The SafetyPro Podcast

By Blaine J. Hoffmann, MS OHSM

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The SafetyPro Podcast, powered by iReportSource, helping you manage safety one episode at a time. With the constant regulatory and workplace culture challenges businesses face, we’ll provide you with all the relevant information necessary to achieve a safer, more productive workplace. No management theory, platitudes, or guru speak - just actionable info you can use right now.

Episode Date
076: Leading Safety Excellence an Interview with VPPPA Board Members

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As I continue my podcast interviews in New Orleans from the 2019 VPPPA Safety+ Symposium I had the honor of interviewing some Association Board members. They shared some sound advice for anyone looking to improve their safety and health management system as well as some insights for safety pros struggling with challenges along the way.

Visit for more information about this amazing organization!

You can find me on LinkedIn! Post a LinkedIn update, letting me know what you think of the podcast. Be sure to @ mention Blaine J. Hoffmann or The SafetyPro Podcast LinkedIn page. You can also find the podcast on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Aug 30, 2019
075: Near Death Safety Lesson with Kelly Pitts

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Here at the 2019 VPPPA National Safety Symposium where everyone you meet has a story to tell. Kelly Pitts shares his message of a near-death experience and what you can learn and take back to your organization.

You can find me on LinkedIn! Post a LinkedIn update, letting me know what you think of the podcast. Be sure to @ mention Blaine J. Hoffmann or The SafetyPro Podcast LinkedIn page. You can also find the podcast on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Aug 29, 2019
074: PPE Safety for Women in the Workforce with Abby Ferri

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Abby Ferri on the SafetyPro Podcast

As I continue my podcasting interview marathon from the 2019 VPPPA National Safety Symposium, I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Abby Ferri to discuss the issues that women in the workforce continue to experience with PPE - which is in large part designed for men.

 Abby has over 15 years of experience in the field of safety and health in diverse industries, including construction, manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality, beverage, and retail. Abby has become well-known in this industry as a practical and creative safety professional.

Learn more about Abby by visiting

You can find me on LinkedIn! Post a LinkedIn update, letting me know what you think of the podcast. Be sure to @ mention Blaine J. Hoffmann or The SafetyPro Podcast LinkedIn page. You can also find the podcast on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Aug 29, 2019
073: Leading Safety From the Heart with Diana Paredes

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Safety Pro Diana Paredes

Diana Paredes is an experienced bilingual safety manager in the tough yet rewarding food & beverage industry. She is a SafetyPro podcast listener joining me at the 2019 VPPPA National Safety Symposium and shares some words of wisdom and strategies to help drive employee engagement, ownership and stresses the simple act of recognizing the many small victories our workers achieve every day.

It was an absolute pleasure to meet Diana and hear about her experiences in safety. I am such a fan!

You can find me on LinkedIn! Post a LinkedIn update letting me know what you think of the podcast. Be sure to @ mention Blaine J. Hoffmann or The SafetyPro Podcast LinkedIn page. You can also find the podcast on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Aug 29, 2019
072: From VPPPA 2019 - Suicide Prevention as a Workplace Safety Strategy

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Suicide Prevention as a Workplace Safety Program

Frank King, nationally-known suicide prevention and postvention speaker and trainer, was a writer for The Tonight Show for 20 years, is a corporate comedian, syndicated humor columnist, and podcast personality, who was featured on CNN’s Business Unusual.

Depression and suicide run his family. He’s thought about killing himself more times than he can count. He’s fought a lifetime battle with depression, and thoughts of ending his life, turning that long dark journey of the soul into sharing his lifesaving insights on mental and emotional health awareness, with corporations, associations, youth (middle school and high school), and college audiences.

As an inspirational and motivational speaker and trainer he uses the life lessons from the above, as well as lessons learned as a rather active consumer of healthcare, both mental and physical, to start the conversation giving people who battle mental and emotional illness permission to give voice to their feelings and experiences surrounding depression and suicide, and to create a common pool of knowledge in which those who suffer, and those who care about them, can swim.

Frank King

And doing it by coming out and standing in his truth, and doing it with humor. He believes that where there is humor there is hope, where there is laughter there is life, nobody dies laughing.

He is currently working on a book on men’s mental fitness, Guts, Grit, and the Grind, with two co-authors. Find him here:

You can find me on LinkedIn! Post a LinkedIn update letting me know what you think of the podcast. Be sure to @ mention Blaine J. Hoffmann or The SafetyPro Podcast LinkedIn page. You can also find the podcast on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter 

Aug 29, 2019
UPDATE: VPPPA Safety Symposium in New Orleans & New Safety Webinar Announcement
Don't Miss this Free, On-Demand Webinar Powered by iReportSource
5 Ways to Combat Complacency in Safety
Complacency is a state of mind where a worker is out of touch with the hazards and risks around them. It can show up in a number of ways: over-confidence, lack of care, mindlessness, actual physical signs, a rushed approach to the work, frustration, fatigue, your mind not being totally on-task, cutting corners…the list goes on and on.

Complacency is one of the most problematic mindsets that can contribute to injuries and incidents on the job.

So how can you move towards a culture where you reduce and minimize complacency? And in what way can you move from outdated, lagging indicators to leading indicators to help you proactively manage safety?

In this latest, free and on-demand webinar, I will uncover:

  • How you can spot complacency in your organization
  • 5 proven and proactive ways to combat complacency
  • Real-life examples of how you can reduce this mindset
  • Best practices in reinforcing behaviors that reduce complacency

Avoid complacency and better manage risk: register and watch the on-demand webinar today!
VPPPA Safety Symposium
Also, join me in New Orleans for the VPPPA National Safety Symposium -  I will podcast on-location and would like to meet as many listeners as possible! Stop by the media center next to registration! If not attending, catch up on all the latest topics being presented as I share key takeaways and thoughts for you!
You can find me on LinkedIn! Post a LinkedIn update letting me know what you think of the podcast. Be sure to @ mention Blaine J. Hoffmann or The SafetyPro Podcast LinkedIn page. You can also find the podcast on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
Aug 19, 2019
049: 8 Tips for Selecting Key Safety Performance Indicators

Mentioned in this episode:

How do you measure safety in your workplace to enhance performance and reduce employee downtime? There are several tested methods that Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) leaders use to reduce employee incidents and illnesses. Among the leading methods, which the Gensuite white paper discusses, are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)–or leading and lagging indicators.

Leading indicators are pre-incident measurements, as opposed to lagging indicators, which are measurements collected after an incident occurs. For example, a slip and fall incident from stray construction materials is a lagging indicator because the incident has already occurred, but an inspection that notes the poor quality of the surrounding area and prevents a future slip and fall from taking place is a leading indicator. A key component of leading indicators is that they measure safety events or behaviors that precede incidents and have a predictive quality.

By measuring leading indicators including conditions, events and sequences that precede and lead up to accidents, these KPIs have value in predicting the arrival of an event and can provide the opportunity to introduce control measures to stop the event from happening.

Recently, many articles have stressed the importance of looking beyond lagging indicators, but then how can your organization learn from past incidents and track results? By combining incident measurement and training management software, your company or organization can adopt a holistic approach to reducing workplace incidents and meeting Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.

Both leading and lagging indicators can be relevant to workplace safety and worth measuring. They present important aspects of an overall safety management system. We have to use all the tools available to us to create an environment that drives us to a zero-incident job site.

Selecting and Using the Right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Your Organization

Attempting to track complex data analytics and results, train employees and keep your team safe on your own can be dicult tasks to handle. Leading and lagging indicators can help reduce and prevent incidents. One way EHS leaders begin using KPIs is by selecting the appropriate sets for their organization.

Lagging Indicators

  • OSHA recordable injuries
  • OSHA citations
  • OSHA recordable-case rate
  • DART-case rate
  • Fatality rate
  • Worker compensation claims
  • Experience modification rate

Leading Indicators

  • Near misses (Note: this is still responding to something that already happened, just no consequences; might consider this lagging)
  • Behavioral observations
  • Training records
  • Department safety meetings
  • Employee-perception surveys
  • Trainee scores on post-training quizzes
  • Preventive-maintenance programs

When trying to pinpoint the indicator type essential for your organization–understand that both are essential. Leading indicators are like a car windshield, and lagging indicators are like the rearview mirror. You’ll certainly spend more time looking out the windshield to see what's coming–with leading indicators–than looking in your rearview mirror to see where you've been–with lagging indicators.

