<![CDATA[Argo Extractive Solutions - Blog]]>Thu, 18 Feb 2021 03:20:17 +1100Weebly<![CDATA[Is your workplace mentally healthy?]]>Sun, 07 Feb 2021 13:00:00 GMThttp://argoes.com.au/blog/is-your-workplace-mentally-healthy​Mental health issues are as common in the Mining, Construction and Crushing & Screening Industries as they are in the wider community. Worldwide, one in five people experience mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. There are issues specific to our industries that can exacerbate Mental Health problems and hinder the recognition and acknowledgment of them. Mental health issues can impact workplace safety, the wellbeing of employees and reduce productivity. 

What is mental health?

The World Health Organisation states that good mental health is a state of wellbeing, whereby an individual can work productively, cope with the stresses of everyday life, contribute and realise their potential. However, for many of us, factors can impact on this and at some stage during our lives we experience problems that affect our mental health.
An example of anxiety from Beyond Blue:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD_7e-4a_s4

What affects mental health?

Stress
​ 

We all feel stress at times, and some stress is good to motivate us to achieve and overcome things, which can give us a sense of accomplishment and resilience. However, when stressors move from being challenges to a being a threat, this can elicit stronger stress responses and potentially anxiety and even depression. Ongoing chronic stress can affect both the physical and mental health of a person. 

Stress comes in many shapes and forms and is different for everyone, for many arises when a close friend or loved one passes, after an accident, after an injury or due to health concerns. Social factors can also cause stress; financial problems and family issues such as breakups or domestic violence can significantly impact a person’s mental health.

Workplace issues and stress

Fatigue

Within the workplace, fatigue can be a factor in developing mental health issues. Fatigue may be a result of shift work, long hours, or personal issues and can affect the overall wellbeing of an individual.

Bullying

Bullying in the workplace can affect people in many ways. ‘Workplace bullying is repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards an employee or group of employees that creates a risk to health and safety’ (Headsup.org.au). It can cause stress and anxiety, a feeling of isolation which may lead to depression, physical injuries, concentration problems, loss of a person’s self-confidence and many other health effects. 

Some bullying behaviours may include:
  • Belittling, abusive or offensive language, particularly in front of others
  • Unreasonable criticism
  • Deliberately withholding information to prevent someone doing their job
  • Spreading rumours and lies
  • Excluding and isolating someone from work activities
  • Hazing
  • Playing mind games
  • Intimidation
  • Abusing their power 

The following are not examples of bullying as stated by (https://www.headsup.org.au/supporting-others/workplace-bullying) :
  • setting realistic and achievable performance goals, standards and deadlines
  • fair and appropriate rostering and allocating working hours 
  • transferring someone to another area of the organisation/business or role for operational reasons
  • deciding not to select a worker for promotion where a reasonable process is followed
  • informing a person about their unsatisfactory work performance in an honest, fair and constructive way
  • informing someone of their unreasonable behaviour in an objective and confidential way
  • implementing organisational changes or restructuring
  • taking disciplinary action, including suspension or terminating employment where appropriate or justified in the circumstances.
The result of bullying from the Department of Justice and Community Safety (VIC): https://youtu.be/f_YcOKCiq0w

Alcohol and Drugs

This can apply to both work and home life. One of the consequences of alcohol and drugs can be mental health issues. It is important to recognise mental health, no matter the cause.

FIFO and isolated work environments

Research has shown that workers who fly-in and fly-out for work are at greater risk of mental health issues. FIFO requires the worker to work in locations distant from their usual place of residence, often in camps where food and lodgings are provided. The worker is away from family and friends for extended periods, which can also place strain and stress on the partners and family at home. 

The long hours, FIFO and stressful high risk jobs of the Mining Industry can create an environment where mental health problems can emerge. These issues are not only troubling for the individuals but they can also impact other employees and the overall business. A reduction in staff morale, an increase in absenteeism and a reduction in productivity can be related to mental health issues in the workplace. It is in the best interest of the Mining Industry and respective workplaces, that a culture of acceptance and support of those struggling with mental illness is developed. 

​What do we need to make a mentally healthy workplace?

