In early August, the EERC’s Assistant Director for Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), Christin Fine, and Environmental and Chemical Safety Manager, Chris Rash, attended the 40th annual College and University Hazardous Materials Management Conference (CUHMMC). Christin presented on creating a positive, employee-engaged safety culture in a work environment. According to conference evaluations, this was rated the top presentation over the 5-day conference. She received the largest number of ratings and comments at CUHMMC.
Christin’s presentation included a detailed strategy on how to create compliance and reduce the risks of hazards to employees and the environment through the 3 Cs: Coaching, Communication, and Collaboration. Using this strategy, one can create a positive, employee-engaged safety culture.
Coaching – Christin went over the seven questions to ask to create learning moments. These questions are based off Michael Bungay Stainer’s book The Coaching Habit. As it relates to safety, these questions create an opportunity for open communication and collaboration about safe practices.
Communication – Christin also discussed why the words you choose matter for EHS. For example, rather than saying, “We’re conducting EHS inspections and audits,” try saying “We’re conducting an EHS area review.” Instead of “violation,” use the term “action item.” The purpose of the message is the same; all that has changed is the psychological connection for initiation.
Collaboration – Finally, she emphasized the importance of allowing employees to participate in safety together. Talk through what hazards are present together and create an opportunity to learn and improve.
Collectively, these strategies help create a positive and compliant safety culture. The EERC’s EHS Team has created an outstanding safety culture through offering guidance, developing and implementing training, and ensuring the health and safety of EERC employees and visitors. We are extremely proud of our employees for promoting our first Core Value, Be Safe, and putting it into practice every day.