News From Frontline Utility Leader

Frontline Fundamentals is a column in Incident Prevention Magazine written by David McPeak, Director of Professional Development and based on the Incident Prevention Institute’s Frontline program – a highly interactive, enriching, and engaging training program designed around the concept that with the right tools, knowledge and insight, anybody—regardless of their position or experience—can be a safety leader. For each Frontline Fundamentals article, David writes on a key aspect from one of the four Frontline classroom training modules: Human Performance, Incident Prevention, Safety Leadership, and Standards and Operations. In addition to the column, David hosts webinars to further discuss the key topics written about and to facilitate interaction among emerging safety leaders in the utility industry.

Frontline Fundamentals

  • Frontline Fundamentals: Measure What You Want

    Imagine this scenario: A worker seriously cuts his nose on the job. The laceration causes part of his nose, at the base of the nostril, to partially separate from his face. The worker glues his nose back together with super glue to prevent going to the doctor and having an OSHA-recordable injury. He then receives two rewards through the company’s safety incentive program. The first is an immediate reward when his supervisor recommends him for safety excellence because he prevented a recordable injury. This is followed by a financial incentive at the end of the year, when his work group is

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  • Frontline Fundamentals: Organizational Culture: What Caves Can Teach Us

    If you were in a cave and someone yelled “Watch out for that stalagmite!” would you look up or down? If you said down, you are correct. Both stalagmites and stalactites are formed in caves by mineral deposits from trickling water. Stalactites result from water dripping from the ceiling. They hang down, typically are hollow, have smaller bases and form faster than their counterparts. Stalagmites are built from the ground up when water drips on the cave floor. They have a more solid structure with a larger base that takes more time to form.

    This imagery is useful when contemplating

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  • Frontline Fundamentals: Responsibility for Safety

    You are responsible for your own safety and the safety of others.

    Most people would say they agree with that statement, but do their actions reflect their agreement? Let’s consider that question in the context of the following incident investigation.

    The Incident
    Bob, who works in shipping and receiving, has just cut himself with his pocketknife while attempting to cut a zip-tie off a package. Randy, the shipping and receiving manager, is Bob’s immediate supervisor. Pam is Bob’s co-worker. Ron is the facility’s safety supervisor

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  • Frontline Fundamentals: Risk Tolerance

    A fundamental premise of working safely is that hazards must be identified and then controlled. Too many incidents occur because hazards are not identified, or worse, they are identified but ignored or tolerated.

    One of my favorite ways to introduce the concept of risk tolerance is to ask a Frontline class this simple question: “What are some things you might hear someone say before something really bad happens?” It always amazes me – and scares me – how open participants are when I ask this question. Typical responses I have heard include:
    • “We’ve done this a thousand times

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  • Frontline Fundamentals: Controlling Hazards

    “Get us a bucket truck, a rock and a hard hat. The rest of the class and I will meet you outside in 10 minutes.” Those were my instructions to a participant who, during a recent Frontline program session, challenged me as I was teaching the hierarchy of controls and explaining why PPE should be considered the last line of defense.

    The participant was adamant that he had always been trained that PPE is your primary protection and that if you are wearing it, you are protected and can work as you want. The rest of the group validated that was how they understood their training. This

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