‘Mentally healthy workplaces are those that people look forward to attending, are open to individuals’ needs, and where employees and managers are flexible and supportive of each other’ The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC Chairman, beyondblue.

A mentally healthy workplace from Heads up (Beyond Blue)! https://youtu.be/qHauSSaNWck

Businesses and leaders should develop the following attributes within the workplace:
  1. Develop policies, risk management processes and plans to provide structure and direction for a mentally healthy workplace
  2. Educate staff from all levels of business on mental health and promote mental health awareness and acceptance
  3. Leaders and management will need to consider the way in which tasks are done and the time frame they should be completed in. This may affect workload management and the way the job is designed.
  4. Foster and develop a culture that is trusting and respectful, with opportunities for one-to-one feedback
  5. Encourage a healthy balance between work and life
  6. Support and encouragement of mentoring, coaching or buddy systems to develop skills and provide assistance
  7. Show employees their value and encourage contribution to aspects of the business
  8. Provide an environment that does not tolerate bullying in any form
  9. Ensure privacy of any worker’s mental health status unless the worker has consented
  10. Encourage good physical health
 

How can we help ourselves and others? “It ain’t weak to speak” - LIVIN

While a mentally healthy workplace is a collaborative effort between management leaders and staff, the following are suggestions that can help individuals help themselves and others:
  • Encourage and start discussions about mental health
  • Be respectful and supportive of other people and their differences and educate yourself on mental health and be open to learning and listening
  • Speak up if you see anyone being harassed, bullied or discriminated against
  • Work with your company’s policies and procedures and support any initiatives around mental health in the workplace (what does this mean??) 
  • Learn and educate yourself on mental health
  • Promote kindness
  • Respect people’s privacy
  • Learn and understand how your workplace can support you 

Conclusion

Providing a mentally healthy workplace requires a collaboration between workers and management. The workplace is always changing, and this will be an ongoing process requiring continuous improvement and commitment in order to be maintained. Not only does this strategy protect and benefit workers, it ‘enhances an organisation’s reputation as an employer of choice.’ (WA, Dept. Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety 2019, Code of Practice – Mentally healthy workplaces for FIFO). It also improves productivity which is better for the business’s bottom line.

We spend such a large part of our life at work, ideally that would be in an environment we want to be in. A place where workers want to work and are engaged, motivated and supported. Hopefully this is then carried out into the wider community, improving the quality of life for workers’ families as well.

Useful tools


For businesses
 
Heads up is an initiative by Beyond Blue to create mentally healthy workplaces. You are able to join Heads up and receive up to date news and developments regarding mental health in the workplace. They also provide; tools to develop action plans, educational resources, information on legislation and responsibilities and help you make your workplace more productive, which will ultimately improve you bottom line.
https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/bl1256-booklet---creating-a-mentally-healthy-workplace.pdf?sfvrsn=4

The Black Dog Institute also has a workplace program and toolkit to help business’s become mentally healthier. It is also a researched based Institute that is focused on implementing findings from the research, to produce better health opportunities for people with mental illness.

MateCheck is a responsive, technology-enabled health, wellbeing and safety platform that bridges a crippling gap for employees who need support, but have no access to a solution. The beauty of MateCheck is how easy we’ve made it to access — employees can interact through their smartphones or tablets. What’s more, this unique technology also gives them access to support from MateCheck’s expert psychologists and health professionals, or your chosen EAP provider.’ 

‘The MateCheck platform gains a temperature pulse of the mental health and wellbeing within the workplace in real time. Our platform also screens for potential risk, both for the individual and the organisation. This includes areas such as fatigue, depression and excessive stress. This is achieved by asking employees to rate themselves on a consistent basis in five key areas relating to stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue and overall wellbeing.’
 
For individuals

Heads up also has resources for individuals who are dealing with, or supporting people who have mental health issues.

LIVIN #itaintweaktospeak is an organisation focussed on taking the stigma out of mental health. They promote encouraging people to talk about and open up about mental health.  Through their merchandise, education programs and community involvement they aim to start the conversation and make this happen.
 
The Black dog institute is ‘recognised as a pioneer in the identification, prevention and treatment of mental illness, and the promotion of wellbeing.’ (The Black Dog Institute) The website has many tools and resources to assist anyone dealing with mental health issues. 

