Behind Blue Eyes

shutterstock_185093693By Phil La Duke
Author
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business and Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence

But my dreams they aren’t as empty as my conscience seems to be—Pete Townsend

As many of you already know, this week I learned that a Russian website is bootlegging my book Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. Some would be outraged, but not me.  I won’t get any money for the books they’ve stolen, but at least it is bootlegged in its entirety and credited under my name. So while ASSP thinks my tone is too tough for you to handle and that you will only buy nice sycophantic crap that validates your own world view. At least the pirates think my book is worth stealing. And I know this in all certainty: pirates don’t steal things they don’t think hold widespread appeal and intrinsic value. So spasibo comrades, enjoy your ill-gotten gain.

I asked my former editor, Peter Page, a man of exceptional vision who was summarily dismissed, in part, I’m convinced because of my contributions, from Entrepreneur, about my books.  To whit: why do the intellectual excrement of the likes of Scott Gellar sell so well while my books languish around average. His answer was characteristically curt and to the point, I’m paraphrasing but he said, “You preach change to a bunch of people who don’t want any part of changing. You need to ask yourself if you want to write about how you see the world or do you want to write pablum to people who only want to read what they already believe.”

Obviously, I am not in this for the money; I have had umpteen offers to commercialize this site—from ads to product placement. I’ve turned every offer away because even if a sponsor doesn’t put pressure on me to support what they sell, the pressure is always there. So I guess for better or for worse I want to expose the world as I see it through my own eyes. We can argue about it, but it won’t change anything. I can only speak from my perspective. 

It’s not always easy describing the world from my perspective. It’s safer threatening a man’s child than his livelihood and every criticism I lob is perceived to be a full-frontal attack on the new pair of jet skis and the better life some snake-oil salesman lusts after. But therein lies the problem, as I see it, and it’s a problem that worsens every day: Safety isn’t some intellectual argument that we can idly and pedantically debate on LinkedIn. While we treat Safety like an academic exercise, people DIE. Real people are crippled, and maimed; they lose life and limb, while we construct an ever more complex way to make ourselves look smart even though for the most part they fail.

So many of the safety pundits have never turned a wrench on an assembly line, hauled in a catch on a commercial fishing ship, plowed a field, driven a tanker, or done anything approaching manual labor. In fact, the safest thing in most workplaces is the safety guy’s ass. Too many people in safety are so worried about an injury not being their faults that they spend ours covering their asses and wearing an ever more comfortable ass-grove in their chairs.

So here is my challenge: Inspire someone.  Inspire an executive into realizing that “safety” isn’t philosophic it’s operational and it’s good business. Inspire a middle manager that blood spilled in the furtherance of business is immoral and on his or her hands, inspire a front-line worker to stop work when they see an unreasonable risk or merely to second check the safety of a task. Inspire another safety practitioner to do his or her job in accordance with his or her values.

“Everyone talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it”—Mark Twain

Safety is, with the possible exception of Adult Learning, the only profession I can think of embroiled in an identity crisis.  It’ like the Mark Twain quote above. We talk about this theory or that, or the best way to do this, but unless someone is making a buck off it scarce little is done about it.  It reminds me of the time I designed an organizational structure based on democracy instead of the current state that is based on a monarchy. I proposed that leaders—from front-line supervisors to executives—would be elected by the entire workforce and these leaders would be servants of the corporate population, the executives too would be elected and face reelection after a fixed term, and finally, a board whose sole purpose would be to determine if the policies enacted were aligned with the values and mission of the organization. I’m sure you can imagine how excited I was when my boss (an executive) read the paper with enthusiasm and excitedly asked me who else was doing this? When I told him no one, I watched as his eyes went dim and his body language sank, it was like witnessing the death of a loved one. I knew in that instant that my idea—no matter how good, or how loved it was—was dead.

We have to stop arguing over the niggling points of safety and get out there and DO SOMETHING. We are so busy polishing various turds that we have lost sight of the two basic truths of safety: nobody wants their job to kill them and no job is designed to kill the worker. So if you do nothing else, inspire someone to look at the basics of safety: hurting workers is bad business.

Almost a month ago now,  there were three workplace shootings in five days. How long are you going to continue to throw your hands up and say, “what can I do?” My second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. answers this question. This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

Before you dismiss this as yet another shameless plug for my book I want you to ask yourself these questions:

  • What if anything is my employer doing to reduce its risk of a workplace attack?
  • Do the people who are doing the hiring at my workplace know the warning signs of a workplace attack?
  • What can I do to prevent workplace violence?

If you don’t have the answer to any of these questions, use your Amazon gift card to buy the book. It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

I should warn you, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights.The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence.  But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is peppered with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) You should buy it. Seriously I’m not telling you how to live your life but you should buy it. Okay, I AM telling you how to live your life, just buy the damned book.

Of course, my first book is still for sale, and is ALSO available in the eBook format you might rightly ask yourself, why on God’s green Earth would I read a book that contains previously released material? Simple, like the rain-forest and the polar bears my work is disappearing from the web very quickly.  All but a handful of my works for Facility Management Magazine are gone, and you can basically only go back two years on my blog (eight year’s worth of my work that ranges in quality from magnificent to mindless dreck.) And besides, about a third of the book is newly written material that cannot be found anywhere else. So buy it. People who have read it say that it belongs in everyone who works in safety’s library. It will teach you, entertain you, and make you want to read more it can be ordered here I Know My Shoes Are Untied. Mind Your Own Business or on Barnes & Noble.com.