Look at your company and see how you can start moving forward–toward a culture of safety–rather than looking behind. Within the leading and lagging indicator types, there are eight important characteristics that KPIs should have. Ensure that you follow this guideline when selecting the ones important for your workplace.

1. Actionable–metrics that have measurable steps

2. Achievable–setting goals that are obtainable

3. Meaningful–obtaining information for continued tracking

4. Transparent–metrics that are clearly understandable

5. Easy–to communicate effectively

6. Valid–relevant to the organization’s objectives

7. Useful–metrics that are beneficial to the organization’s safety goals

8. Timely–distributing information that is still relevant to the organization

Once you select your set of indicators and follow the necessary characteristics, it's important to track how well they are working and be flexible if the set needs to be revised for consistent improvement.

Why Leading and Lagging Indicators Are Important: Rising OSHA Regulations & Safety Trends

Each year brings about new regulations and carries over existing regulations that companies must abide by. Thus, it’s important to stay on top of ever-evolving regulatory trends so you don’t risk non-compliance. Use the leading and lagging indicator system to help with the following key OSHA regulations and safety trends.

Overview of the Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica Rule

OSHA’s final rule aims to reduce the risk of lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in America’s workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica. The rule is comprised of two standards, one for Construction and one for General Industry and Maritime. Responsible employers have been protecting employees from the harmful substance for years, but now it’s becoming mandatory. Here are some of the rule requirements:

  • Reduces the permissible exposure limit for silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air
  • Requires employers to: use engineering controls to limit worker exposure; provide respirators when engineering controls cannot adequately limit exposure; develop a written exposure control plan, and train workers on silica risks and how to limit exposures
  • Provides medical exams to monitor highly exposed workers and gives them information about their lung health

Overview of OSHA Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Rule

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports more than three million workers suffer from a workplace injury or illness every year. Currently, little or no information about worker injuries and illnesses is made public or available to OSHA. With this new rule, employers are required to submit a record of the injuries and illnesses to OSHA to help them with identifying hazards and fixing problems.

Here are the rule requirements:

  1. Establishments with 250 or more employees must *electronically submit injury and illness information from OSHA forms 300, 300A and 301 (300 & 301 starting in 2018)
  2. Establishments with 20-249 employees in high-risk industries must submit information from OSHA form 300A

Trend #1: Dealing with Workplace Stress

The National Institute of Occupational Safety And Health emphasizes that work-related stress disorders are expected to rise as the economy continues to undergo various shifts and impacts.

Therefore, companies should take steps to ensure that any current programs are robust enough to reduce the concerns associated with stress in the workplace, as well as implement any new programs that show an increased effectiveness at reducing the generation of stress.

Trend #2: Leveraging Risk Management

2017 saw a continued trend in developing internal risk management programs and systems, and 2018 into 2019 looks to be the year where many of these programs are leveraged for results across the company spectrum. In other words, sucient time has occurred for the internal development of risk management data and effectiveness that this can now be translated directly into specific areas of the business to further reduce inherent risk development within the company.

Trend #3: Increased Reliance on Predictive Analytics

A new trend becoming prominent in 2018 is an increased reliance on predictive analytics. Many companies have been developing risk management and mitigation data and using analytics to help derive sense from this mountain of information. 2019 looks to be the year where many of these are put into practice company-wide. In addition, the trend of emphasizing the use of these predictive analytics is expected to rise as much of this information is refined even further.

This should begin to show positive returns for companies that have been implementing this predictive technology as part of a risk management profile. However, there is still time to take advantage of these systems for those companies that have not implemented these types of analytics.

Trend #4: More Regulatory Changes

There are few that doubt that more regulatory and legislative changes are expected in 2018.

While many differences continue to grow between national policy and those enacted on the state and local level, few can predict what the specific changes will actually be. However, what is an almost certainty is that for companies, flexibility will be necessary in order to adapt to the new policies to come.

Models and Methods for Using Leading and Lagging Indicators: A Contextual and Visual Guide

Various proven, yet antiquated and manual, methods have been used for measuring KPIs, such as those discussed in the report, A Method for Modeling of KPIs Enabling Validation of Their Properties. The authors cover two techniques workplaces use to track KPIs.

The first model integrates the following attributes for tracking performance: indicator name, type, scale, source, owner and threshold. Though, it is not easy to find all of this information so EHS experts often rely on documentation, expert knowledge and previous conceptual models.

The second model used for KPI formalization is known as performance indicator expression. It is “a mathematical statement over a performance indicator evaluated to a numerical, qualitative”.

In other words, a given value for a time point, for the organization, unit or agent. The authors suggest specifying the required values of performance indicators as constraints coming from goals. The relations between performance indicators are modeled using predicates.

The third model used by EHS professionals and safety teams is known as the Heinrich Pyramid–a traditional way of tracking occupational illnesses and injuries.

The Heinrich Pyramid (also known as the Safety Triangle) quantifies the number of reported workplace incidents into four main categories: major injuries, severe accidents, first aid cases and near misses. Employee concern reports, safety observations and at-risk observations can also be added to the base of the triangle to incorporate leading indicators into the analysis.

This is a 1-10-30-600 model. For every 1 incident reported in the major injury category, severe accidents are 10 times as likely to happen. Also, for every 1 major injury, approximately 30 first aid cases, and 600 near misses.

When companies plug their own incidents into this model or pyramid, they can see if they have the corresponding model ratio, as described above, and if they have a significant amount of major and severe incidents. The premise for this model is that the more companies focus on reducing the numbers at the bottom of the pyramid, the more likely they are to reduce major safety incidents at the top.

The pyramid is inclusive of many types of injuries and incidents, but it doesn’t assist EHS professionals with narrowing down the data to the critical cases/accidents, root causes and solutions. For example, a site could have a series of cases that stem from ergonomic-related issues and spend significant amounts of time on root cause and trend analysis instead of the cases/accident that have a high potential to result in an employee fatality or significant property damage.

Critics of the Heinrich Pyramid also claim that “adhering to it can lead to an over-emphasis on worker behavior and not enough attention on health and safety management software systems.” No matter the flaws, there is always a solution to the system.

These methods are used to benefit companies’ safety success rates and business performance objectives. The methods can be adapted to any enterprise modeling approach. Companies can apply these measures of thinking into a conventional and modernized process by integrating EHS management software into their workplace as discovered in the following section.

A Gensuite Solution: Implementing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Into Your Workplace

To simplify and digitize the three models and methods discussed above, companies turn to compliance and management software systems such as Gensuite. Such systems enhance workplace safety performance by simplifying the tracking of leading and lagging indicators.

Utilize Gensuite EHS software tailored to measure KPIs and manage training compliance. Just a few of Gensuite’s specialized features of these tools include:

  • Framework for managing regulatory and program-specific training requirements.
  • Validate training effectiveness through course-specific e-quizzes
  • Incident investigation, root cause analysis, corrective and preventive action tracking
  • Integrate with occupational health, medical and computer systems for case tracking and program visibility

What makes this important right now? Why should your business invest? Other than avoiding everyday safety violations and reoccurring workplace injuries, investing will help you meet current and upcoming OSHA regulations. Here’s a look at customizable Gensuite applications.

Incidents & Measurements

The Gensuite Incidents & Measurements application can help you address the new regulation by enabling one-click generation of a site/business OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 forms. In addition, Gensuite joins ongoing discussions with subscribers and industry groups to meet with OSHA to talk through options for direct system integrations, thus removing the need for sites to manually generate logs and input them into OSHA’s website.

