Okay sorry I haven’t posted

I’ve been working long hours working production safety on a major motion picture and have a book signing Saturday.

Until then

My second in a series on Women CEOs. Read it. Love it. Share it. I am a needy, needy, little man. https://medium.com/authority-magazine/5-things-i-wish-someone-told-me-before-i-became-a-ceo-with-elizabeth-gerbel-of-eag-services-e67bbb061b41?source=friends_link&sk=24db096700186038be97297d9414babc

We Aren’t Gods; We Can’t Control Everything

finger-gesturing-hand-1259327

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

Several weeks back I spoke at ASSP’s Safety 2019 on the topic of Worker Fatigue and Well-Being and today I got my reviews. They were mixed, but I am used to that—I have a polarizing effect on people and you either love me or hate me. But two things I found troubling: 1) While I listed the subject as advanced many found it too basic and 2) several found it lacking when it comes to takeaways.

Now I’ve always believed that there are two types of people who come to my sessions: forward-thinking professionals prepared to have their world view challenged and idiots who wandered into the wrong room, but in this case, some of the criticisms were right on the money. It was basic (mainly because the issue of fatigue is pretty basic: stop working your workers to death and then blaming them for dying) and I didn’t offer any quick fixes (because even if there were any Safety doesn’t have the power, influence, or respect, to implement them.)

I would like to address these here and a larger issue that is becoming a major impediment to working in the Safety Function. First, I rated this as “expert” because, realistically, what can a person with 1-5 years experience do to tackle a system issue—whatever it is? No, in my opinion, something that must be tackled by the C-suite is an expert level presentation, you may disagree, but you would be wrong. Secondly, when it comes to simple takeaways and practical solutions to worker fatigue there just aren’t any. (Again, you can disagree and also be wrong.)

Let’s get the fatigue issue out of the way and then get out of the weeds and look at the bigger problem. “Fatigue is a common problem involving a physical and mental state of being extremely tired. Physical and mental fatigue are different, but they often occur together. Long-term physical exhaustion can also lead to mental fatigue.”—Source Fatigue: Why am I so tired and what can I do about it? Medical News Today. It’s more than being merely being tired which until recent studies most people thought fatigued was synonymous with tired, and it’s cumulative which means that it will continue to build until something gives (usually the health and or safety of the worker). It may sound too basic to say that it is “a central cause of many injuries” but how many of you can honestly say that worker fatigue has shown up as a central cause or contributor in your incident investigations? Put your hands down, we both know you’re full of shit.

Of course, fatigue causes poor decision making, loss of manual dexterity, increased risk-taking, and many more underlying causes of traditional injuries, but we don’t call it fatigue, now do we? We say workers are complacent, or distracted, or even stupid or lazy, but if we say the workers are fatigued what solution do we have? There is a chasm separating fatigued workers and complacent, frustrated, or lazy workers. If we say the workers are any of these things be can blame the workers and we’re off the hook. WE didn’t hire them. WE don’t manage them. So how can anyone expect US to do anything about it? But if we say that the worker is fatigued, our bosses will want a solution, and there is no solution we can implement or even try to implement without looking like simpletons.

It gets worse. Fatigue has been shown to cause:

  • Acute liver failure
  • Anemia
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Cancer
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Chronic infection or inflammation
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Concussion
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) COPD
  • Depression (major depressive disorder)
  • Diabetes
  • Emphysema
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Heart disease
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Medications and treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, pain drugs,
  • heart drugs, and antidepressants
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Obesity
  • Pain that’s persistent
  • Sleep apnea
  • Stress
  • Traumatic brain injury

I’m the first to admit that my research turned up a fairly lengthy and perhaps alarmist (it would appear that fatigue plays a role in everything this side of impotence in sea urchins) but if it really plays a role in one-third of these things shouldn’t we address it?

Except we can’t. At least not at the safety level. A lot of fatigue is caused by things that people do OFF the job. Things like:

  • Sleeping to long
  • Not sleeping long enough
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs
  • Eat like a goat with the munchies
  • Live a sedentary lifestyle

What easy takeaway is there to remedy dangerous and potentially stupid things people do on their own accord? I guess a case could be made for awareness, but many of these people aren’t lacking in the knowledge that this type of behavior is bad for them.

A lot of you dough heads seem to think that organizations see safety as a sacred calling…well it aint. If it was there wouldn’t be so many empty suits running companies or safety directors asking, “what are you doing to make people care?” (By the way, if your boss asks you that answer, “ I push people down the stairs and scream ‘hanging on the handrail doesn’t seem so stupid now does it m@#$%!# f@#$%! now does it?’ and then I laugh maniacally”.)