Is an online free personal self-help toolkit, run by The Black Dog Institute to help with mental health issues. 

Mining Family Matters is a support network for mining families providing professional support and resources to help families cope with the challenges of FIFO. 

The happiness trap website includes some self-help tools for managing mental health, it gives a different perspective on developing a more meaningful life.

The Big picture (Research and Policies)

Blueprint for Mental Health and Wellbeing – NSW Mining (NSW Minerals Council)
http://www.nswmining.com.au/NSWMining/media/NSW-Mining/Publications/NSW-Mining-Blueprint-for-Mental-Health-and-Wellbeing.pdf
Inquiry into mental illness in fly-in, fly-out workers – Beyond Blue
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/docs/default-source/policy-submissions/bw0301-beyondblue-fifo-submission_2014.pdf?sfvrsn=0
Improving employee mental health and wellbeing in the mining industry - International Council of mining & metals
https://www.icmm.com/en-gb/case-studies/improving-employee-mental-health-and-wellbeing
Impact of FIFO work arrangements on the mental health and wellbeing of FIFO workers – WA Mental Health Commission September 2018
https://www.transformativeworkdesign.com/fifo-mental-health
Guidance about mental health and wellbeing – Government of Western Australia Department of Mines Industry Regulation and Safety
http://www.dmp.wa.gov.au/Safety/Guidance-about-mental-health-and-7076.aspx
People and communities – Mental health and wellbeing in the workplace – The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia
https://www.cmewa.com/policy-and-publications/policy-areas/people-and-communities/effective-workplace-wellbeing-strategies
WA, Dept. Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety 2019, Code of Practice – Mentally healthy workplaces for FIFO
http://www.dmp.wa.gov.au/Documents/Safety/MSH_MHW_FIFO_COP.pdf
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<![CDATA[Case Study - Controlling the dust with a Mobile Dust Suppression Trailer]]>Thu, 07 Jan 2021 06:35:06 GMThttp://argoes.com.au/blog/january-07th-2021

Polo Citrus turned on during crushing - Footage from a 3 min video

“Over the past 12 months, 344 people were reported to have been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease and more than 100 with silicosis. Where workplace exposure is the cause, I want these numbers to head towards zero.” said Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson

Consequently, new laws have been passed by the  NSW government regarding dust exposure.
Regulatory bodies including local councils, EPA and WorkSafe Australia are targeting construction and mining to ensure that the new legislation for dust control is being implemented. The EPA continued their ‘Bust the Dust’ campaign in Spring this year. ‘Operation Bust the Dust involves frequent inspections of mines on hot, dry and windy days, to check that extra controls are in place at the mines to minimise dust.’ 

The EPA have fined some businesses $15000-$30000 for dust pollution related offences in 2019 and 2020. Local Governments in some areas have task forces to ensure minimal impact to the community from construction. They have the power to issue Direction notices and on the spot fines. Protecting the local communities and ensuring the work can continue and is not stopped by complaints is an essential part of working successfully in built up areas. ​

Can you afford not to control dust on your site?

THE IMPORTANCE OF USING THE RIGHT DUST SUPPRESSION

Silica dust is harmful when inhaled into your lungs. As it is 100 times smaller than a grain of sand, you can be breathing it in without knowing.’ 

That is quite a dramatic quote, but the reality is exposure to dusts in the construction and mining industries can cause serious problems, hence the current legislation and regulation changes. It is well known that it can be short term, causing vision hazards onsite and respirable problems or long-term causing irreversible lung damage.

A Polo Citrus Dust suppression trailer is like an insurance policy for your business:
  • It can protect you from fines from governing bodies due to dust levels exceeding current legislation
  • It can protect your workers and machinery from accidents on the ground due to vision hazards caused by dust
  • Most importantly it can protect your staff and communities from health issues caused by inhaling dust.

