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SLC 2017: EHS Leaders Gather in Atlanta to Share Knowledge, Experience and Valuable Insights

EHS professionals from around the world are gathering in Atlanta this week for three days of workshops, facility tours, timely keynote addresses, educational sessions and networking events at EHS Today’s Safety Leadership Conference.

We take care of what we own. When every employee and every department owns a piece of safety, the culture changes for the better. The purpose of the 2017 Safety Leadership Conference is to guide EHS leaders in their efforts to understand and own their piece of safety, communicate to others about their role in the safety process and improve the safety culture at their facilities.

The theme of the 2017 Safety Leadership Conference is “Who Leads Safety?” and it’s being held in Atlanta, Nov. 28-30. The conference includes educational sessions in four tracks (Safety and Risk Management, Compliance, Safety Technology and Construction Safety), keynotes, workshops, tours and networking opportunities that will help these leaders recognize and build a world-class safety culture and become a leader for safety at their companies and in their industry.

For the first time, the SLC will feature four keynote addresses:

1. Who Owns Safety?
Wednesday, Nov. 29th, 8 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
Terry L. Mathis, CEO/Founder, ProAct Safety

Terry L. Mathis is a well-known and respected international consultant, speaker and author. Terry is the founder of ProAct Safety, a 24-year-old international safety and performance consulting firm. He is a veteran of over 1,600 safety, culture and performance improvement projects in 39 countries and 21 languages, and has personally assisted organizations such as Georgia-Pacific, Herman Miller, AstraZeneca, Wrigley, ALCOA, Merck, Rockwell Automation, AMCOL International, Ingersoll-Rand and many others to achieve excellence.

He is a regular keynote and breakout speaker at ASSE, NSC and numerous state, company and industry conferences. Terry has co-authored five books on safety and strategy: one with Dr. Dean Spitzer and four with Shawn Galloway. In addition to his books, Terry has authored more than 100 articles in publications including Professional Safety, EHS Today, ISHN, Electrical Engineering Journal, Chemical Engineering Journal and Business Week. He also has authored numerous weekly blogs, video scripts and training modules. EHS Today has listed Terry four consecutive times as one of “The 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS.”

Terry’s keynote focuses on “Who Owns Safety?” He notes that it is human nature to take better care of that which we own. Ownership is the main reason people will detail their own car but won’t even run a rental through a free car wash. Ownership is also the reason why some safety efforts are stellar and others are lackluster. Should we create ownership in our safety efforts?  Who should own what? And how do we accomplish this?

2. Leading by Example: How an America's Safest Company Helped Employees and its Community Recover from Hurricane Harvey
Wednesday, Nov.29th, 11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Jay Bice, HSE Manager, H+M Industrial EPC

H+M Industrial EPC’s headquarters is in one of the areas hit by Hurricane Harvey, but that didn’t stop this America’s Safest Company and its employees from reaching out and helping others in other areas of the state. The hurricane and its aftermath required co-workers, neighbors, friends and strangers to all come together to survive the storm and to progress beyond the storm. Many people, including several at H+M, will be dealing with the effects of the storm for months to come. Most will be working at H+M during the day, and working to repair and rebuild their homes after hours.

HSE Manager Jay Bice reached out to impacted employees, and with a crew of co-workers, helped them remove storm-damaged property and clean up their homes. In this uplifting keynote address, he will talk about H+M Industrial EPC’s emergency response plan for its facilities, how managers and employees came together to deal with the stress and distraction caused by the hurricane and how employees rallied around to help each other and their communities.

3. You Don't Have to Trade Off Safety for Production
Wednesday, Nov. 29th, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Dr. John Carrier, Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School

The greatest challenge to developing and sustaining a safety culture is the mindset that in order to achieve a safe working environment, a price in productivity must be paid – in other words, we are trading off a portion of today’s productivity to prevent an infrequent, but catastrophic event. Then, the job becomes optimizing multiple outputs - performance, safety and staff morale – using separate inputs.

While this may be true in a theoretical sense, it is patently false in practice. Most systems are running in a condition that is both unproductive and unsafe. However, there are many examples from industrial practice where productivity, safety, and morale simultaneously improved, most notably Alcoa under Paul O’Neill’s leadership and the NUMMI auto facility jointly run by Toyota and GM.

As powerful as these examples are, they are generally not sufficient to change operating behavior, because “our system is different.” In this talk, Carrier will discuss a generalized theory that explains how to simultaneously improve productivity, safety and morale through the detection and elimination of hidden factors, which are the hardened aggregates of quick fixes, workarounds and undisciplined work habits that over time form a second system within the workplace that produce poor quality work in an unsafe manner very slowly, while degrading worker skills.

The good news is that we can reverse these hidden factors if we know how to detect and then eliminate them. Carrier will show examples from his extensive field work, including offshore blowout preventer maintenance (driven by the Deepwater Horizon tragedy) and his long-running project with the EHS department at MIT. Productivity improvement of up to 30 percent can be achieved while reducing safety incidents by 50-90 percent.
Unless you are running a perfect system, there need not be a tradeoff between productivity and safety – unless our own thinking makes it that way.

4. Journey to Safety Excellence: Building Safety Leadership Culture
Thursday, Nov. 30th, 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m.
W.E. Scott PhD, MPH, President, CEO, Global EHSS Leadership Solutions, and Patrick (Pat) Cunningham, MS, Director, Safety & Auditing Services, Browz

This special keynote addresses how companies can develop and accomplish a culture in which safety is the shared value of every employee. Audience members will learn how to lead and implement a safety culture, involve employees in recognizing and identifying hazards, use measurement tools created for the National Safety Council’s Journey to Safety Excellence initiative to quantify the effectiveness of your safety culture and apply continuous improvement methods to evaluate and improve their safety efforts. Businesses thrive by incorporating safety into the foundation of every strategy, decision, operation and action.

Audience takeaways include how companies of all sizes can gain insight on how improve their safety programs and provide host employers with an avenue to direct suppliers who inquire how to improve.

Striving for a safe working environment for employees is important, but true cultural change occurs when we realize who should lead safety at our company. For a company to achieve true safety leadership, every employee and department must take ownership of safety.

The ability to create a world-class safety culture exists for every business, in every industry: manufacturing, oil and gas, transportation, chemical, construction, retail, food service, agriculture and recycling, to name a few. In these industries, humans interact closely with heavy machinery and hazardous substances, making safety of paramount importance to the wellbeing of employees and the health of the business.

That’s why the theme of the 2017 Safety Leadership Conference in Atlanta is “Who Leads Safety?” Is it the C-Suite? Employees? The safety department? Operations? Management? In reality, all of these groups are stakeholders in safety.

The expert panelists we’ve lined up for the four tracks of the 2017 Safety Leadership Conference – Safety and Risk Management, Construction Safety, Compliance and Safety Technology – will examine concepts like going beyond compliance to transform the safety culture, using leading indicators and the Industrial Internet of Things to improve worker safety, strategically integrating EHS into the business model, creating ownership in safety, maintaining continuous improvement and achieving true cultural change. 

 

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