As always, Read. Learn. Live. Share. Inspire

 

 

 

Looking Back, Looking Forward, Looking Around

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By Phil La Duke
Author
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business and Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence

This is the time of year for introspection﹘we look inwards and take stock of our lives. We concentrate on the things we have done and the things we wished we hadn’t done. This is also the time of year for looking forward. We make resolutions, we hope to improve our lives, hopefully we view the future with renewed hope and an invigorated sense of purpose. And yet there is a third thing that we seldom talk about but can’t help but avoid, taking a look around.

Looking Back

In 2019, I was a production safety consultant on three major motion pictures, I conducted a massive global survey for suppliers of one of the world’s largest oil companies, and did a couple of safety projects for tech companies and startups. The entertainment industry isn’t nearly as glamorous as it sounds, but it is immensely gratifying﹘unlike many industries where people pick up safety here and there, there isn’t a ton of workers in that business that are aware of the big picture of safety.  That’s not to say they don’t work safely (remember my credo: Nobody wants to die at work, and your processes aren’t supposed to hurt them), in fact, many of the trades are so wrapped up and focused on the job that they have to have done in a couple of minutes that they often lose situational awareness. The work on a movie set is akin to Sim Ops in construction where you have multiple trades doing discrete tasks in a congested area. It only takes one variable to go wrong and you have a catastrophe.  It’s like being responsible for an orchestra where if someone plays the wrong note multiple people die. 

What’s even more dangerous than having multiple people doing different things in close proximity to one another is that in entertainment, the operating conditions are in continual flux.  Something as simple as cloud cover can send the schedule into a tailspin. To say this work is stressful is to under sell it﹘you really don’t know what to expect. My approach to safety here is to correct people who say, “you’re here to keep me safe”.  I would put it to you soft-hearted naive beginners in the field, and you delusional old coots who think you are doing God’s work, that we NEVER save people’s lives, or at least seldom, and even then that’s not our jobs. What we do, if we are really doing our jobs, is to provide good information so people can make informed decisions about their risks.  If you ascribe to the former mindset, then people can only be safe when you are there to make their decision for them, but the latter mindset helps you teach people to consider the risks they are taking before they take them. I’m never a safety cop, although I have seen plenty in safety, because I know that as soon as I am out of sight the people are going to do what I told them not to do.  The entertainment business is the single most challenging work I’ve ever done, and I have worked in mining, Oil & Gas. manufacturing, construction, and maritime. Someone on set told me that to be effective in the entertainment business one had to have a “love-hate” relationship with “the Business” as they call it. I’m inclined to agree﹘you never know the challenges you will face and you have to constantly work to enable safe production.  Looking back it has been a good year for me work-wise since I learned an awful lot (the best way to truly internalize knowledge is by teaching the subject to someone else.

What else did I do this year? I spoke and retired from speaking from any conferences that require me to jump through hoops for no pay (which is in no way the same as retiring from speaking.  I started the year in March, at the Michigan Safety Conference, a huge local conference that is unaffiliated with either ASSP or the NSC. This is a conference that I will continue to participate in as long as they will have me. They generally will work with me to find a topic that is relevant and also something I have something to say about. As for the rest? I am tired of spending my own money on travel and expenses only to be treated as if I owe the organization at which I am speaking money or that they are doing me a favor.  This year saw me travel to Grand Rapids, New Orleans twice, Dublin, Ireland for a total of five speeches. Two of these I took vacation time and paid out of pocket because my employer hadn’t budgeted for this many trips (and the Ireland trip cost a pretty penny for a disastrous, pipe and drape, 15-minute speech (this was NOT what I signed up for) but it was good press and I was able to promote my books.

Speaking of books, the sale of both my books have remained strong. Big thanks to those of you who have bought them and said nice things about them, and well…as for the rest of you, what the Hell are you waiting for?  Use that Amazon gift card to buy a couple of copies. They are a bargain at half the price and both are now available in eFormat. I’ve also written 319 articles for Authority Magazine, around 30 for Thrive Global, two for HSI/HSME, and one for Entrepreneur. The Authority articles are divided into two tracks: Interviewing Powerful Women CEOs (I was assigned this beat and didn’t think much of it until I rewrote the questions and it became a hit series) and Avocation to Vocation: How I turned my hobby into a career, which was my idea and took off like a rocket.  As I interviewed these 319 people I started to see commonality among the responses and am intending to write two books on what I have learned. They aren’t about safety, but being the good safety people I know you are, I’m sure the lessons won’t be lost on you.

So that was last year, and looking back, I feel like it was a good one, I lost some family and friends and I have gained some more.

Looking Around

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have anything to grouse about and looking around I see plenty.  We have become more and more decisive; not just in the U.S. but worldwide. My siblings and I don’t dare talk politics lest it become a shouting match.  Brexit has half the world wondering what the aftershocks and ripple effects will mean to them. We live in a state of constant anxiety while pundits and our employers tell us to be optimistic. Neville Chamberlain was an optimist and we can all probably remember how that worked out for him. Irrespective of your politics you have to concede that this is not a great time for workplace safety.