Other benefits of the Gensuite Incidents & Measurements application:

  • Tracking of hours worked and sites recordable rates
  • Monitoring site performance on a monthly/quarterly basis through auto-generated site metric reports
  • Instant system-generated email notifications upon entry/modification of incidents so site-leadership stays up-to-date

Training Compliance

The Gensuite Training Compliance suite can help you address both new OSHA regulations by keeping your employees up-to-date with OSHA’s mandatory training requirements. In addition, training employees prevent new and future injuries from occurring, so you don’t have to evaluate progress based on how many employees have been severely injured and how that number has improved. Prevent them from happening in the first place.

Other benefits of the Gensuite Training Compliance application:

  • Establish a framework for managing regulatory and program-specific training requirements,
  • Alert training leaders of new and transferred employees for training needs assessment
  • Integrate automatic updates from HR systems, offer multiple training instruction types to
  • Engage employees in classroom and e-learning training; integrated training calendar solution
  • for session scheduling, provide employees with access to a diverse library of pre-loaded
  • Training content licensed from leading providers such as RedVector®, SkillSoft®, PureSafety®
  • Validate training effectiveness through course-specific e-quizzes; log completions through
  • Online, bar-coding, Mobile & batch upload
  • Identify qualified employees by task based on training completion status

Look to Key Performance Indicators so your business can avoid safety violations and injuries.

Let me know what you think; send emails to

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Sep 30, 2018
036: Confined Space Entry Safety Part 3: Rescue Teams

Mentioned in this episode:

In the last couple of episodes I dance around the rescue team parts of the standard. I want to get into that section here. Let’s start with an outside rescue option, since a lot of folks go this route. If you recall, whenever you use outside resources you must evaluate a prospective rescuer's ability to respond to a rescue summons in a timely manner, considering the hazard(s) identified.

So you have to have done a hazard assessment first, so that you can have a meaningful conversation with the outside agency. Also, don’t forget, bring them in to do a walk-thru, look at the spaces involved, the internal configurations, chemicals used onsite, etc.

You also have to develop and implement procedures for summoning rescue and emergency services to your location. Ask about whether the local authorities use a regional dispatcher, this may delay response time a little, does your site use a different number to dial out to emergency services, instead of 911? All of this goes into your program and training.

Once you determine the rescue team that will be used, you have to develop a procedure for rescuing entrants from permit spaces and be able to provide necessary emergency services to those workers. The primary requirement in the first aid standards is that an employer must ensure prompt first aid treatment for injured employees, either by providing for the availability of a trained first aid provider at the worksite, or by ensuring that emergency treatment services are within reasonable proximity of the worksite.

You have to take appropriate steps prior to any accident (like making arrangements with the service provider) to determine if emergency medical assistance will be promptly available when an injury occurs. While the standards do not prescribe a number of minutes, OSHA has long interpreted the term "near proximity" to mean that emergency care must be available within no more than 3-4 minutes from the workplace, an interpretation that has been upheld by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and by federal courts.

One option these standards provide employers is to ensure that a member of the workforce has been trained in first aid. This option is, for most employers, a feasible and low-cost way to protect employees, as well putting the employer clearly in compliance with the standards. OSHA recommends, but does not require, that every workplace include one or more employees who are trained and certified in first aid, including CPR.

The first aid training standards at 29 CFR 1910.151 and 1926.50(c) generally apply throughout the industries that they cover. Other standards which apply to certain specific hazards or industries make employee first aid training mandatory, and reliance on outside emergency responders is not an allowable alternative. For example, see 29 CFR 1910. 266(i)(7) (mandatory first aid training for logging employees), and 29 CFR 1910.269(b) (requiring persons trained in first aid at work locations in the electric power industry).



So seriously look at getting a team of volunteers to be trained, on all shifts. More support for this is that medical literature establishes that, for serious injuries such as those involving stopped breathing, cardiac arrest, or uncontrolled bleeding, first aid treatment must be provided within the first few minutes to avoid permanent medical impairment or death.

Also, in workplaces where serious accidents such as those involving falls, suffocation, electrocution, or amputation are possible, emergency medical services must be available within 3-4 minutes, if there is NO EMPLOYEE on the site who is trained to render first aid. So this can buy a victim more time if folks are trained and equipped onsite already.

OSHA exercises discretion in enforcing the first aid requirements in particular cases. OSHA recognizes that a somewhat longer response time of up to 15 minutes may be reasonable in workplaces, such as offices, where the possibility of such serious work-related injuries is more remote.

Now, I will restate what the standard says: In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid. Adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available. This is a way to meet that standard!

And, for an in-house rescue team, at least one member of the rescue team or service holding a current certification in first aid and CPR is available. Trust me, ALL of them should have it. What if the only member trained in 1st aid goes down? So spread the love folks!

So what does this tell us? Well, it tells us we need to careful examine and consider the actual hazards likely to be present as well as the injuries and illnesses likely to occur. This has to be included in the training in order for us to claim our in-house first aid team is “adequate”.

Let, me illustrate this for you; A lot of the first aid training programs I have reviewed are really good at preparing you (as best as possible) for an emergency. They cover what to do, how to react, things like that. A lot of effort goes into keeping the responder safe; blood borne pathogens, PPE, checking the scene; which is great. Then there are sections that get into how to perform a patient survey, for both an unconscious and conscience patient. And then there are sections of training covering how to stop bleeding and immobilize a limb maybe.

Here is where you need to be sure to include covering injuries likely to occur at your facility. Work with the instructor ahead of time to include how to treat a chemical burn, and be specific - like hydrochloric acid, or chlorine gas for example. This site-specific or even chemical or hazard-specific training is what will deem your personnel “QUALIFIED” to render first aid at your facility. The basic community first aid training, just won’t be enough.

Okay, let’s move on to an in-house rescue team. First, they have to be equipped for and proficient in performing the needed rescue services. Do you have underground tanks? Do they have rectangular, square or round entry points, or a combination? This tells me what types of hoists I will need to have available for rescue. What about horizontal spaces? Are some of them above grade, requiring staging from an elevated platform? This tells me aerial lifts, personnel hoists, stair chairs, stokes baskets, etc may be needed as well. What about SCBA, air line respirators, things like that for rescue teams?

So equipped means just that; equipment needed to facilitate a rescue from any and all possible spaces to be entered. Standardization really helps but some older facilities that have been upgraded and modified over the years do not have this luxury. But think about this moving forward; standardize openings (their shape and size) whenever possible, and their location (at grade vs. elevated openings, things like that.). This ALL has to be set up and gone over each time you have training for this team. Every piece, all the PPE that may be needed, all of the monitoring instruments, everything!

Ensure that rescue and other affected employees (like potential victims) practice making permit space rescues at least once every 12 months. This has to be by way of a simulated rescue in which you remove dummies, manikins, or actual persons from the actual permit spaces or from representative permit spaces. Representative permit spaces shall, with respect to opening size, configuration, and accessibility, simulate the types of permit spaces from which rescue is to be performed. I have seen a few facilities that have old tanks that have been cleaned and the sides cut open but they keep them onsite as a training aid for this purpose. Of course, you may not have the room for this, but that was a representative space from them.

Of course non-entry rescue is where it’s at whenever possible. If your rescue personnel never have to enter this is best. To facilitate non-entry rescue, retrieval systems or methods have to be used whenever an authorized entrant enters a permit space, unless the retrieval equipment would increase the overall risk of entry or would not contribute to the rescue of the entrant.

So practicing at LEAST every 12-months is the OSHA standard. I recommend quarterly just so that you can reinforce these procedures and familiarize rescue teams with this equipment better. Also, hold a monthly first responder meeting instead of just the annual refresher for first aid and every two years for CPR recertification. This is a “use it or lose it” skill, its perishable, so keeping it fresh is going to help save lives. Give your responders a chance to talk about scenarios, practice first aid techniques in the meetings, dry runs, even debrief past responses since the last meeting to see what went right, what could be better, things like that. It will really add value and enhance the bare minimum OSHA sets for this stuff.

Look at your training program; what is it missing? What don’t you cover that we just ran through? How can you enhance your existing training? Make it stick? This is the challenge I have for you: do a full review of your written confined space entry program, the written permit, the rescue plan, your chosen method of rescue (non-entry, in-house or outside rescue team) and try to poke holes in the plans. That way you can improve it.