So to those of you who bitched that my presentation wasn’t a panacea for “curing” fatigue let me just say this. There isn’t one. All we can do is sound the alarm, and that isn’t a very satisfying answer—not for me and not for you. That segues nicely into the bigger problem: we can’t control the bigger, uglier, and most dangerous problems we face in workplace safety. We can’t control workplace violence, high-stress environments, compensation systems that pit worker-against-worker at all levels. These are problems that the executives need to tackle and more importantly fund.  Companies make record profits while their workers jump out the windows.

You want takeaways for dealing with fatigue? listen up screw heads:

  1. Stop shift work. Studies have shown that shift work is a major cause of fatigue and literally takes years off people’s lives. Okay, so what are you going to do about it? Jack and shit. We don’t run the companies and trying to get Operations to refill the first aid kit takes an act of congress so what makes you think we can make a change that is so enormous and so costly? Seriously if you got an answer I’m all ears.
  2. Stop 12-hour shifts. Even a half-hour commute means that an employee is working 13 hours, add to that the time it takes to shower, shave and…pack a lunch and you barely have time to yell at your kid to turn down the music let alone decompress. Fatigue keeps ticking down like a time-bomb.
  3. Restore the five-day workweek. People need work-life balance and without it, they get fatigued and die horribly and prematurely, but before they do they get injured. I believe it’s a defense mechanism. If you drive the machine too hard it breaks down.
  4. Restore the 8 hour day. The pursuit of money has made us diabolical criminals. We are prepared to work people to death LITERALLY so that we can buy…what exactly? The managers blame the executives, the executives blame the stockholders. What happened to morality and decency? Companies make enough money to not only reduce the amount of time a person works but pay the workers MORE. Check your 401K’s before you react in self-righteous indignation you greedy bastards.

This isn’t the only systemic issue that we (and I am not excluding myself here) face in health and safety that we cannot control. But lack of control is no excuse for lack of trying to influence. Every day, nay—every word I write—I risk some impotent mouth breather complaining that I’ve finally gone too far. But at some point, someone out there will finally realize that THEY have to act, that THEY have to think, and THEY will have to screw down their courage and ACT. You can’t just read a book, or post online, or go to a conference you have to get off your lazy asses and DO something. I may not have all the answers, in fact, I DON’T have all the answers but at least I have the courage to ask the questions. This is real life. You can’t sit on the sidelines and cluck your tongues.

John Lennon, in the song, Girl said, “ Did she understand it when they said, that a man must break his back to earn his day of leisure? Will she still believe it when he’s dead?” Well we are facing this now and we have a bunch of lazy boobs looking for a quick fix, well there isn’t one and the Health and Safety function is becoming that in name only.

Alan Ginsberg said, “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,” Well I’ve seen the most feeble minds of my generation rise to prominence in the field of worker safety selling snake-oil, while the greatest minds were chased from the field by close-headed, psychotic, drooling, clinical imbeciles who talk big from anonymous walls of the digital fog but shrivel when confronted in person.

We may not be able to change things with fiats, but we can fight the good fight and try to convince our leaders that working our people to death is wrong, and bad for business. Boss Tweed said, “you can always hire half the poor to kill the other half”, but we can prove him wrong, and I spit on all of you who are too cowardly to even try. Oh, and the hat stays on.

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 rainforest 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.

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.

 

Building A Business Case for Safety

shutterstock_1008058504By Phil La Duke

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

A LinkedIn contact asked me if I could provide some guidance on how to build a business case for safety to, as she put it, shut up some water heads.  I am going to warn you right now I am going to use some words that will make some of you squirm—words like “profit” and “return on investment”. I know for some of you the thought that money spent on safety is simply the right thing to do and talking in terms of costs and money are coarse and dirty. Well, you can stuff that hippy crap and stop reading right now.  The purpose of all organizations is to survive and to survive they have to make money. So if you think that what you spend on safety doesn’t have to show a return you are deluded and don’t have a firm grasp on business or reality.

It’s hard to quantify the cost of safety—I mean you are essentially trying to quantify the absence of all risk—but the Quality Function figured out a solution and came up with the concept of the Cost of Quality (COQ) and have successfully embedded that into the collective business lexicon. COQ is essentially the same thing as the Cost Of Safety (COS) in that we aren’t really putting a price tag on safety, we are putting it on the lack of safety.

shutterstock_145644631Building a business case is easy. First, you calculate the cost of the problem (in the case of safety injuries) and you compare it to the cost of the solution. Next, you calculate how long before the solution solves the problem and stops the cash bleed. So essentially you answer three questions: 1) How much does it cost to continue to do nothing, 2) how much will it cost to fix it, and 3) How long will the cash be encumbered (here’s a tip, a LOT of executives expect a return on investment in three months or less.  