The U.S. trade war with China has had the unintended outcome of closing U.S. Steel’s Great Lakes Works plant in Metro Detroit, permanently dismissing 1,545 workers in a move likely to devastating Detroit’s local economy. Detroit is on the rebound, but the manufacture of steel largely has not.  I have mixed emotions about this, on the one hand, as I stated this is a catastrophic blow to the local economy of the region informally called Downriver but on the other hand Great Lakes Works has not had what anyone would call a stellar safety record. I guess in the final estimation, it’s better to lose your job than to lose your life (as have many people at the facility, including my brother-in-law who died from an industrial illness he contracted by working there). The company said it only that it was a tough decision, but it had to do what was in the stockholders best interest  This raises the larger question of whether or not a company’s only responsibility is to safeguard the best interests of its stockholders, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Looking Forward

In a couple of days we will enter a new year and a new decade and I am optimistic. More and more companies are coming to the realisation that killing and maiming workers is unsustainable. I believe that the purveyors of bullshit and snake oil who﹘lacking any education or real field experience﹘will retire or die or otherwise leave the field.  With the people who were put into safety because they were well liked but essentially useless gone it will allow a new generation of educated and energetic safety professionals, TRUE professionals, to throw of the yoke of superstition, junk science, ignorance, and stupidity promulgated by their bosses and apply real science and research to our field.  This won’t happen overnight, but it will happen rapidly as the old guard and the academics fade into the pages of history and become a footnote to the rudderless days of safety. In little more than a decade from now I should be financially able to realize my retirement goal of being found dead in a rental car at some airport, but hopefully something I said somewhere in my articles, blogs, speeches or books, will have inspired someone young or old to take up my mantle and carry on.

Almost a month ago now,  there were three workplace shootings in five  days. How long are you going to continue to throw your hands up and say, “what can I do?” My second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. answers this question. This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

Before you dismiss this as yet another shameless plug for my book I want you to ask yourself these questions:

  1. What if anything is my employer doing to reduce its risk of a workplace attack?
  2. Do the people who are doing the hiring at my workplace know the warning signs of a workplace attack?
  3. What can I do to prevent workplace violence?

If you don’t have the answer to any of these questions, use your Amazon gift card to buy the book. It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

I should warn you, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights.The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence.  But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is peppered with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) You should buy it. Seriously I’m not telling you how to live your life but you should buy it. Okay I AM telling you how to live your life, just buy the damned book.

Of course, my first book is still for sale, and is ALSO available in the eBook format you might rightly ask yourself, why on God’s green Earth would I read a book that contains previously released material? Simple, like the rain-forest and the polar bears my work is disappearing from the web very quickly.  All but a handful of my works for Facility Management Magazine are gone, and you can basically only go back two years on my blog (eight year’s worth of my work that ranges in quality from magnificent to mindless dreck.) And besides, about a third of the book is new material that cannot be found anywhere else. So buy it. People who have read it say that it belongs in everyone who works in safety’s library. It will teach you, entertain you, and make you want to read more it can be ordered here I Know My Shoes Are Untied. Mind Your Own Business or on Barnes & Noble.com.

As always, Read. Learn. Live. Share. Inspire.

 

The Dangerous and Irresponsible Resurgence in the Popularity of BBS

shutterstock_659858677By Phil La Duke
Author
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business and Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence

Unless this is the first thing of mine of which you’ve read, you know how I despise Behavior-Based Safety (BBS). It’s devotees are the simple and the greedy, repackaging a ludicrously stupid system year after year in hopes of continuing the swindle. Some may wonder why I am so adamantly against Behavior Based Systems and before I get into it YET again I will simply say this: getting safety right and implementing sound systems is the difference between life and death. Some of you may recall that I lost both grandfathers, a great uncle, my father, my brother-in-law, one of my brother’s best friends, a childhood acquaintance, and numerous coworkers and friends to either workplace accidents or industrial illnesses, so you will forgive me if my tone isn’t as warm as fuzzy as you might like.

So what’s wrong with BBS? A lot:

  1. It presupposes that all unsafe behavior is deliberate. Most of our behavior is not deliberate especially rote exercises (those tasks we have done hundreds of times). Tasks we have memorized become unconscious—we do them without thinking. 
  2. Many unsafe behaviors are taught and BBS does nothing to guard against a veteran employee passing along unsafe behaviors. I have first hand knowledge of how this can happen. When I worked the line EVERY new job I was taught had at least one task where the trainer told me “we’re SUPPOSED to do it this way but we actually do it THIS way.” Some of this was simple innovation, but even if it was it should have been added to the official Standard Procedures and it never was.
  3. It drives unsafe behavior underground
  4. It pits worker against worker
  5. It doesn’t allow or address behavioral drift
  6. It leads to blame and shame of the workers.
  7. It creates an incentive to hide injuries and under-report injuries.
  8. It flies in the face of Deming’s 14 points.

At this point, either some snake oil salesmen who has spent years making money off this excremental nonsense, or some earnestly ignorant who acts as if he walked out into the rain and discovered wet, will try to sway me that BBS isn’t flawed, I just haven’t seen it properly implemented.  I have used the analysis of fricasseed squirrel anus several times, I am going to use it again. If you offer me fricasseed squirrel anus,and after a quick nibble I say, “oh jeez this is awful”, I should be able to refuse to eat it again, and yet invariably someone will say, “oh, you have to try MY fricasseed squirrel anus,you’ll love it”.  How many times do I have to eat a squirrel’s ass before I can say definitively that I don’t like it? And it is similar to BBS. If the system is so routinely misused maybe—and I’m just spitballing here—there is a better way to reduce the risk of injury in the process.

So why, if this system is as dangerously flawed is there a resurgence in its popularity?