Picture
POLO CITRUS FOAM TURNED ON TO CONTROL THE DUST

MOBILE CRUSHING in a SYDNEY INDUSTRIAL AREA

​Our case study was conducted on an Industrial site in Wetherill Park, the day was a warm 25C with the wind picking up in the afternoon. The contractor Sydney Crushing and Screening had at least 3000 tonnes of concrete, comprising of industrial building slab and footings which needed to be recycled. The concrete required significant preparation work through pulverising to break it down into smaller pieces. These were then fed by excavator into The Keestrack R3 recirc Impact Crusher with magnets and belt scales. The R3 handled the product really well and crushed it down to a -60mm product, however, a significant by-product of this process was large amounts of airborne dust.

The Mobile Polo Citrus Dust Suppression unit was commissioned in under half an hour, which included driving the trailer into position, fitting the water to the trailer and attaching the spray bar to the hopper of the crusher. The air compressor was started and the remote was used to start the mixing chambers to produce the foam. The water pressure and the Polo Citrus solution was adjusted to produce the most effective shaving cream like consistency.

A dust monitor was used to conduct real time monitoring to measure the dust levels in the crushing area. It must be noted that we have no environmental science qualifications, and this case study was conducted following TSI Dustrak guidelines. Any deductions and inferences made as a result of this dust monitoring should be retested and followed up by qualified scientists in this field, for further explanations on Dust please take a look at our eBook. Further definitions of PM (Particulate matter) can be found on the EPA website.

POLO CITRUS FOAM IMPACTS DUST LEVELS 
Comparison of Dust Particle Levels

This Case Study was conducted to give an indication of the effectiveness of the Mobile Dust Suppression Trailer using Polo Citrus. We used the DustTrak DRX Aerosol Monitor – Handheld. The DustTrak monitor is able to measure aerosol concentrations in relation to PM10, PM2.5 and PM1 or respirable size fractions. We conducted 10 x 1 min samples of the air quality at various times during the afternoon. The best and worst results are displayed in the following graphs.

The above graph shows the total dust particle concentration (Including PM10, PM2.5 and PM1 or respirable size fractions) for two different monitoring periods of 1 minute. One monitoring period had the Polo citrus foam turned on and the other turned off. It is obvious to see that the Polo citrus foam was able to reduce the amount of dust particles in the air to a level that barely registered on this graph.


The start of the video shows how dusty the site was when the crushing was in process without the Polo Citrus foam turned on. The graph breaks down the PM (Particulate matter) sizes from PM1, PM2.5, PM4, PM10. 

The PM1, PM2.5 and PM4 have similar concentration levels and are difficult to distinguish on the chart as they overlap. They were all evident in the results. The levels are well above the workplace exposure standard (WES) for silica which is 0.05mg/m3 (eight-hour time-weighted average), inhalable dust 10mg/m3 and respirable dust 5mg/m3
The photograph above shows the site with the POLO CITRUS Trailer Foam turned ON. The graph breaks down the PM (Particulate matter) sizes from PM1, PM2.5, PM4, PM10. 

The PM1, PM2.5, PM4 and PM10 have similar concentration levels and are difficult to distinguish on this chart as they overlap. They were all evident with the results all falling well under 5mg/m3.


Dust Particle Levels below 1mg/m3 when Polo Citrus foam is turned ON

The graph has had changes to the vertical AXIS with Dust particle concentration showing all under .08mg/m3 instead of 50mg/m3. This graph is then able to demonstrate the different concentration levels for the different particle sizes. Note all the Dust particle concentration levels are less than 1mg/m3 and the smaller particles all fall under .05mg/m3.

It is clear that the Dust Suppression Trailer will help to meet the government regulations and legislation regarding dust suppression, as the levels shown above in the dust monitoring results showed the levels fell well within these guidelines. In doing so it will protect workers and communities from dust exposure, whilst improving vision around the crushing plant and protect machinery from the hazards of dust.

Sydney Crushing and Screening were very happy with the product and results and is looking to use the trailer on other jobs in the future. The Polo Citrus foam allowed him to keep production up to 150 tonnes an hour, with high levels of efficiency at dust reduction. Dale said “When the concrete was wet with water only, it cut production back to 65 tonnes an hour”.
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<![CDATA[4 STEPS TO IMPROVING SAFETY CULTURE IN THE EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY - Part 3]]>Fri, 11 Sep 2020 10:12:29 GMThttp://argoes.com.au/blog/4-steps-to-improving-safety-culture-in-the-extractive-industry-part-3
STEP 4 – Develop a plan to implement changes to the company’s safety culture
Now that the desired company culture has been identified and analysed, a number of steps can align and manage these changes. These can be part of the implementation process, start with 1 or 2 in each step and build on this over time to achieve the desired results.