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Mar 06, 2018
035: Confined Spaces Pt 2 - Safety with Entry Permits

Mentioned in this episode:


This is part 2 in a series about confined space entry, the requirements including training and entry procedures and we will wrap the series up with some tips, interpretations and examples written programs. If you remember from the last episode I covered the basic definition of a confined space:

* Is large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work

* Has limited or restricted means for entry or exit (for example, tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, and pits are spaces that may have limited means of entry.

AND (yes, it has to have all of these)

* It is not designed for continuous employee occupancy. And we talked about what that means as well.

And a ”Permit-required confined space (permit space)" means a confined space that has one OR more of the following characteristics:

1. Contains or has a potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
2. Contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant
3. Has an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor which slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section OR
4. Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard

Okay, we touched on just some of the training requirements as well. Not too much detail there, but I will go into rescue teams including in-house rescue and the training requirements in the next episode, so be listening for Part 3. For now let’s move into the actual permit and entry procedures.

Let’s begin with the space itself. Any time you remove covers to openings, especially at ground level, it has to be guarded immediately by a railing, temporary cover, or other temporary barrier that will prevent an accidental fall through the opening.

You always want to address safety outside the space, before beginning work - addressing the space itself. This means identifying any potential hazards that may impact ground workers outside, but also those that may create hazards inside the space. For example, any generators or other combustion engines (like from service trucks) that may be running nearby and could create a carbon monoxide hazard entering the space.

And of course, before any employee can enter the space, the internal atmosphere has to be tested. You do this with a calibrated direct-reading instrument, for oxygen content, for flammable gases and vapors, and for potential toxic air contaminants, in that order. Most multi-gas meters will test for all of these simultaneously. So no need to worry about the order in that case.

Keep in mind, any employee who enters the space has to be provided an opportunity to observe the pre-entry testing directly. This avoids the whole “hey I checked, it’s fine in there” type of scenario.

A note on this one; anyone that witnesses the monitoring needs to be trained on monitoring as well. This means how to operate and read the results. This way they know what they are looking at. Plus, if continuous monitoring goes on, they know what the alarm sounds like and of course if they take one in with them, they know how to operate it as well.

If you plan to use forced air ventilation, be sure to set it up the right way. Notice I said “forced air”. You cannot use negative pressure. That is, a fan pulling air OUT of the space. Some folks may think pulling “bad air” out is a better idea. It is not. Forcing fresh air in is required.

And testing has to be done with the forced air ventilation in place and operating. So what do you do with the test results?

Well, it is all part of the permit system. According to OSHA, the employer must verify the space is safe for entry by way of a written certification that contains the date, the location of the space, and the signature of the person providing the certification.

The certification must be made before entry and be made available to each employee entering the space. This is accomplished by using an entry permit. Let’s get into what the permit looks like.

Let’s talk about the permit itself for a bit. The actual permit has to contain the following information:

1. The permit space to be entered: This can be a site name such as vault 2B, or autoclave oven # 4, something like that.

2. The purpose of the entry: This can say PM check of tank welds, changing O-rings, stuff like that.

3. The date and the authorized duration of the entry permit: If there are issues with extreme heat or cold, you may have placed a 15 minute time-limit on the entry. Or if using breathing air, like SCBA, you could place a time limit for the entrants. These are examples of authorized durations, as I get asked about this one frequently. Essentially, the duration of the permit cannot exceed the time required to complete the assigned task or job identified on the permit.

4. The authorized entrants: This can be done by listing their names or by using a roster or accountability log - For example, entrants check in and out moving names on and off the log. The goal is that attendants can know who is inside at any given time.

5. The name of the attendant(s): This is needed especially if you will be rotating attendants, you can see who is authorized to do so.

6. The name of the entry supervisor: Remember, this is just the person supervising the entry process, not necessary a work supervisor. The permit also has to have a space for the entry supervisor’s signature. This authorizes the entry.

7. The permit has to also list the hazards of the space: These should be spelled out. I am not a fan of the check list, that is, a list of typical hazards and a box next to it for you to check. I just adds to the length and visual clutter of the permit itself. I prefer to list the hazards that are present or likely to be present so those involved fully understand what they are protecting themselves from and what to look out fo. This helps when communicating with entrants, looking for signs and symptoms of exposure. This requires that all involved be trained on such symptoms of different hazards as well.

8. This gets us to listing the measures taken to eliminate or control those hazards. Like blanking, purging, LOTO, etc. It also give all involved something to check during the entire process. If you indicated a forced air blower, that is plugged into a generator the you know that you have to check the fuel level periodically, or you may have indicated CO as a potential hazard. Again, all this stuff is useful when you think about how you can use it to protect yourself and your co-workers.

9. You have to list acceptable entry procedures as well. This is key, because you then have to continuously check conditions against this list. If there are any differences that is a red flag. You may determine a condition improved, not worsened. But you still have to flag it and determine whether or not to evacuate the space and cancel the entry permit.

10. This also means you need a section for the initial and periodic test results. This helps us document ongoing monitoring activities.

11. A section for the rescue and emergency services that can be called and you have to detail HOW they will be called; such as the equipment to use and the numbers to call.

12. The communication procedures that are to be used by authorized entrants and attendants to maintain contact during the entry. Constant audible or vial contact must be maintained during the entire entry process. If at any time a specified communication device goes down, you have to pull entrants out until you establish another acceptable, and agreed upon way of communicating, note this change on the permit, retest, and proceed again.

13. You also have to list all the equipment to be used, such as PPE, testing equipment, (again, communications equipment), alarm systems, and rescue equipment as well. This also tells us what types of pre-entry inspections are needed, based on what will be used.

14. Any additional info that would be pertinent especially additional permits like hot work, that you will rely on for the entry.

I have a permit template available here as well as a written program template in case you want to compare it to the one you have, or if your are looking to create one altogether. Some points to consider in your program:

The entry supervisor must terminate the entry (in writing on the permit) once operations have been completed and all personnel, materials, tools, etc have been accounted for and are out of the space.

They also have to terminate the entry when a condition that is not allowed under the entry permit arises in or near the permit space. Again, not just the entry supervisor, but the attendant and any entrant can terminate the entry for this reason. But only the entry supervisor of record should sign and terminate the entry permit itself.

OSHA requires that you keep each entry permit for at least 1 year to facilitate the review of the permit-required confined space program. So at least annually, go overall the entries that were made, look for issues discovered, reasons entries were terminated prematurely, hazards encountered that were not noted on the permit originally, etc. This is so you can improve the written permit required confined space entry program, improve training, and so on.

Not just for confined space entry, but all of your written safety programs; conduct an annual review to verify they are still adequate and do not need updating. This is a requirement! It is also a great way to use a safety committee; have the group go through a program and talk about how it applies, what needs to be added, what needs to be removed, and so on.

This is a perfect place to stop and tease the next episode; we will get into training specifics and rescue teams; both in-house and external services. Then wrap it all up with some best practices and a template you can use to get started writing your own program.

Thanks for listening to the podcast; keep your emails coming ( I love hearing from all of you so please, if you think I won’t get the email, or read it or reply, I WILL…and have! Each one. So please do NOT hesitate to reach out with suggestions, comments, even questions about safety management.

Be sure to check out our partners in safety, the official floor marking company of the SafetyPro Podcast; MightyLine Tape ( grab a free sample and try it out today and of course WhosOnLocation, our preferred solution for visitor, contractor and evacuation management. Get a 30-day free trial at

Thanks again for listening, and until the next SafetyPro Podcast episode, please be safe.

Feb 25, 2018
034: Confined Space Entry Safety Pt 1

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I want to get into confined spaces and permit-required confined spaces. I need to break this topic up into a couple of different episodes, beginning with a general introduction to terms, definitions, emergency response and some training requirements before getting into specifics around the actual entry permits and entry procedures like monitoring in the next episode.

Ok, so let’s first define the terms for our discussion:

According to 29 CFR 1910.146, a confined space is ANY space that:

* Is large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work
* Has limited or restricted means for entry or exit (for example, tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, and pits are spaces that may have limited means of entry.)
* Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.