  1. We have been convincing Operations leadership that this is the only option for 40 years.
  2. Injuries are under-reported and therefore it makes the Safety Function look good.
  3. College professors who have never worked in industry continue to extoll the wonders of BBS.
  4. Snake-Oil salesmen make $100s of million selling it.
  5. It provides the illusion of doing something about unsafe working conditions without making any substantial investment in infrastructure.
  6. It’s easy to implement.
  7. It centers the conversation around the flaws of workers and their poor choices instead of examining WHY the workers made poor choices or put themselves in the line of fire.

You can make a lot of money selling this dreck, but continuing to sell BBS, push it, and extol its imaginary virtues makes you dangerous, and speaking for the dead and permanently disabled shame on you.

Last week there were three workplace shootings in 5 days. How long are you going to continue to throw your hands up and say, “what can I do?” My second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. answers this question. This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

I should warn you, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights.The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence.  But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is peppered with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) You should buy it. Seriously I’m not telling you how to live your life but you should buy it. Okay I AM telling you how to live your life, just buy the damned book.

Of course, my first book is still for sale, and is ALSO available in the eBook format you might rightly ask yourself, why on God’s green Earth would I read a book that contains previously released material? Simple, like the rain-forest and the polar bears my work is disappearing from the web very quickly.  All but a handful of my works for Facility Management Magazine are gone, and you can basically only go back two years on my blog (eight year’s worth of my work that ranges in quality from magnificent to mindless dreck.) And besides, about a third of the book is new material that cannot be found anywhere else. So buy it. It will teach you, entertain you, and make you want to read more it can be ordered here I Know My Shoes Are Untied. Mind Your Own Business or on Barnes & Noble.com.

As always, Read. Learn. Live. Share. Inspire.

Normalizing Risk: What Could Go Wrong?

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By Phil La Duke
Author

I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business and Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence

I’ve written ad nauseum about the biggest threat to safety. I have to admit after 13 years me screaming my chicken-little, “the sky is falling” shtick is tiresome even to me, so I won’t assert this week’s topic is yet another “greatest threat to safety” but I think it is a grave threat to our safety and that is the normalization of risk. This practice goes far beyond the Safety function and none (and I mean none) of us are immune to it.

When tragedy strikes and a coworker dies we shake our heads in bewilderment and ask why would someone do something so reckless? How could someone be so stupid? Why would someone risk his life to save a few seconds.  But then, let he among us who has never normalized risk throw the first stone.

Normalizing risk, to a large extent helps us to function. If we didn’t normalize risk we could never cook, eat in a restaurant, or drive.  In all these cases we have to normalize risk to place ourselves in close proximity to a hot stove, frying pans, sharp utensils, or hot oil. Do you doubt me? Consider restaurants. We eat food raised by strangers, harvested by strangers, processed by strangers, transported by strangers, inspected by strangers, cooked by strangers, and served to us by strangers on plates washed by strangers, all in a building built and inspected by strangers. I’m not going to continue with the car example, because the smarter among you get the point and the dumber among you never will.  Besides, the people who routinely read this blog hoping to find something to outrage them have probably gotten bored and stopped reading.

I do think it’s worth considering that the single largest cause of death in the workplace falls under the (in my opinion much too broad to be useful category) of transportation accidents.  This could mean anything from someone struck by a car crossing a street to dying in a over-the-road tanker explosion. We don’t count deaths commuting to or from work as “work fatalities” but they do in most parts of the world, but the sheer number of highway deaths should give us pause, “ 1.25 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day.” of course that is world-wide and with almost 8 billion people this an infinitesimal percentage. I point out that because since I wrote Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention  a wormy little clod who gets an erection every time he thinks about a woman dying takes every opportunity to point out that despite what the Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Safety Council says, homicide, in his completely subjective opinion, is NOT the number one cause of death for women in the workplace. Frankly I will take my facts from the BLS or NSC than some water-head who wants to see women murdered in the workplace. I can only guess at his motivation—maybe he is planning to kill a woman—but in any case, here we have a man deliberately normalizing an extreme risk.  I should point out that violence against women in the workplace is not yet at epidemic levels. I get reminded of this a lot. This is how we normalize risk, we rationalize it by comparing it to other risks. Let me give you an example that is a little less emotional and alarmist: hippopotami kill more people each year than sharks do. This is a facile argument, it reminds me of a Willy and Ethel cartoon by the great Joe Martin.  Ethel says to her husband, “Mr. Johnson takes his wife out to dinner every Friday,” Willy, unmoved continues reading his paper. Ethel continues, “Mr. Johnson takes his wife out dancing once a month” again Willy says nothing. Ethel persists with, “Mr. Johnson helps his wife with the dishes everyday” to which Willy responds, “hon, why don’t you do us both a favor and stop comparing me to Mr. Johnson and start comparing me to some of those guys on death row?” I apologize to Mr. Martin if I got the dialog wrong, but the point remains, Willy is trying to deflect Ethel’s points by introducing a completely different and at best marginally related point.

We live in a world where there are no lies, where world leaders dismiss the irrefutable “as fake news” and where Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram posts are asserted largely unchallenged as fact. Normalization of aberrant behavior from grabbing a woman by the genitals to failing to vaccinate your children because an ex Playboy centerfold says it causes autism is running rampant.