  1. Align the company values, vision and goals with strategies and processes: If the performance vision is to prioritise safety this can be achieved by revising strategies, systems, policies and procedures, so that the employees have access to all the information required to improve safety. Also align this with HR processes and the selection processes for hiring new talent, inhouse performance management and promotion.
  2. Involve stakeholders in defining SMART goals: For the areas that require improvement or new thinking set goals, create new plans and approaches as a team to support the behaviour that is needed. Finally, work together and set goals on ways to support existing behaviours that the business would like to continue and develop further.  
  3. Measure and report on performance: People need to know what is required from them and how it will be measured and reported. This gives them something concrete to aim for and provides a guide for actions and achievements. 
  4. Develop a Communication plan: A communication plan outlines who you need to communicate with, how you should do this, about what and how often. An excellent example of a stakeholder communications plan is by SPARC sporting body in NZ and could be adapted to any business.
  5. Use feedback and recognition to build motivation: Welcome feedback; both positive and negative and share and celebrate any positive changes. When changes haven’t been successful, re-connect and re-engage stakeholders and negotiate adjustments. Employees work best when they feel valued, have a purpose and can make an impact on something and usually respond to recognition and reward when it considers who they are.


Employing the right people in the extractive industry
If you have made the change toward developing a positive safety culture within your business, then ideally you want to employ new recruits whose values align with the company culture you want to achieve.
 
Workplace values and their importance
By now you have a good understanding of the values and culture you are aiming towards or have already developed. These are the company’s guiding principles and determine the behaviours that are valued and the ones that are not.
 
They might include:
  • Working together
  • Completing deadlines
  • Looking out for your workmates and ensuring safety guidelines are followed
  • Honesty and respect
  • Reliability
  • Being a team member
  • Ensuring safety over speed
  • Showing tolerance
  • Respecting company policy and procedure
  • Following company guidelines
  • Being accountable 
 
This builds a common purpose when values are aligned, and everyone is working towards the company achieving its core vision.
“When values are out of alignment, people work towards different goals, with different intentions, and with different outcomes. This can damage work relationships, productivity, job satisfaction, and creative potential.” 
 
How to identify potential employees that will best fit the company’s values and culture
 
When looking for new staff, you need to learn what behaviours and attitudes they value in the workplace. People can be trained to learn new skills or gain further experience; however, it can be challenging and disruptive to get employees to change their values.
 
While many businesses have a HR department that is skilled finding the right people for the job, many smaller businesses don’t have that luxury. It is useful to gain some understanding on how to find people who are a good fit for your business. 
 
Asking the right questions
 
You could ask questions like these:
  • Describe a time when you had to work with a wide variety of people. How did you go about identifying and understanding their points of view? How did you adapt your own working style to work more effectively with these people? What was the outcome?
  • Has there ever been a time when your beliefs clashed with someone else’s on your team? If so, how did you overcome these differences?
 
An article on LinkedIn by Terra Carbert has some great interview questions specifically for safety and are worth a read. 
 
Every company is different and if you have completed the culture web discussed previously you will have a good understanding of where your company culture stands and where you want it to be. It is also a good idea to analyse the characteristics of current and previous staff, including their positive and negative traits. From this, create a list that will support your company culture, and this will provide the framework for structuring the questions to determine the traits you are looking for.

Potential employees work history
Take time to research and find out about the company the candidate previously worked for and what values and reputation they have. Consider this with an open mind and why the candidate left the job, perhaps it was because the culture was not a good fit.
 
Ask questions relating to the employee’s values when talking to the candidate’s references. Consider how they respond to management and rules, follow safety guidelines, and worked as part of a team.
 

The new company culture!
Changing the company culture takes time, commitment, planning and hard work. The benefits, however, are far reaching and influence most aspects of the business. It can be financially; through better production, less sick leave and injury, utilisation of best practices and processes which all affect the bottom line. A good company culture develops good morale with people working together towards common goals. The company often becomes recognised as an employer of choice and attracts further great talent. Additionally, if the company culture is healthy than staff turnover is usually lower. 
 
