Tuesday, 1:45 pm - 4:30 pm
Dismissed: How Employer Skepticism Filters Information and Hides Hazards
Barry S. Spurlock, Esq., CSP
Many employers desire to be a proactive “learning organization” when it comes to occupational safety. Unfortunately, many organization’s safety leadership styles and management practices are not supportive of such. Known, unknown, intentional or not, skepticism by leadership when employees communicate concerns, aches and pains can greatly hamper an organization’s ability to uncover issues before they manifest as hazards, injuries and even fatalities. Granted, there exists the employees who have poor motives and report concerns that are baseless. Unfortunately, these outliers frequently cause safety leaders and supervisors to become jaded, and then unfairly dismiss often legitimate concerns of employees. Couple this tendency with the increased demands that electronic communications and the “gotta have it now world” place on the work environment, employee concerns are too often dismissed without careful and timely consideration. When leadership is keenly aware of the role information gatekeepers play and system designs that lead to filtering of information, they start to see deep system problems that could help them avoid not only the minor strains and sprains of work, but also serious injuries and fatalities. This session provides strategies for participants to be great – not just good - safety leaders and identify issues before they ever become problems (aka – hazards). It also helps reveal the often-unknown negative effects of undue skepticism on worker safety concerns and demonstrates how safety leaders can strategically prevent employees from being dismissed!
Participants will be able to:
1) Explain how worker safety concerns are unknowingly dismissed;
2) Identify barriers to learning about safety breakdowns from employees; and
3) Prescribe strategies for overcoming safety skepticism and concealment of safety breakdowns.
This presentation will repeat Wednesday.