Let’s talk about that last part for a moment; OSHA defines continuous human occupancy vaguely, but use the following as a benchmark:

Can the worker safely remain inside the space during operation? Of course we are talking about not being exposed to a recognized hazard while inside; moving/rotating parts, live electrical components, gases, fumes, or other hazardous atmosphere, things like that.

I have heard all sorts of crazy excuses why a space is NOT a confined space:

- It has a door
- There is a light, they meant for someone to be in there
- There are two ways out

You need to assess and evaluate ALL aspects of the space to determine whether or not it is considered a confined space according to OSHA.

So, confined spaces can include underground vaults, tanks, storage bins, manholes, pits, silos, underground utility vaults and pipelines, etc. It really depends on you being able to assess the space in question.

Now, OSHA states that the employer shall evaluate the workplace to determine if any spaces are PERMIT-required confined spaces.

Well, a ”Permit-required confined space (permit space)" means a confined space that we already defined, has one or more of the following characteristics:

1. Contains or has a potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere

2. Contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant

3. Has an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor which slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section OR

4. Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard

If the workplace contains any permit spaces, you have to inform exposed employees, by posting danger signs or by any other equally effective means, of the existence and location of and the danger posed by the PERMIT spaces.

I always recommend controlling access further by adding physical locks when possible. Especially if your policy is that no employees are permitted to enter these spaces. This adds another level of security to the postings.

Ok, for me, starting with managing the spaces themselves as well as the activities in and around these spaces is the key to ensuring worker safety. And it all starts with making sure you are PREPARED to respond to ANY emergency in the workplace.

Emergency services (whether you have confined spaces or not) is critical for any workplace. First and foremost, you need to determine whether or not emergency crews are able to reach your facility in what OSHA calls a “reasonable amount of time” for life-threatening situations.

So, according to OSHA, in workplaces where serious accidents such as those involving falls, suffocation, electrocution, or amputation are possible, emergency medical services must be available within 3-4 minutes, if there is no employee on the site who is trained to render first aid.

OSHA recognizes that a somewhat longer response time of up to 15 minutes may be reasonable in workplaces, such as offices, where the possibility of such serious work-related injuries is more remote.

Also, OSHA has interpreted the standard to require a separate (either in-house or outside) rescue and emergency service when permit space entry operations are performed in an immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH) atmosphere.

This means any condition that poses an immediate or delayed threat to life or that would cause irreversible adverse health effects or that would interfere with an individual's ability to escape unaided from a permit space. An example would be during inerting activities.

Even in permit space entry operations involving non-IDLH atmospheres, more than one rescuer may be required in permit space entry operations depending on the hazards present and the number of authorized entrants that may require rescue.

The minimum number of people required to perform work that is covered by OSHA standards for permit-required confined space entry standards and respiratory protection standards will be driven by facts such as the hazards or potential hazards, the number of entrants who may require rescue and the configuration and size of the space. So planning is critical!

When using outside services that are able to meet the responsible time, consider the following:

* Have local response crews been out to see your facility?
* Have they done a walkthrough of some high-hazard processes and activities (not just confined spaces)?
* Are they equipped to manage the types of emergencies your site may present? (Many rural departments may lack some of the resources needed)
* Have emergency services crews trained or conducted simulated rescues at your site?

These are just a few examples of best practices you can follow to ensure a higher level of safety.

Also, keeping track of who is entering these spaces at any given time is key. Whether they are contractors or your own employees; knowing when entries are taking place and tracking entrants is a major part of the OSHA requirements.

This gets us into the permit entry system. This is your written procedure for preparing and issuing permits for entry and for returning the permit space to service following the termination of entry.

This is important; for a PERMIT required confined space, NO entry is allowed unless a written entry permit is completed, you have identified the trained attendant, entrants and entry supervisor (we will go through all that in the next episode) and have documented each hazard of the space and how each hazard is mitigated.

Now, since deaths in confined spaces often occur because the atmosphere is oxygen deficient or toxic, confined spaces needs to be tested prior to entry and continually monitored. More than 60% of confined space fatalities occur among would-be rescuers; therefore, a well-designed and properly executed rescue plan is a must.

If spaces spaces are properly evaluated prior to entry and continuously monitored while the work is being performed and have appropriate rescue procedures in effect, fewer incidents would occur. OSHA considers entry to have been made into a space whenever ANY part of the entrant’s body breaks the plane of the space opening.

CAUTION: hazards may still be present right outside the opening, like when a space has undergone nitrogen purging; an oxygen deficiency could exist just feet outside the opening and someone could be bending down to look inside (without breaking the plane) and be overcome, and pass out, fall into the space, etc. And this HAS led to fatalities before.

So just because OSHA says you have to break the plane to have made entry, don’t forget about the general environmental controls standard that applies just outside the space.

Let’s stop there with entry procedures and save that specific topic for the next episode. I wanted to give you an overview of what is involved and what to expect moving forward.

Now that you have an idea of what these spaces are (according to OSHA) and some of the requirements; let’s focus on preparing for confined space operations in general. In a word; TRAINING.

Employees need to be trained BEFORE they are assigned any duties related to confined space work. Let me break these into some categories for you:

1. General safety
2. Entrants
3. Attendants
4. Supervisors

For general safety training, all employees, regardless of their role, need to understand the common hazards present or that may be present in any of the spaces that they might work. Especially hazards they may be introducing themselves. Are they cutting or welding? Are they using chemicals? Are they using electrical equipment?

Training also has to include signs and symptoms of exposure to certain hazards. All workers need to know how to identify whether or not an entrant is being affected by any of the hazards that may be present. They also need to understand how hazards are to be controlled, the monitoring equipment used in spaces, etc.

General training also has to include how to respond in an emergency. If you do rely on 911 (local emergency services, assuming you already verified they are able to perform such rescues as I already discussed) they need to go over the communication system to be used prior to work beginning.

According to the Standard; you have to develop and implement procedures for summoning rescue and emergency services, for rescuing entrants from permit spaces, for providing necessary emergency services to rescued employees, and for preventing unauthorized personnel from attempting a rescue.

Also, if there is any fall protection or retrieval equipment being used, they have to be properly trained on its set up and use. Especially if non-entry rescue is being utilized. This is crucial. You can see that knowing the confined spaces standard is not enough. You will need to know general safety requirements, PPE standards, Fall Protection, Respiratory Protection, Emergency Services and First Aid, and more!

Attendants need to know all of the general training requirements as well as the need to remain at the space at all times. They cannot perform ANY other duties that interfere with being an attendant. The entrant can’t yell out to the attendant that they need a wrench or something and the attendant runs to the tool box real quick and grabs it. They can’t be chatting up another site worker about the game last night, nothing like that!

This all has to part of the training. The same goes for the entry supervisor. Now the entry supervisor is responsible for ensuring ALL the sections of the permit have been addressed appropriately. The entry supervisor can also serve as the attendant if they are trained to do both, but I always recommend off you have the ability, use another layer of oversight by having someone else be the entry supervisor.

The permit itself we will go into detail on in the next episode. How to fill it out, terminating the space entry, how long you need to keep these on file, all that stuff. I will have permit templates available, checklists for you so you can get started. But this episode, I wanted to introduce the topic, talk about some of the definitions and training requirements to get us started.

So keep an ear out for the next episode as we go deeper into this topic. Let me know what your thoughts are on confine spaces. I would like to cover some FAQs as well and talk about some common letters of interpretation in the next episode that will help you improve your confined space entry program. Drop me an email -

Feb 19, 2018
032: Is Online Safety Training Effective?

Online safety training has come a LONG way from what it was even 5 years ago. Technology like mobile devices and apps has made digesting information easier and more interactive.

So in this episode I want to focus on what works best as far as online safety training goes, and what to avoid.

Years ago, a model for training emerged called Adaptive Learning. I won’t bore you with the higher education definition of the term. Not because I don’t think any of you would understand it; of course you would! But because when we use the term in the context of online safety training, the definition takes on a whole new meaning.

