Editor's Notebook

Curt Coffman shares 12 key questions for safety. We share news of a major award.

I'll say this for Curt Coffman: He knows how to pose a great question or more accurately, 12 of them. Coffman, the co-author of the bestselling management book, First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently, provided attendees at the ASSE Professional Development Conference in New Orleans with 12 "questions that matter" for assessing a workplace's culture. Among them: "Do I know what is expected of me at work?" "Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?" and "At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?"

By now, many of you are familiar with the work of Coffman and Marcus Buckingham. Their 1999 book related the findings culled from interviews by the Gallup Organization with 80,000 managers to determine what they were doing to achieve superior results. Each of the 12 questions they pose could easily be the subject of a safety meeting. For example, one of the questions is, "Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?" Imagine trying to foster a lasting safety culture if a majority of workers were unable to answer "yes" to that question. Why would an employee strive to follow safety rules if he felt that there was no sense of caring underlying them? Wouldn't they seem hollow and cynical at best?

At Occupational Hazards, our reporters are lucky enough to get a chance to do what they do best every day. That means provide you with ideas and knowledge to improve both the way you do your job and the safety processes you help facilitate.

We're pleased to report that our peers think we're doing a good job of it. On June 21, Occupational Hazards received the Gold Award for Government Coverage in the 27th Annual Awards Competition of the American Society of Business Publication Editors. The articles honored were "Ergonomics: What's Next for the State of Washington?" (February 2004), "How to Survive an OSHA Inspection" (March 2004) and "Protecting Vulnerable Workers" (April 2004).

Special praise goes to Managing Editor Sandy Smith, who wrote both the ergonomics and vulnerable workers articles; Steve Hollingsworth, director of Technical Services for 3E Co., who wrote the OSHA article; and Bill Simon and Lisa DiPaolo, who art directed these articles.

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