The new culture ideally would have:  
At the end of the day we want people to buy into a safety culture to keep them safe, reduce injuries, prevent exposure and damage from chemicals and dust and have everyone return home each day safely to their families.

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<![CDATA[4 STEPS TO IMPROVING SAFETY CULTURE IN THE EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY - Part 2]]>Fri, 11 Sep 2020 10:01:37 GMThttp://argoes.com.au/blog/4-steps-to-improving-safety-culture-in-the-extractive-industry-part-2 ​How to improve company culture in the extractive industry
 
A lot of advice on how to improve safety within businesses suggests that changes to company culture need to be made in order for this to happen, but they don’t provide the details on how to actually do this. This is easy to say but not so easy to implement, and it is necessary to refer to experts and research to develop the structure and plan to make this process successful. The following model devised by Johnson and Scholes is the Cultural Web Model and it is very useful in devising a plan for tackling the business culture and developing change.
These six elements have been called the Paradigm, that is the model or pattern of the work environment. The model involves looking at the organisational culture now, how you would like the culture to be, and finally identifying the gaps between the two and working on these to implement the changes.
The cultural web diagram for changing business culture
The Cultural Web Diagram
STEP 1 – Analyse the current culture in your extractive business
In order to analyse the current culture, the following questions need to be asked across the whole organisation, including customers and stakeholders.
 
Myths and stories
  • What stories are being told about the organisation?
  • What stories are being told to new recruits?
  • What is communicated about the company’s reputation to customers and stakeholders?
  • What is being told about the history of the company?
 
Examples (Mobile Crushing business):
  • They are big on safety but then they don’t seem to worry about using stepladders to work above 1.8m and they don’t have any guarding around some of the machines
  • All the paperwork is in place, but people aren’t following it and it is not addressed
  • Repairs need to be completed quickly and sometimes shortcuts are taken
 
Symbols
  • How is the company perceived by clients, staff and management?
  • What images are associated with the company?
  • How is the company advertised?
  • Are there any status symbols used?
 
Examples:
  • All vehicles have signwriting and are late model
  • All have company shirts
  • The office is well appointed and gives a very good first impression
  • The branding is well co-ordinated, and people often think the company is bigger than it is
 
Power Structures
  • Who holds the real power within the business?
  • Who has influence over the company’s decision makers?
  • What are the beliefs about the leaders within the company?
  • How is the power used within the organisation?
 
Example:
  • The manager has a lot of say in decisions outside of his branch
  • It takes a long time for decisions to be made including repairs to machinery 
  • People not in the direct management line know about other people’s private business
 
Organisation Structures
  • How is the structure organised, is it a hierarchal or flat structure?
  • Is the authority delivered formally or informally?
  • Are there formal or informal lines of authority?
 
Example:
  • Hierarchal structure – Owner, Branch Manager, Operators, Mechanics, Reception.
  • The administration officer is the owner's wife, so she doesn’t always follow the procedures for approval
  • There is little teamwork, often mechanics are pitted against each other and they don’t share tools or supplies.
 
Control Systems
  • Which processes are the strongest and which are the weakest?
  • Is the company loosely or tightly controlled?
  • Are employees rewarded for good performance or punished for poor work?
  • Is there reports and processes used to control operations such as finance etc.?
 
Examples:
  • A lot of spreadsheets are used, and it is hard to track data sometimes as it is not all in one place
  • Getting the job done as quickly as possible is desired and at the lowest cost.
 
Rituals and Routines
  • What do customers experience and expect from the organisation?
  • What do employees expect when they arrive each day?
  • What would happen if a particular routine was changed?
  • Do these routines encourage particular behaviours?
  • If there was a new problem what rules would be applied?
  • What organisational beliefs do these rituals and routines reflect?
 
Examples:
  • Large corporate customers wined and dined other customers spoken badly about
  • Employees expect to be monitored on their whereabouts through GPS tracking
  • There's lots of talk about money, and especially about how to get things done quickly and cheaply.
  • Masks are available for dust suppression, but most don’t wear them, and no other dust control measures seem to be in place

STEP 2 – Analyse the ideal culture!
Once this data is collected and the current cultural web is completed and recorded, it is necessary to put together another cultural web reflecting what the company would like the culture to be.
 