Adaptive learning for this discussion simply means the learner can drive the direction of the training based on their interactions. This goes well beyond the old “CORRECT/INCORRECT” feedback responses they typically get.

So let’s get into what to look for in online safety training and what to avoid.

So for online safety training, adaptive learning is simply the lesson presenting an activity whether it is a questions, matching, photo to select what is wrong, even a short clip of a work scenario and some question after, and then, based on the learners answer, they are presented with more information.

A simple example is if the lesson presents a question like, True or False: “safety glasses are only to be worn when you are performing a task with a power tool.” and the learners selects true, the lesson presents information explaining that “many times employees are around someone or will pass by someone using power tools that may present a hazard, given this information what should you do?”

The learner would then select an answer, again, either answer results in more information other than a simple CORRECT/INCORRECT. You see, the lesson seems to adapt to the learner’s responses. So how does this work?

The answer is quite simple. Using software one can easily create different “slides” with this information. Then using buttons for answer options, link each option to a slide with the relevant info. You could even do this with PowerPoint - create branching slides based on responses.

The question is, how deep do you want to go with it? Ideally you want to go as far it takes to make a point. If someone doesn’t get a simple concept by the third slide or so, it would be best to present a policy statement and ask several different ways if they understand; requiring a “yes, I understand” selection. If not, their training is paused until an actual person can coach them.

But back to the training concept, it is that simple. It is more engaging and informative to ask if PPE needs to be worn in a specific scenario (either described or shown in pictures or video). And if they choose the wrong answer, present a slide or video or picture with text with the rationale for the right answer, then ask it again in a different way to verify they understand the concept. Make sense?

So imagine an online training lesson that adapts this way? It is far better than the old “Pump and Dump” approach that is still used today. This adaptive learning model is great as it allows you (if you are the creator) to really dive deep on concepts and ideas for the learner. Even the correct answers can introduce another level of depth into a concept.

This graduated approach makes complex issues like CSE or Fall Protection easier as it allows you to introduce and validate foundational elements before getting into more complex ones. The learner tells the system when he/she is ready for the next level.

Another way to approach ANY online safety training is to use a blended approach. This can be live or broken up over time. Meaning, combining online training with instructor-led training. This can really enhance learning.

Imagine taking basic definition of terms on concepts of fall protection in an online adaptive learning course, then jumping into the classroom for hands-on demos and activities to reinforce what you were introduced to online? That is really powerful. I have seen this work well.

This brings up a distinction worth noting; the difference between training and education. I have a simple way (maybe too simple) of looking at the two terms:

Education is transferring knowledge of a particular subject.

Training is the practical application or use of that knowledge.

So to me, taking an online course about fall protection simply educates one on the requirements of the subject; definitions, procedures, policies, etc.

Training is the hands-on demonstration where learners have to inspect harnesses with hidden flaws, practice donning/doffing, using snap hooks, practice using a beam strap on a simulated beam, etc.

You need BOTH in many safety and health topics. So to me, you need to be involved in the training and education process for all employees. You cannot simply pass this off to an online option with no input whatsoever.

That said, online safety training is extremely effective and user friendly, accessible, and affordable. Many topics that simply require knowledge (education) about requirements can be taken online. A lot of us safety professionals need to keep up on regs, permit requirements, etc. and much of this is at the education level I just talked about. Maybe one could add an activity to fill out a permit or shipping manifest or something like that as a training aide.

But by and large, much of what we professionals need is definitely in the realm of education vs training. There are so many options out there for this. Personally, I have an affiliate relationship with Atlantic Training. Their courses are affordable, and give you what you need to get started; knowledge of the topic. I have a link in the show notes if you want to check them out. Again, they are not a sponsor or anything like that.

Other options are the National Safety Council. They have industry recognized training and education courses that I have recommended for years now to clients and even listeners that have contacted me about how to brush up on their safety management skills. 

So look around, ask peers what they did and how they liked it - that is still the best way to get feedback before you buy. Also, many offer free lesson previews as well. So be sure to look at those to see if the look, feel and style of the online training is best for you. I have taken some where the voice was digitized, monotone and just unbearable! I would not have chosen that course if I had a preview first.

So look for that. Also, look for anything that provides downloads or supporting materials like manuals, handouts, even job aides to use with others at work, like tool-box talks, safety huddles, etc.

The internet is seemingly endless with options these days. So I hope I have given you some options to look for. Let me know what you think - have you taken some really bad lessons? How about your recommendations?

Please share your thoughts by sending an email to

Mentioned in this episode:

Mighty Line Floor Tape

Atlantic Training

National Safety Council

Feb 05, 2018
031: A Process to Change Workplace Safety Culture

Changing Safety Culture Requires a Framework! The link to the book mentioned in this episode can be found HERE

So in this episode I want to talk about changing workplace culture. I have had a couple of episodes on Safety Culture already. And all of that still applies. Again, for the discussion let’s define the term:

Culture is the character and personality of your organization. It's what makes your organization unique and is the sum of its values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviors, and attitudes.

This is key: the values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviors, and attitudes. These are what drive behavior, specifically, what help workers make CHOICES that we then see in actions, or behaviors.

The reason I bring this up is that for the last year or so I have been talking to colleagues, reading and chatting in online groups and I keep reading about a common theme out there by so-called “thought leaders’ and ‘guru’s’ in organizational development and safety culture development. As many of you know I had been in consulting for a decade specializing in these areas; culture development. And yes, I have an opinion on this as you may have guessed.

So let me use a specific example of what I am talking about;  I have seen a number of LinkedIn posts and articles about NOT talking too much about regulations or starting a conversation with “OSHA says…”. or similar discussions. While we can all agree that not having to drag in the references to regulations is good; we often have to go to those minimum standards. The reason? It is a sign of a “bad” safety culture.

Workplace culture often drives HOW we communicate about safety. The mistake most folks make is they manage by aspirational cultural values or from a future state. Here is what I mean; I see a lot of professionals pick up a book about culture this and culture that or read The Toyota Way and then look at their work culture and think, “yeah, we need to be like this!”

Problem; You are NOT like that. You need a roadmap to get there, yes. But do NOT approach your work culture as if they already are, based on what you wish were true about your work culture. These aspirations are commendable, but sets you up for failure.

You manage from where you ARE, not where you wish to be. So I have some examples of what I mean. If you think you should not have to talk about minimum regulations because you feel your culture is so much beyond this yet you continually get challenged by leaders and coaches to “show me where I have to do this” or “where does it say I have to do that?” then you are not there yet!

You can try and avoid stating regulations or reciting the unfortunate phrase “according to OSHA…” but at some point, you will have to simply because your culture is still at that place. I have heard time and time again and have had key maintenance and leadership personnel flat out ask, “What is the policy or regulation on this or that?” And if they are seeking validation, give it to them. These are folks that just need to be consulted. Give them the info because this is what they are saying they need as a basis for their work. OR justification for how they work. You may eventually get past this point but if this is where you are now…manage from there.

Another sign of where you are is when key personnel ask what the minimum amount of effort needed is to get by? Or, when you attempt to go above and beyond but the workforce pushes back with “we never had to do this before…”

These are clear signs of YOU needing to understand where your work culture is right NOW, not wishing where you would like them to be. Again, those aspirations should motivate us to discover where we are (or current state) and determine the difference between that and the ideal (or future) state. This is the gap we need to work to close. That way we can devise a change plan that is realistic and addresses the areas that need developed and not focus on things we will never be able to improve.

So, if you are tired of having to say, “According to the Standard…” then ask WHY you are still having to say it. If you try to improve something beyond minimum compliance and get pushback, ask WHAT it is folks are resisting. It may just be the change, and not the specific safety rule. So you may want to shift focus to change management in general. Go ask the quality folks or the lean folks if they have issues implementing even small changes to tasks or the work environment. Chances are they do.

So don’t get wrapped around the axle that your SAFETY culture is broken, when it may just be a PEOPLE thing. Strive to work with the other teams to find common obstacles and barriers. Safety needs to STOP operating in a vacuum and collaborate with other areas of the business to strategically align efforts to improve workplace culture.