Never mistake a reluctance to invest with indifference. I once had an outraged plant manager scream at the safety professional “when have you ever come to me with a business case for safety and have me turn you down? When you act like a businessman you will get treated like one, but I don’t give out blank checks!” He was right and I liked him from that moment on.

So let’s take a look at the costs of injuries. And to talk about costs I like to use the tired old, clichéd metaphor of an iceberg.  The portion above the water line are the direct costs, and these are easy to see and calculate, while the portion below the water line are indirect costs which are harder to see and even harder to calculate. Another cost above the waterline is a fixed cost, which we will get to in a moment.

Fixed Costs

Fixed costs are the expenditures on things for which you are going to make irrespective of injuries, they include:

  • Safety employee salaries & benefits
  • Medical supplies and floor space
  • MSDS/SDS Sheets
  • Overhead
  • Supplies

These costs are fixed because it really doesn’t matter if you have an excellent record or an abysmal record you have to shell out money for these things.

So you start with the fixed costs, why? Because your executive looks at you with a dollar sign on your face and is always looking for a way to reduce costs. If you bring it up before your executive you gain credibility and diffuse a potentially explosive conversation.

Direct Costs

Never use a multiplier from the National Safety Council or average cost for your industry,  Doing so creates a defensive “that’s not true here” argument. So we avoid all the arguments by calculating the cost of injuries:

  • Cost of incident response
    • Injured worker wage x the time he or she is unproductive (this is a hard figure and difficult to dispute)
    • First responder wage x the time he or she is dealing with the injury
    • Escort’s (the person who will be taking the injured worker to the medical department or clinic) wage x the time it took to travel to the clinic (there and back) 
    • Supervisor wage x time to return to normal
    • Replacement worker wage x the time on the job
    • Cost of lost production
  • Cost of Incident Investigation
    • Injured Worker Wage x hours of investigation (assuming he/she is able to participate
    • Witnesses wages x hours of participation
    • Safety personnel wages x hours of investigation
    • Other participant wages x hours of investigation
  • Cost of reporting
    • Safety wages x time to report
  • Workers’ Compensation claims
    • Cost of claims settled
    • Cost of case management
    • Cost of litigation
  • Fines.

Indirect Costs

 

  • Turnover.  Workers who have witnessed or simply heard about an injury often decide to find employment elsewhere.  You can’t know how much of your turnover is related to safety, however.
  • Morale. Worker injuries sap morale.
  • Loss of Business. An increasing number of companies will not source business to companies with poor safety records.
  • Damage to corporate reputation. Companies spend tens of thousands of dollars paying marketing to increase their reputations, but one high profile injury can destroy any gains made in this area.
  • Higher insurance premiums.  Insurance claims for injuries equal higher premiums or encumbered cash for Workers’ Compensation.
  • Training of replacement workers. In cases where the injured party is off work a prolonged period of time, another worker must be trained to fill in.
  • Loss of productivity.  Nearly all well-run businesses calculate their efficiency and can assign a cost to it.

 

Even these indirect costs can be calculated, although it can be a bit more difficult to do so. What’s more, even if you do manage to calculate the cost of injuries you should be prepared for the dimwits who don’t care.  I had one executive tell me that even at a million dollars injury costs were a drop in the bucket. No, calculating the costs isn’t enough, you need to also translate the cost of injuries into whatever the company cares the most about. So if your company is obsessed with sales you have to say, “to cover the cost of injuries we would have to increase our sales x% just to maintain the status quo,” or if it is production “we would have to build x more tractors just to pay for our injuries.”

By equating it to something that they most care about, you get them to care about the financial impact of injuries and you have taken the philosophic and made it tangible and real.

If you enjoyed this post you probably would enjoy my books.  My second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention.  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 rainforest 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.

Free Book Giveaway Ends Today

The #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: Lone Gunman: Rewriting The Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/6e63564c0d5f92bb NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends today 11:59 PM PDT, if you are a US resident (Amazon‘s requirement not mine) and 18 years of age enter soon and enter often.

Free Book Give Away

The #AmazonGiveaway (for a chance to win: Lone Gunman: Rewriting The Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention.) ends July 6th and would really love to give away all six books, but time is running out!

Please share so I can give out all the prizes. It’s a numbers game so, like voting in Chicago, enter early and often.

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/6e63564c0d5f92bb NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Jul 6, 2019 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.

