SafelyWorking…Do It All The Time!

The recent American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Region VII New England area chapters’ Professional Development Conference was a jam-packed event with an enthusiastic mixed crowd of seasoned and young safety professionals. It was exciting to see the future of the safety world eager to learn from the older generation of safety professionals and to share their new ideas and technologies.
The young safety professionals found one exhibit especially intriguing: Dave Shafer’s The Safely Working Project and Safe 6 booth. Shafer has more than 30 years’ experience in the workplace safety world for which he’s produced effective training solutions to make workplaces safer and more worker-friendly and to increase productivity and improve companies’ bottom line.

The Safely Working Project is one such solution. It is a framework for building and maintaining a positive workplace culture of “safely working 100 percent of the time.” According to Shafer, the seed of The Safely Working Project is found in the OSHA HAZWOPER standard at 29 CFR 1910.120(e)(2)(iv), which states, “Training shall thoroughly cover … work practices by which the employee can minimize risks from hazards.”

The Project is an approach to workplace safety that is driven by employees and supervisors. Its mission is to develop and provide simple, sensible guidance and knowledge to supervisors and employees.

The Project is composed of six significant elements:
1.Safely Working Environment—sensible care
2.Safely Working Activities—tasks and conditions that may be dangerous
3.Safely Working Skills—Safe 6
4.Safely Working Communication—training
5.Safely Working Supervisions—safely supervising
6.Safely Working Knowledge Base—supervisor resource

Shafer focused on the Safe 6 concept at the ASSE conference. Safe 6 is the core model of The Safely Working Project—specifically, defining and providing a framework for “Safely Working Skills,” or safe work practices. It is this sensible structure that facilitates practical and effective employee training by supervisors.

Safe 6, by its design, is self-defining. Each step in Safe 6 can be applied to any task. One step may be more relevant than another, but they all still apply. These are the Safe 6 simple steps necessary to safely complete a job or task:

Recognize all the dangers—Know the task.
Identify all the activities and conditions associated with the task.
2.Prepare and organize the workplace—Get everything needed.
Gather everything needed to complete the task, including tools, materials, personal protective equipment (PPE). Review task-specific operating procedures and guidelines.
3.Inspect and check all equipment—Eliminate the unexpected.
Complete an inspection, review past regular inspections.
4.Control conditions and eliminate hazards—Make it safe.
Clear work space of unneeded materials, equipment, and other possible obstructions.
5.Operate and complete task skillfully—The Do’s.
Avoid distractions, focus on the task.
6.Guard against mishaps—The Don’ts.
Know about all emergency switches, alarms, communications, evacuation routes, spill supplies, fire extinguishers, first-aid stations, emergency showers, and eyewashes.

According to Shafer, an employee who knows and understands Safe 6 will be more likely to recall or identify specific needs and requirements necessary to conduct the task. Safe 6’s benefits include that it intuitively defines training objectives and highlights the information and practices to be included in a safety meeting or training session.

“Safe 6 will be the solution because it will be part of the vocabulary of the workplace. The Safe 6 Brief—which is built using the 6 steps—for a specific job will be front and center, not a checklist or toolbox talk that only comes out during obligatory safety meetings. That’s why we say ‘Safe 6, Do it all the time!’” Shafer said.

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