If you are reading a book about workplace safety culture, fine. I recommend several on my resources page. But again, don’t get so wrapped up in your silo and think that this is unique to YOUR department. Most likely it is not. And if you have something figured out, like an aspect of the culture that you can improve, then you need to reach out and share this with others. Look into some management of change approaches. Helping workers deal with change.

You have a change plan, laid out timelines for training on this initiative you want to implement, how long before everyone gets the new equipment, etc. You know, a project management process. But do you have a process for change? One example is the ADKAR Model (again, just ONE example). This is a framework for understanding change at an individual level. It has 5 elements, or building blocks, that bus be in place for real change:

ADKAR stand for:

Awareness: this represents a person’s awareness of the nature of the change, why it is being made and the risk of NOT changing.

Desire: This represents the willingness to support and engage in the change.

Knowledge: This represents the information, training and education needed to know HOW to change.

Ability: This represents the realization or the execution of the change. It addresses turning the knowledge into action.

Reinforcement: This represents those internal and external factors that sustain change.

The elements of the ADKAR model fall into the natural order of how one person experiences change. Desire cannot come before awareness because it is the awareness of the need for change that stimulates our desire or triggers our resistance to that change.

Knowledge cannot come before desire because we do not seek to know how to do something we do not want to do.

Ability cannot come before knowledge because we cannot implement what we do not know.

Reinforcement cannot come before ability because we can only recognize and appreciate what has been achieved.

The lifecycle for ADKAR begins after a change has been identified. From this starting point, the model provides a framework and sequence for managing the people side of change.

In the workplace, ADKAR provides a solid foundation for change management activities, including readiness assessments, sponsorship, communications, coaching, training, recognition and resistance management.

Look, there are other models. This is but one that I have used and have seen success with in the past. But I want to point you in the right direction to get started addressing what I stated earlier, that is identifying the change that is needed is one thing, having a process to facilitate the change, ensuring its success is another.

This is a tool that can help. Stop managing from where you wish you were. Identify where you are today and get started laying out a plan to achieve successful, lasting change.

Send emails to and be sure to visit for other great resources.

Jan 30, 2018
029: Safety Meetings that Succeed

Be sure to visit and send emails to

Regular meetings can be beneficial to your business (if done right). In this episode I want to talk about meetings. Yes, the dreaded business meeting. But don’t worry, I have some great tips for you to follow so you can make sure your business meetings don’t put folks to sleep, turn employees off to being engaged, or make you look like a knucklehead!

No matter why you are having the meeting, some simple rules apply; the meeting should be specific, you should only invite those absolutely needed, and you must understand what makes a meeting BAD! So you can avoid it.

In his book, Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business, Patrick Lencioni talks about four types of meetings:

  1. The Daily Check-in
  2. The Weekly Tactical
  3. The Monthly Strategic
  4. The Quarterly Off-Site

Here I want to talk about the first 3. Specifically the third one - the monthly strategic meeting. Ask yourself what information is important enough to pull employees together once a week, or once a month and sit down to review? This can be difficult. Fear not! I break it all down in this episode.

Get the book mentioned in this episode by clicking HERE

Jan 16, 2018
028: Bloodborne Pathogens Safety Program

Visit for more great workplace safety information.

Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease in humans. OSHA requires employers to protect employees who are occupationally exposed to blood or Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM).

While most would associate exposure to bloodborne pathogens with healthcare workers, there are many other occupations, including first-aid team members, housekeeping personnel in some industries, and various other workers who may be at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens

OSHA’s bloodborne pathogen standard applies to all occupational exposures in General Industry. Let's break dow some definitions of terms, training requirements as well as program requirements in this episode.

Send episode questions or topic suggestions to Also, be sure to visit our official floor marking and floor sign company Mighty Line - 


Jan 06, 2018
027: Engaging Workers In Safety

If you want to increase safety engagement between leadership (direct supervisors) and workers try asking what coaching leaders are already getting. Chances are HR is coaching front line supervisors on how to engage workers to increase morale, retention and productivity. Instead of reinventing the wheel, piggyback on what they are already doing.

I have used the Gallup Survey information many times with many clients. It just works! Listen to this episode for details but you can get the one-pager of the 12 questions by clicking HERE. If you are SERIOUS about learning more about this approach, you NEED the book! Click HERE FOR THE BOOK.

And of course, head over to my RESOURCE page for ALL the essential tools you should have! This topic is a good one and I will definitely expand on it in a later episode. Send your thought to

Be safe, enjoy the Holidays with your friends and family:)

Dec 26, 2017
026: Corrosives Safety

Our exposure to corrosive chemicals in the workplace is more common than folks realize. Just think about the chemicals we use around the home! Safety, on and off the job, is key to managing the hazards associated with these chemicals.

Listen to this episode to find out the most common safety hazards, types of corrosive chemicals and how to better prepare your employees for working with them.

I also cover ANSI requirements for emergency eyewash stations and emergency showers, workplace safety best practices, OSHA requirements and I share some simple workplace safety tips to help you keep workers safe around these workplace chemicals.

Leave your feedback, including topic requests, via email:

Don't forget to visit the official floor marking and floor sign company of The SafetyPro Podcast, Mighty Line Floor Tape - go to for a free sample today!

Dec 18, 2017
025: Multi-Employer and Contractor Safety

More episode info at

Increasingly, companies are using contract or temporary workers to perform work. This work ranges from maintenance and construction to security and even production-related tasks. It’s easy to pass off responsibility for contractor safety to someone else — particularly the contractor.

Under the OSHA multi-employer worksite policy, citations may be issued to employers using temporary employees. 

OSHA’s multi-employer worksite citation policy states that on multi-employer worksites (in all industry sectors), more than one employer may be citable for a hazardous condition that violates an OSHA standard. A two-step process must be followed in determining whether more than one employer is to be cited. Listen to learn all about it and better protect your company and your contractors.

Send emails to Be sure to visit the OFFICIAL floor marking and floor sign company of the Safetypro Podcast, Mighty Line Tape. Go to for a free sample of the most durable floor tape on the market.

Dec 11, 2017
024: Aerial Lifts, Powered Platforms and Scissor Lifts

In this episode, aerial lifts, powered platforms and scissor lifts - they all have slightly different requirements.

Be sure to share your thoughts by sending a message to

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Dec 04, 2017
023: OSHA Outreach Training Issues

Outreach training was never supposed to replace required safety training under specific OSHA regulations. So what about contractors that we hire that simply produce the 10 or 30-hour OSHA Outreach training card? What questions do we ask? How do we verify they have had actual safety training beyond the OSHA Outreach Training Program? Listen as I tackle this topic.

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Nov 23, 2017
022: Learning From Safety Mistakes of Others

I often have folks share safety news stories or OSHA citations they hear about. Most of the time it's an odd curiosity and serves no other purpose than to shake our heads and say, "idiots!".

What if we take this information and bring into our organizations and try to place ourselves in those situations? I do this all the time. It is a great way to learn from the mistakes of others.

Everything from accidents, injuries and news about OSHA citations for alleged violation of workplace safety standards; I try to use this info to challenge teams to go out in their facilities and find those or similar situations, conditions or practices.

We can use this info to engage operators/workers, look at policies, processes and facilities/equipment. Listen to this episode to learn how you can do this in your company.

Be sure to subscribe and drop an email if you have comments or a request for a topic.

Also, Mighty Line Floor Tape is now the official floor tape and floor marking company for the SafetyPro Podcast. All of your industrial floor marking needs are in one place. Visit to learn more.

Nov 17, 2017
021: Charting Your Safety Culture

Special announcement! Mighty Line Floor Tape is now the official floor tape and floor marking company for the SafetyPro Podcast! All of your industrial floor marking needs in one place. Visit to learn more.

Where are you on the culture maturity curve? How do you chart this? Click HERE to download the free graph and listen as I talk about the different levels of safety culture and how you can tell where your company is right now. Click HERE to join the email list!

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Nov 10, 2017
020: Let's Start Talking About Safety Culture

Mentioned in this episode:

NIOSH TWH Workbook


Let's talk about culture. What culture do you want? What do you currently have? Look to 2 areas of focus for culture. Listen as I explain.