So what can we do about it? Well I don’t have the answer but awareness campaigns aren’t going to help. Awareness campaigns are growing in importance in the battle against ignorance, but we KNOW that normalization of risk isn’t smart. We KNOW it can get someone killed (but probably won’t) until we normalize it to the point where it almost certainly will end in mayhem, at which point the culpable party will blame everyone but him/herself. Have you ever run a yellow light? My ex brother-in-law did, as did the car that turned left in front of him.  It wasn’t the first time either had engaged in this behavior; both had normalized and trivialized this risk. When the Bronco struck the Ford Fiesta in a thunderous crash it wasn’t speeding, the driver wasn’t drunk. When the dust settled the driver of the Fiesta’s girlfriend lay on the front seat bleeding and dying while her eight week old baby (who was in an unsecured child seat) lay dead on the backseat floor. Both drivers were charged although the prosecutor dropped the charges against the driver of the Fiesta because he was convinced he could not get a conviction. My brother-in-law was sent to prison for 11 years and he did every penny of it. I have never run a yellow light since (unless it was unsafe to stop).

We are so content with normalizing risk that if someone is terrified to leave the house (because they haven’t normalized risk) we brand them crazy agoraphobics and insist that they need psychiatric care.

Unfortunately, there is no way of telling how much we should normalize risks until the gruesome moment of no return. I didn’t invest this, but I will pass it along.  Before attempting any task ask yourself these questions:

  1. Have I been trained to do this task?
  2. Do I understand this task?
  3. Do I have the proper tools to do this task?
  4. Can I verify that I have done the task correctly?

These questions may not eliminate the normalization of risk, but it’s a start. Try it the next time you get behind the wheel of a car; the life you save might be mine.

I am proud to announce the release by Marriah Publishing of my second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention.  in an eBook edition. This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

I should warn you, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights.The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence.  But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is peppered with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) You should buy it. Seriously I’m not telling you how to live your life but you should buy it. Okay I AM telling you how to live your life, just buy the damned book.

Of course, my first book is still for sale, and is ALSO available in the eBook format you might rightly ask yourself, why on God’s green Earth would I read a book that contains previously released material? Simple, like the rain-forest and the polar bears my work is disappearing from the web very quickly.  All but a handful of my works for Facility Management Magazine are gone, and you can basically only go back two years on my blog (eight year’s worth of my work that ranges in quality from magnificent to mindless dreck.) And besides, about a third of the book is new material that cannot be found anywhere else. So buy it. It will teach you, entertain you, and make you want to read more it can be ordered here I Know My Shoes Are Untied. Mind Your Own Business or on Barnes & Noble.com.

As always, Read. Learn. Live. Share. Inspire.

 

#authors, #i-know-my-shoes-are-untied-mind-your-own-business, #lone-gunman-rewriting-the-handbook-on-workplace-violence-prevention, #phil-la-duke, #risk-management, #risk-tolerance, #survival

I Want Safety To Do Better

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By Phil La Duke
Author
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business and Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence

I haven’t been on my soapbox much lately.  It’s not that I don’t have plenty to say, it’s just that so much of it makes me angry to write about I end up sounding like a troll who hates everything. Abby Ferri inspired me to write this post when she asked on LinkedIn a simple question to anyone who cared to answer: What do you dislike about your colleagues? (my apologies if I don’t have the exact wording down, but the point being, what is it about the behavior or some safety people that make you cringe?)

So I am going to flip the script a bit here and tell you what I would LIKE to see improvements in the Safety function.

Kill The National Safety Trade Organizations

This week I received my last rejection letter for a speaking abstract.  I know it is the last one because I sent two abstracts to ASSP Safety 2020  before deciding to give up speaking at trade shows, and while I submitted two in the typical manner bereft of any sort of decorum or class received one form-letter via email. The cheap bastards couldn’t even fork out the postage to send me a proper response. I actually breathed a sigh of relief.  I honestly don’t think I could stand seeing the smug money grubbing faces of people acting as if they were doing me a favor by allowing me to speak at my own, not inconsiderable expense.

For the record, I am not resigning from speaking—although after speaking at multiple trade shows every year since 2006, I think I’ve earned the right—I am quitting.

I understand that much of what you are about to read may sound like sour grapes, but I’m prepared to risk it to say some things I think need to be said.

I would love to tell you that I agonized over the decision to give up unpaid speaking engagements, but that would be an outright lie.  I made this decision after an epiphany brought about after ASSP condescendingly turned down my books for sale at the shows where I was speaking for free.  They didn’t like my tone. I didn’t really expect them to sell my books because, after all, what would be in it for them? I further realized that Trade Shows are dying if not already dead.  Yes, people who want to keep the alphabet after their names will always show up, but the rest of us gain very little from participating except to bear witness to the death rattle of the trade show.

Let’s take a look at the value proposition of trade shows, well at least the two big Safety trade show.  First, there is the cost of membership both a national membership and a local membership and neither of these fees is inconsequential. Sure they may entitle you to discounts but they are typically on things you wouldn’t ordinarily buy.  You get to go to meetings and to network, but couldn’t we organize that ourselves? Do we really have to pay dues to go to a happy hour and share ideas over a pint and some quesadillas? I don’t think so. And while my current employer is very willing to support my colleagues and I in our pursuit of professional growth, many of us have to fight and argue with our bosses just to have the company pick up the membership tab.