Open to US residents only, sorry folks

#authors #workersafety #workplacesafety #workplaceviolenceprevention

#workersafety

Four Things Happened in New Orleans Last Week

assorted color mask

Photo by hitesh choudhary on Pexels.com

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

Four things happened in New Orleans last week—well a lot more than four things happened but I only am going to mention four of them.  Event 1: I spoke at the American Society of Safety Professionals about workplace fatigue an audience filled with great people one or two of them who actually enjoyed my speech (spoiler alert: I was one of them).  Event 2: my iPhone 5S finally gave up the ghost, and Event three and four two women were murdered by jealous boyfriends while in the workplace in two separate incidents.

So the fatigue speech was all that I promised because I was certainly suffering from fatigue.  I won’t spoil the surprise (I will be posting the slides and recording when I get it) but sufficed to say after back-to-back weeks of travel, speaking at least once a week for the past month or so I was pretty fatigued BEFORE the waitress at the Acme Bar forgot to bring me my dinner and rather than wait headed out for Hurricanes at Laffitte’s Blacksmith Shop.  Despite the fatigue, I powered through it and delivered what I think most people would consider a decent speech. The one I did in Dublin kind of stunk up the place—I had to follow a guy who basically did a 15-minute infomercial on his company; I mean how can I follow that? I felt like Fred Kaps celebrated magician who followed The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.  Still, of the 14 people crammed into a pipe-and-drape cell, none of them got up and left (owing largely to the fact that you would literally have to physically crawl over people to escape; trust me there were times that I felt like doing just that. My speech lasted 13 minutes but seemed much longer. So by comparison and in its own right, the ASSP speech was better by a good measure.

Also last week, back in New Orleans my phone stopped charging and my wife lost her phone (you can quit looking the Uber driver returned it two days later) leaving us both completely disconnected. I went to an AT&T store on St. Charles that is short-listed as the retailer that provides the worst customer service in the world.  I’m sure they will get it. I ended up not getting a new phone there and feeling like slapping the smirking simpleton who was “servicing me”. If you are in the area stop by and tell them I said “hi”.

Oh and finally, two women were shot and killed (at least that is the word on the street—bigger stories—two women were shot and killed by their estranged boyfriends ironically, this was happening at the same time the person responsible for booking author events turned my PR Manager down cold, saying (of Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook of Workplace Violence) doesn’t sound like something people would be interested in.”

He’s right of course. People don’t care about workplace violence because it won’t happen at their workplace.  And if it DOES happen it’s likely to happen to a woman involved with some jealous jerk that it’s her own fault for dating.  It’s okay if you feel that way, hell lots of people do. It’s okay that you don’t care (caring involves doing something about it and most of you aren’t. You sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to do something, or you don’t want to get involved, or you are just a lazy bastard.)

I know this for certain.  Take for instance two articles I wrote for Entrepreneur, one on automation eliminating jobs Robots are Stealing Our Jobs and the other on domestic violence in the workplace Domestic Violence Is Often the Cause of Workplace Violence  the one about job loss went viral thanks in part to a Democratic contender tweeting it out to his followers and the one about domestic violence basically fell flat.  I get it. Dead women you don’t know just doesn’t mean that much to you, whereas losing your job to a robot means a lot.

So what if one day that woman is your mother, or sister, or your wife? If robots are stealing jobs than these murders are just job openings, right?

I never wanted to write this book. My editor and publisher insisted.  It’s a dark subject and no one wants to talk about it. We all seem to think that this is going to happen somewhere else to someone else’s mother, sister, wife, or daughter.  We shrug and we say, “the problem is too big, what can one person do?” This isn’t global warming or world hunger, this is about YOU doing simple things to predict and prevent workplace violence, protect those at risk, and save lives.

The two women who were murdered in the workplace didn’t even make the national news.  What’s a couple of bodies compared to the loss of tourism? But on the plus side, I did buy a new phone.

Okay, the new book, Lone Gunman Rewriting Workplace Prevention has been out since January, and it’s time to pick up a copy.  I haven’t been pushing it all that hard because owing to a printer’s error it was full of typos that, for once, weren’t mine. Since then every half-wit and snake oil salesmen have pulled together dangerously poor presentations on how to survive workplace violence.  I have attended too many professional development sessions on surviving workplace violence presented by dolts who sound like they are doing a C– fourth-grade book report. If you are a woman, love a woman, were born of a woman, or have wives, sisters, daughters, or mothers who work you should read this book. Or if you are a boss who managed unstable workers you need this book.  Buy an extra copy for your boss. You’ll thank me.

And guess what? My original (in all senses of that word) book I Know My Shoes Are Untied. Mind Your Business: An Iconclast’s View of Worker Safety   continues to sell well, buy one or better yet two. It is directly related to your job duties so expense them both and give one to your boss.  It will him/her good to hear some unvarnished truth. And at $15 bucks you can’t beat the price. 

Buy and Expense 6 Copies of Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention

Why buy six copies? It’s easier just to show you.