Nov 02, 2017
019: Creating 13-Week Roadmap for Safety Projects

Get the 13-Week Roadmap journal I use:

Staying focused can be hard. Listen as I describe the journal that helps me create a 13-week roadmap for projects, stay focused on what matters and track my progress along the way. The Self Journal can help you as a safety professional, check it out today here

Dont' forget to HIT THE SUBSCRIBE button to get every episode. Send emails to

Oct 27, 2017
018: Fishbone Diagram for Safety Incident Reviews

Get your FREE Fishbone Diagram Template HERE

One way to capture different ideas and stimulate the team’s brainstorming on root causes is the cause and effect diagram, commonly called a fishbone. The fishbone will help to visually display the many potential causes for a specific problem or effect.

Listen as I explain how it is used. Download the FREE template to follow along!

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Oct 12, 2017
017: 5-Why Problem Solving Tool for Safety

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**To get the free 5-Why template mentioned in this episode click HERE.

Using 5-why for safety problem-solving will really help those looking for an easy yet effective tool to get to the root causes of issues.

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Oct 07, 2017
016: Intro to HAZCOM

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HAZCOM is still a frequently cited OSHA violation. Listen to this intro to the topic so you can keep your employees safe.

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Send your email questions or topic request to

Sep 27, 2017
015: Chemical Safety Labels

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Labels still create problems for many employers. Learn what is needed and listen to some examples of what to do and not do when it comes to labels in the workplace.

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Sep 25, 2017
014: VPP Element 4 - Safety & Health Training

The fourth element in the OSHA VPP is safety & health training. Let's dive into this one and simplify it. Remember, the VPP Simplified Tool will explain all the elements of the VPP, the sub-elements, and track you progress along the way. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and visit the website to learn more about the VPP Simplified Tool.

Send email questions to I may answer you question on the podcast!

Sep 05, 2017
013: VPP Element 3 - Safety Hazard Prevention & Controls

The third element in the OSHA VPP is hazard prevention & controls. Let's dive into this one and simplify it. Remember, the VPP Simplified Tool will explain all the elements of the VPP, the sub-elements, and track you progress along the way. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and visit the website to learn more about the VPP Simplified Tool.

Send email questions to I may answer your question on the podcast!

Aug 31, 2017
012: VPP Element 2 - Worksite Safety Analysis

The second element in the OSHA VPP is worksite analysis. Let's dive into this one and simplify it. Remember, the VPP Simplified Tool will explain all the elements of the VPP, the sub-elements, and track you progress along the way. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and visit the website to learn more about safety and the VPP Simplified Tool.

Send email questions to I may answer your question on the podcast!

Aug 26, 2017
011: VPP Element 1 - Leadership Commitment & Employee Involvement

ANNOUNCEMENT: We are now offering the #1 safety and health management system review tool used to prepare companies for the partnership with OSHA. Now you can use the same tool I have used for years.

But don't worry, staying true to my values and goals for this podcast, I explain it all in the next 4 episodes covering the VPP elements and sub-elements in detail.

Take notes! A lot of info is packed into the 4-episode series on VPP! email me at

Aug 25, 2017
010: BONUS - SMART Goals Part 2

I got a lot of responses from the last episode, and noticed an odd trend each time I release a new one as well. I talk about those here in this bonus episode.

Keep the emails coming! And hey, if you enjoy the info in the podcast please be sure to leave a ranking and review on Apple Podcasts or drop me a personal message using the email address above.

Aug 19, 2017
010: Workplace Safety & Health Goals and Objectives

How to set S.M.A.R.T. workplace safety and health goals and objectives and avoid vague lofty goals you will never realize!

Subscribe to the podcast and leave a ranking and review so others can find us and to help make this podcast even better :)




Aug 02, 2017
009: Safety & Health Management System

Have you ever wondered what should be in your safety program? Where do you begin? In this episode I give you a quick rundown on how to get started and the elements of your written program. Don't forget to subscribe and rank/review the podcast so that I can improve it for you!

Email your safety question or comment to

Aug 01, 2017
008: OSHA Aisles and Walkways Safety Update

Aisles and walkways are being updated! Mainly floor markings. Learn what to do by listening to this episode. More update episodes coming!

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Jul 24, 2017
007: OSHA Safety Recordkeeping Listener Questions Pt 2

From parking lots to chipped teeth, this episode has me covering interesting OSHA safety and injury recordkeeping scenarios for you. Be sure to let me know what you think!

Jun 25, 2017
006: OSHA Safety Recordkeeping Questions from Listeners

In this Q&A episode I tackle some of the most common OSHA recordkeeping questions that past clients have asked me!


Subscribe today and leave me a rank/review to help me improve and help others find this podcast!

Be safe!

May 28, 2015
005: Safety Questions from Listeners
  1. In this episode I answer listener questions about workplace safety and compliance. To leave me a voice message with a question to answer on the podcast please visit my website. Click HERE to ask the SafetyPro!

Also mentioned in this episode is my 5 tips to navigate the OSHA website without losing your mind! You really want this cheat sheet if you find yourself looking up info on their website. Click HERE to get it now!

Be sure to subscribe and leave a ranking/review to help me improve the podcast and assist others in finding me. Or just drop a note

May 01, 2015
004: Meaningful Employee Involvement in Safety


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In this episode I discuss the importance of meaningful employee involvement in the safety and health management system.


Some barriers to employee involvement in the safety and health management system:


-Disregarding the fact that all injuries and illnesses result from exposure to hazards.

-Perception by employees that management is primarily interested in disciplining “un-safe” acts without adequately addressing hazards and root causes.

-Personnel actions, such as promotions, compensation, demotions, disciplines, and re-assignments that are administered in such a way as to reduce or undermine the commitment to safety.

-Treating worker behavior as though it is a root or underlying cause rather than identifying hazards or system related causes.

-Administering a post-accident program, such as drug testing, in a way that discourages injury reporting

-Not implementing hazard recognition and control measures and/or ignoring the hierarchy of controls.

-Blaming employees with undue emphasis on discipline instead of implementing system changes.

-Uneven accountability – focusing only on the line/hourly worker and not addressing “behavior” of supervisors, senior management and corporate leadership.

-Employee perception that production takes precedent over their personal safety and health.


Be sure to subscribe, rank and review this podcast so I may improve and to aid others in finding me!

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Mar 05, 2015
003: What Does Leadership Support For Safety Mean?

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Have you ever heard the recommendation to conduct periodic reviews of the safety and health management system? Ever wonder what was meant by the term 'system'?

I want to take some time and talk about what is involved in a comprehensive Safety and Health Management System review. You may have heard this phrase and wondered what exactly does it mean? So let's break it down. Basically, the safety and health management system starts (at least initially) with a review of all facilities, machines, chemicals, tasks, etc. to determine hazards.

If you listened to my previous episode, I talked about how to go about conducting such an assessment in preparation for writing a safety manual, which will become a part of this management system. So that assessment kicks off a cycle.

As always, be sure to subscribe via iTunes or Stitcher and please leave a ranking and review so I can improve and others may find me!



Feb 04, 2015
000: Intro to The SafetyPro Podcast

This is the SafetyPro Podcast with Blaine J. Hoffmann, MS OSHM. Think of me as your personal safety professional!

In this quick intro I talk about my professional experience, background and what to expect from this podcast moving forward.

I will cover real-world workplace safety and health management issues and how to implement safety and health program elements in your workplace. I will also tackle training issues, audits, safety trends, interview experts, and more!

I will also provide bonus materials (downloadable tools) for you to use on the job! Things like safety talks, charts, inspections, surveys, and more.

For access to the bonus materials and tools, you will need to download our exclusive SafetyPro Podcast App available for Windows, Windows Phone, iOS, and Android. Again, our exclusive App is the ONLY way you can get access to all the downloads we will provide for each episode.

Otherwise, subscribe to the podcast so you won't miss a single episode. Learn about workplace safety and health management one informative episode at a time! If you like what you hear, please leave us a rating and review to help others find our program!

Learn more about safety services at

Dec 19, 2014