Then we have the national conferences which amount to a money grab. Do you doubt me? Consider this:

  1. Professional Development Seminars  These are great training programs on basic topics about which most of us already know. BUT they also give us CEUs so we can maintain the alphabet soup after our names. The price of these sessions ranges from a couple of hundred dollars to over a thousand. They are offered both before and after the main event to ensure maximum money-making potential.
  2. Technical Sessions.  These sessions are included in a full-price full conference admission, typically as much as $1,000 or more.  Conference planners LOVE technical sessions It’s a nice little money maker—the speakers aren’t compensated (except for full admission to the show) and the sessions are moderated by volunteers who are given a one-day pass for their services. So the conference organizers pay nothing but derive great benefits from having a wide range of speakers but really don’t pay anything to the speakers.
  3. The Exhibit Hall.  The Exhibit Hall is code for the big room of vendors where participants go to from booth-to-booth like trick or treaters collect useless promotional crap that they will likely throw away as soon as they return to the hotel.  If you have been to as many of these shows as I have you probably have noticed a great degradation in the number and quality of vendors. I used to wander the exhibit hall checking out new technology and talking to the vendors.  Now I see unattended booth after unattended booth. It seems like there are fewer and fewer companies are exhibiting, and those that are seem less and less enthusiastic about being there.

So what would I LIKE to see? 

 

  • More Information less “Infortainment”. “Infortainment” used to have a horrible connotation it was the worse thing an instructional designer  could say about a course. It was an ugly insult that meant the course had no substance. People had fun but didn’t learn anything of value.  And yet I have heard safety doorknobs openly demand more “infortainment”; we don’t.
  • Less “Here’s what I did” and more “Imagine the possibilities.” Not only are there too many infomercials at trade shows they are getting longer and they are the SAME five guys spewing the same crap.  Can’t we have more open forum discussions and less “I’m great, buy my book, hire me?”
  • More information exchange.  People complain that the sessions aren’t interactive enough, and yet whenever I try to create a dialog I stand before a 100-person jury.  They will gig me on my evaluation on the topic (seriously, are they too stupid to read the program, or are they just looking for something to bitch about?  The most powerful sessions I attended were when the audience was divided into groups and given a discussion topic. After a time spokespeople from the group would report out on their conclusions.  A group discussion would ensue and the “speaker” would facilitate learning.
  • More engagement from the exhibitors.  Exhibitors pay a pretty penny to showcase their wares, but over the years fewer and fewer quality vendors exhibit.  In my experience it’s because: a) the professional organization treats you like something it scraped of its shoe, b) the professional organization nickel and dimes you to death. (Need power? That’s $50) c) if the professional organization has a product or service that competes with you they will put its both right next to yours and compete openly with you.  What’s more not long ago, exhibitors would greet you as you went by ask what you did at your company and if you got involved with the purchase of whatever they were selling. Now you see empty both after empty booth interrupted only by exhibitors with there nose in their phone ignoring people as they go by.

 

Drive Safety Cops Into the Sea

There are two types of safety cops: “the thou shall nots”, and the grand inquisitors.  The thou shall not go around the organizations sniffing out rule breakers so they can report them to management. These safety cops are little more than capos in a death camp or collaborators with an invading force.  They crave power that they cannot obtain through skill or hard work so they seek to have it imparted on them by a higher force. Like the behavior of any other creepy little tattletale, these safety cops just drive unsafe behavior underground, they are the enemy of the worker.

The grand inquisitors fear change and they will malign and persecute anyone who thinks differently from them.  They know what’s best in safety and cannot stand anyone who dares to think differently. They shout down people on internet threads and complain bitterly about anyone who questions the theories of an insurance man who may or may not have made up his research.

There can be no tolerance or forgiveness for these people, because they make all of us the enemy of the worker when we should be the advocate for them.

Tar and Feather the Simpletons

While it’s true that many people are killed because they weren’t aware of the risks associated with a given activity, Safety Simpletons have an awareness campaign to suit ever occasion  even if the awareness campaign is completely pointless.  They will argue that the children’s safety poster awareness program is fun and people like it.  I would argue that only a sociopathic sadist introduces the idea that mommy and daddy might end up bleeding out on the shop floor into the mind of an 8-year old child. “I’m sorry Dylan, daddy died at work today. I told not to use the green crayon, but you didn’t listen and you killed daddy.” Show me one incident report that concludes that the root cause of a workplace injury was “his kid just didn’t love him enough” and I will show you a safety simpleton. And, if that is NOT a cause, why on God’s green Earth do we tout it as anything but a simpleminded waste of time?

More Emphasis on Risk Reduction and Less Body Counts

We still have a problem where we congratulate ourselves for killing and maiming less people than our competitors or than we did last year.  Can’t we do better? Shouldn’t we be striving every day to do better? I think so.

My second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. is now available as an eBook (through Kindle or iTunes). This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

Or if you prefer you can buy it in hardcover or paperback at Amazon, or Barnes & Noble  

I should warn you, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights.The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence.  But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is pepper with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) 

Photo by it’s me neosiam on Pexels.com

Why Even Bother With Safety Training?

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By Phil La Duke
Author
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business and Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence

Like most of you, I have to, as part of my job, periodically sit through grueling, excruciatingly dull, and completely worthless training. Training I don’t need. Training I don’t want on topics I don’t use on my job. I sit, my mind dulled and numbed with boredom because the law says that I must complete this training. So I watch as a disembodied voice reads insipid slides to me.  Computer-Based Training. This is not a shortfall of my employer, we produce excellent, forward-facing and innovative learning tools, and yet when it comes to regulatory training we fall into the same trap that so many other companies do.

So why do we do it? Because the law says I have to.  The law doesn’t care if I have developed courses—far better course in fact—on the subject. The law doesn’t care if this off-the-shelf dreck meets my objectives or needs. The law doesn’t even care if I learn anything from the “training”. In fact, in most cases, the law doesn’t even specify knowledge or skills the course has to cover; it just has to be done…or else.