STEP 3 – Identify the differences between the companies two cultural webs
When identifying the gaps or differences between the two cultural webs, it is important to consider the company’s strategic aims and objectives.
 
The following questions should be asked:
  • What strengths were identified in the current culture of the business?
  • What aspects of the current culture are not aligned with the company’s objectives and strategies?
  • What characteristics of the current culture are harmful to the productivity of the business?
  • What characteristics of the current culture would you like to encourage and see continue?
  • What new behaviours and values does the company need to promote?
 
Put these together in table in the attached Template to create the framework!

Check out Part 3 of this blog for more tips on how to change the safety culture.

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<![CDATA[4 STEPS TO IMPROVING SAFETY CULTURE IN THE EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY - Part 1]]>Tue, 08 Sep 2020 10:43:31 GMThttp://argoes.com.au/blog/september-08th-2020Picture
​How to get employees to buy into the company’s safety program? In an ideal world, all our employees would use common sense, be accountable, look out for each other, look after machinery and work towards common goals –a ‘shared sense of purpose and shared alignment to the mission’ (Navy Seal culture). 

Most people are willing and capable of doing this in the right environment. We all know that it is important to have a company culture that supports employees and empowers them, so how do we actually create this? What happens if you have provided training, have policies and procedures in place, your management are onboard but some of your staff are still not following safety guidelines? We aim to give you some practical tips on how to create a more effective culture in your business. 
 
The impact of workplace injuries and diseases 
Fortunately, research shows that companies that create a culture of safety in the workplace have demonstrated a reduction in workplace illness and injury by up to 40%. 
This is significant as workplace injury and illness obviously affects a company’s bottom line. The cost to the Australian community, employers and workers, according to Safe Work Australia, is shown in the figure below. 


The importance of creating a great company culture with a focus on safety

A company’s workplace culture is vital in influencing the organisation’s production output and safety protocol. You can have all the right systems in place but without the right culture in your organisation, you can run into resistance and lack of buy-in to procedures and policies. A positive workplace culture recognises that staff need to know they are supported; which training, systems and structure will provide. With clear guidelines and intent that is well articulated, employees can become more autonomous, rather than being micromanaged. Employees work best when they feel valued, have a purpose and can make an impact on something and usually respond to recognition and reward when it considers who they are - their likes and interests. 
 
The employer and management also need to demonstrate the company values and beliefs regarding safety, it is not just enough to write policies and guidelines - they must lead by example. For example, the employees need to be sure that it is a priority for management to value safety over speed.
 
DHL Express are considered a leader in creating a positive workplace culture. The following article is worth a read to gain some insight into how they went about this. 

Disney is also considered to have a great work culture and they attribute much of their success to the engagement of their employees. They are known for genuinely showing that the company values and cares for their employees. 
 
Why employees ignore safety guidelines
It is useful to look at why employees do not respond to safety guidelines and take risks. It is important to get to the root of the problems and understand the assumptions and values that are in place to create this work environment. As stated in Hazmat School
It could be related to the following:
  • They don’t believe safety measures are important to their superiors.
  • They feel invincible after having done a task so many times without incident.
  • They assume cutting a safety corner here or there won’t be enough to get them hurt.
  • They are in a hurry and believe speed is more important than safety.
  • They are unaware of hazards because they lack proper training.
 
What is required is a shift in these beliefs and values before the culture will change. As a manager or employer, you might be saying to yourself that you do all the right things, provide training, policies and procedures, and the staff know that they need to follow the safety guidelines, yet it still doesn’t happen.

Interestingly, a study by Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield showed that many companies display significant discrepancies between the company culture that management want, and think is in place, compared to how the employees see the company culture.
 
“They found while leaders say they want innovation, initiative, candour and teamwork; what employees feel is really valued, is obedience, predictability, deference to authority and competition with peers. Employees say their leaders hype one set of behaviours but reward another.” ​    

Check out Part 2 of this blog for tips on how to change the safety culture.
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