reliable means for employers to identify safety professionals with the skills required to be capable safety leaders and reliable workplace safety resources.

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Parrish Taylor

Learning Leadership: Leadership Skill Set 3: Self-Motivation

A fundamental requirement of leaders is the ability to motivate. A leader must lead by example by first motivating himself. Once that’s been accomplished, a leader can then work to motivate others through the art of emotional intelligence.

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Parrish Taylor

Learning Leadership: Leadership Skill Set 2: Self-Regulation

Has someone disrespected you in a group setting? Have you clearly been treated unfairly? Do you sometimes sense that no one is listening or that you’re unappreciated? If you find yourself affirmatively answering any of these questions – or all of them – you must learn and understand self-regulation, the second skill set in learning to lead through emotional intelligence.

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Ronald J. Schenk, CUSP

Evaluating Crew Supervisors

Evaluating Crew Supervisors

Do your crew supervisors know what they should know about effectively managing a group of lineworkers to construct and maintain high-voltage power line systems? Often we find out the answer to this question too late. We made too many assumptions early on and the crew supervisor has now failed – possibly in a big way. If we had only realized what this supervisor didn’t know before he took on all these responsibilities, maybe we could have prevented these problems.

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Parrish Taylor

Learning Leadership: Leadership Skill Set 1: Self-Awareness

One of the greatest educational journeys you can take in life is to study yourself, other people and business, in that order. Too many people today have the journey backward. Knowing yourself is a fundamental objective when learning and understanding leadership. Throughout this article, we will build a case for why effective leadership of others starts with leading yourself.

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Parrish Taylor

Learning Leadership: The Leadership Paradigm Shift

Learning Leadership: The Leadership Paradigm Shift

When you are the one held most responsible, you must learn to manage efficient workflow, processes and outcomes. You do not manage people – you lead them, either effectively or ineffectively. In today’s competitive marketplace, you will be judged and evaluated on how you do both.

If your ambitions are to move up the ladder to take a leadership position, or if you have found yourself already there, you must understand how to manage processes and lead people and discipline yourself to do just that. It is the combination of managing and leading that creates long-term results and the ability to adapt to a changing market.

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Ted Granger, CSSBB, CUSP

How Six Sigma Can Improve Your Safety Performance

Six Sigma is the evolution of statistical quality improvement processes that have been used extensively to improve manufacturing and other process-related industries. How good is Six Sigma? It is a statistical measure of variability or standard deviation. The Six Sigma process calculates to 3.4 defects per million opportunities. Needless to say, that is near perfect execution of a process. Although not often used in the safety arena to full potential, Six Sigma tools can help produce significant and sustainable improvements in safety performance, injury reduction and associated pain.

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Danny Raines, CUSP

Voice of Experience: Safety Excellence Equals Operational Excellence

I have been asked to present the opening keynote address at the fall iP Safety Conference & Expo, which will take place September 25-27 in Vancouver, Wash., just a few minutes outside Portland, Ore. It will be an honor to stand before conference attendees to share a safety message that will set the tone for the three-day conference. I plan to discuss safety excellence – how employees who work and operate with excellence at all times promote an excellent safety environment, one free from serious injuries and fatalities.

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Andrew G. Green and Pam Tompkins, CSP, CUSP

Oh, No! Changes in the Workplace

Oh, No! Changes in the Workplace

Change is rapidly becoming a common denominator for many utility safety programs for a variety of reasons. New equipment and automation bring changes to traditional work practices. Generational differences are changing the demographics of the workforce. Safety programs no longer focus just on OSHA compliance and lagging indicators. Certifications, such as the Certified Utility Safety Professional credential, are focusing on leadership, human performance, standards, hazard identification, operations and incident prevention techniques to achieve safety excellence.

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