I have written at length about what’s wrong with safety training and how to fix it, but there just isn’t any will to do fix it. It is said, “give a man a fish he will eat for a day, but teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life” (which let’s face it, I need to eat more than one fish a day, but that is, as is so often the case, beside the point) but when it comes to the crap that we so frequently pass off as training the saying might as well be “talk about the theory behind fishing to a man who has no intention of ever going fishing and he will eat just fine.”

I suppose I should take a moment and shut the drooling maws of the mouth-breathers who have a problem with the term “training” because “you TRAIN dogs, you EDUCATE people”. Apart from being trite, this statement is just plain WRONG. There is a difference between “education” (teaching someone ABOUT something) and “training” (teaching someone to DO something).  I think the difference is best illustrated by the old, and brace yourself off-color joke, “you might not mind if your fourth grade daughter gets sex education at school, but you probably don’t want her getting sex training.” As for the term “learning” it too is a bit off the mark. Learning implies that one actually acquires knowledge or skills that he or she was lacking before the course and this isn’t always the case.  Ah well, back to the topic at hand.I am prepared to fully acknowledge that we have to do stupid and pointless things simply because the law says we must, BUT shouldn’t we aspire to do more than merely meet the barest of minimums of the regulation? Shouldn’t we ask what the spirit of the law is, and why the government thinks that this should be a requirement? Why do we do training that we know won’t make one whit of difference? Or more to the point why don’t we use the requirement as a justification for raising awareness, teaching skills, fomenting debate and discourse? I’m glad you asked…

 

  • Doing it Right Is Expensive. You can buy OSHA accepted training for very little, distribute it via your computer network and meet the requirement. The same course can be used to train iron workers and bull-semen collectors at a cattle breeding ranch.  Even if it violates one of the first rules of Adult Learning, “give the audience the WIIFM (cute speak for What’s In It For Me?” And despite the fact that people tend to tune out messages that they don’t believe apply to them (right or wrong) it is easier to get a low-quality low-cost solution approved by the people holding the purse strings than it is to pay to do it right, and depending on the size of the audience the cost difference isn’t inconsequential. Spending $100,000 to train 30,000 people  amounts to $3 per participant, but spending that Same $100,000 to train 30 people doesn’t make sense.
  • The Government Doesn’t CARE if you need it. I have been forced to take regulatory training on subjects in which I am well versed and even that I have developed and taught. Does this make sense? NO! But since when does the government make sense? The real danger here is that the average worker cannot distinguish between information they really need and the “nice to know” crap that a fraction of the population will ever use.  The result of this confusion is that people tend to treat it ALL as crap.
  • The Government Doesn’t Require Proficiency.  As long as you are able to check the box that someone completed training the government won’t hassle you if the person didn’t get a damned thing out of the event.
  • There Is No Provision In The Law For Testing Out of a Course.  When I was head of Training & OD for a tier-one auto supplier I made it a policy that anyone could come in and “test-out” of a course. I got a lot of cocky (usually engineers) who would argue indignantly that they had 126 years of experience and could probably TEACH the class.  Of that throng, only one hit the required 90% or better to be eligible to get credit for the class without taking it. To his credit he said, I know I know this topic but I would like to take it anyway. Taking this test reminded me that I might need to refresh my skills because it took a lot more thinking to answer some of those questions than I thought it was.  But even though many people were reluctant to test out, I would say approximately 20% of the posttests indicated that people didn’t NEED the course.but it didn’t harm them in anyway. Personally I think it’s insane to sit through courses that I have actually taught, but I am seemingly alone in that regard. Not only is this a waste of time it reinforces management’s idea that we are a bunch of soft headed imbeciles who don’t understand the basics of business.  We all understand we don’t have a choice. 
  • The Regulators Are Concerned With Course Completion Instead of Competence. Government regulators need to get out of the “training” business and instead a demonstration of competency.  What’s the difference? I I hire a journeyman electrician with 15 years experience I don’t need to train him as an electrician, but in the interest of safety I DO need to ascertain his competency before putting him to work.  So why doesn’t the requirement read “Employers shall ensure the competency of all employees in any and all tasks the employees are required to perform”? Because ensuring competency is hard. Think about it. When someone is injured the cause that so many training (and operations for that matter) personnel default to is that the employee was stupid, lazy, complacent, or careless. How often do we even consider that maybe the person never had the adequate skills in the first place.

 

I see a resurgence in BBS (Blame-Based Safety) where a new crop of snake oil salesmen proudly assert (without a shred of proof) that the workers’ behavior (and not the system inwhic the worker works) is the root of all injuries. None of them ask, or even seem interested in why an otherwise intelligent and grown-ass employee would choose to put themselves in the line of fire.  We are quick to blame but slow to examine the circumstances that we ourselves have created that encourage unsafe behaviors and poor decision making.

