Ehstoday 1764 Frustratedman

Celebrating Wins, Acknowledging Challenges – and Venting Frustration

Aug. 11, 2014
EHS professionals weren't shy about tooting their own horns in our annual survey, nor were they the least bit sheepish about telling it like it is – whether it's good, bad or ugly.

When asked to "share an example of a workplace EHS-related challenge that your company solved or improved in the last year," respondents were brutally honest. Their answers ranged from the rudimentary ("started a safety program") to the profound ("took a caring approach to employee safety"), with a treasure trove of best practices in between. Among them, EHS professionals told us that they: 

  • Launched fall protection programs. 
  • Made factory thoroughfares safer.
  • Installed machine guarding. 
  • Offered incentives for contractors to work safely.
  • Purchased or upgraded PPE. 
  • Improved forklift safety. 
  • Instituted a mandatory glove policy. 
  • Encouraged supervisors to take more ownership of safety. 
  • Provided GHS training. 
  • Achieved OHSAS 18001 certification.
  • Implemented or improved near-miss reporting. 
  • Tackled ergonomic issues. 

Those were just a few of the many wins that EHS managers earned over the past year. But not everyone was so fortunate. A number of survey respondents vented that their safety initiatives lack management support, supervisor cooperation and/or employee participation. Others pointed to a production-first business mentality hampering their efforts.  

A number of respondents indicated that they were unable to name even one EHS challenge that they addressed. One safety manager lamented, "I wish I could." 

Finally, we'd be remiss if we didn't acknowledge the responses that tickled our funny bone – whether the humor was intended or not. One safety manager simply stated: "We fixed the ladder." Another offered this tongue-in-cheek response: "They hired me!"

The Good

"We reduced eye injuries with training, awareness and a change in PPE."
"834 days without a lost-time accident."
"I created a workplace violence/harassment program and implemented it with great success."

The Bad

"With the worst winter in decades, it's been a rough year for our delivery employees. "
"Not enough time in the day to do everything. Not enough staff."
"We maintained our current status with no appreciable improvement."

The Ugly

"Safety is the least important aspect of the business."
"I'd like to see top management acknowledge that safety even exists." 
"Old boss cared more about production than safety. He finally retired." 

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