Recently the United States Senate failed to renew the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and last week the National Rifle Association announced its opposition of its renewal. My book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention is not against gun rights in fact, I grew up around guns, know how to use them, and am a damned good shot (something you halfwits who send me death threats might want to consider) but it does detail the high  but it does address the profound correlation between domestic violence and workplace violence. This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives,HR or your tyrant of a boss and it leads to substantial safety improvements (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.) If you have a daughter, wife, girlfriend, or just care about people getting murdered in the workplace BUY THIS BOOK. It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback (and now as an eBook) at Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

As I have said, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights.The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence.  But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is pepper with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) 

Of course, my first book is still for sale, and many are saying that anyone serious about worker safety should have it in their library.  You might rightly ask yourself, why on God’s green Earth would I read a book that contains previously released material? Simple, like the rain-forest and the polar bears my work is disappearing from the web very quickly.  All but a handful of my works for Facility Management Magazine is gone, and you can basically only go back two years on my blog (eight year’s worth of my work that ranges in quality from magnificent to mindless dreck is lost forever save in the pages of my book.) And besides, about a third of the book is new material that cannot be found anywhere else. So BUY IT. It will teach you, entertain you, and make you want to read more. It can be ordered here I Know My Shoes Are Untied. Mind Your Own Business or on Barnes & Noble.com. What are you waiting for?

 

Fear the Reaper, Not the Safety Guy

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By Phil La Duke
Burnt Out Safety Consultant, Iconoclast, and  Author of I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business and Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence

I’m a consultant  being a consultant means going to a lot of workplaces and meeting a lot of different people in a lot of different places. And even though I’m not an auditor (those hated safety cops who come in to bust you for the pettiest things) but nonetheless companies seldom call me and pay me to tell them things are great. 

People fear me. 

I used to say that a consultant is someone who spends three days in your company, gives you an unworkable solution to an ill-defined problem and then blames you when it fails. And the solution to fix the problem is always more money. I am not that kind of consultant. 

And yet people fear me. 

I’m in the advice business, you pay me for my expertise. I believe that workers don’t want to get hurt and your systems are supposed to hurt them. I look to find the system flaws that cause injuries and you’d be surprised how simple, obvious, and cheap they are to fix. 

But people fear me. 

When I arrive the reaction is either the disingenuous sickeningly welcome “gee whiz,boy do we love safety” or out-and-out hostility.  People hide things from me. People make lame excuses for things I don’t care about.

People fear me. 

Well…that’s not entirely true; people fear the safety interloper. It doesn’t matter that I am there to help them identify and mitigate risks that could maim, cripple, or kill them. They would rather dance a polka with the angel of death than cooperate with the safety consultant. 

It makes it tough to do my job. Many of you make it tough to do my job by being safety cops. 

When people hide from us we can’t do our jobs. Is this who we want to be?

It must be, at least for some of you, because so many of you reinforce the idea that the safety guy is the de facto parent for the orphan children laboring in malicious obedience waiting to be chastised by the stern taskmaster.

I never revealed this publicly, but the inspiration for my first book, I Know My Shoes Are Untied…Mind Your Own Business is from an incident that I experienced before I even got INTO safety. I was a consultant to one of the Big Three, (I won’t name names because even though it was over 30 years ago my boss tends to throw a hissy fit at the mere idea that I suggest that a customer or potential customer is anything less than perfect). I was tasked with transforming a failing plant into what would later be dubbed a “focused factory”.  So I walked out onto the plant floor, where an emotionally constipated safety man would look at me and give me a stern look and say, “the next time I see you with your shoes untied I’m putting you out of the plant.” I can clearly remember the exact location where he told me that, a scant six feet from an induction hardener. I went out that night and bought loafers (steel-toed was required at that point).  

I walked by that induction hardener wearing a metal watch and a metal belt buckle multiple times a day.  The safety bad-ass said nothing. He had won his war of wills by making me buy new shoes. I hope it made him feel tough, like the cop he always wanted to be. As I walked by the induction hardener I said hi to the operator, we were friendly but not really friends—we never had a beer together, and while I knew he was married with kids, I couldn’t tell you now or then their names or ages.  But I liked him, and I enjoyed passing the time of day with him several times a day (he was on the main aisle at the base of the stairs so our paths crossed a lot.)

One day, a couple of months after my untied shoes incident, my friend was killed when the high intensity electricity used in induction hardening arced off the machine and connected to his wedding ring.  I hope he didn’t suffer. He was likely dead instantly, but I always wonder about those last moments of his life. I also think that it could have just as easily have been me, the killer bolt of electricity could have just as easily arced to my belt or my watch.  This senseless horrific tragedy could have been prevented, but instead the safety cop was more worried about my shoes being tied. For the record, my friend died with his shoes tied; I hope that brings the stupid sonofabitch safety cop some peace, because it haunts me every single day for the last 30 years.

Some of you like the idea of being the tough guy, the safety champion, the person unafraid to get into a grown person’s face and tell them what’s what.  Get out of safety. People will only agree with you to your face and return to unsafe behavior as soon as you leave. You will have taught the person nothing more than that you are a self-important mouth breather who thinks you’re smarter and more powerful than him or her, and he or she will despise you. 

Unless you learn to respect people, treat them as equals, and persuade them by providing them good information that they can use to make better choices about the risks that they take you are doomed to fail.  Maybe people should fear us after all.

I am proud to announce the hard launch by Marriah Publishing of my second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention.  This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

I should warn you, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights.The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence.  But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is pepper with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) 

Of course, my first book is still for sale, and you might rightly ask yourself, why on God’s green Earth would I read a book that contains previously released material? Simple, like the rain-forest and the polar bears my work is disappearing from the web very quickly.  All but a handful of my works for Facility Management Magazine is gone, and you can basically only go back 2 years on my blog (8 year’s worth of my work that ranges in quality from magnificent to mindless dreck.) And besides, about a third of the book is new material that cannot be found anywhere else. So buy it. It will teach you, entertain you, and make you want to read more it can be ordered here I Know My Shoes Are Untied. Mind Your Own Business or on Barnes & Noble.com.