Kevin Ian Schmidt
hand and power tool safety plan

Hand and Power Tool Safety Plan

Employees who use hand and power tools and who are exposed to the hazards of falling, flying, abrasive and splashing objects, or exposed to harmful dusts, fumes, mists, vapors, or gases must be provided with the particular personal equipment necessary to protect them from the hazard.

All hazards involved in the use of power tools can be prevented by following five basic safety rules:

  1. Keep all tools in good condition with regular maintenance.
  2. Use the right tool for the job.
  3. Examine each tool for damage before use.
  4. Operate according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Provide and use the proper protective equipment.

Hand and Power Tool Safety Guidelines

Power Tools

Power tools can be hazardous when improperly used. There are several types of power tools, based on the power source they use: electric, pneumatic, liquid fuel, hydraulic, and powder-actuated.

Employees should be trained in the use of all tools – not just power tools. They should understand the potential hazards as well as the safety precautions to prevent those hazards from occurring.

The following general precautions should be observed by power tool users:

  • Never carry a tool by the cord or hose.
  • Never yank the cord or the hose to disconnect it from the receptacle.
  • Keep cords and hoses away from heat, oil, and sharp edges.
  • Disconnect tools when not in use, before servicing, and when changing accessories such as blades, bits and cutters.
  • All observers should be kept at a safe distance away from the work area.
  • Secure work with clamps or a vise, freeing both hands to operate the tool.
  • Avoid accidental starting. The worker should not hold a finger on the switch button while carrying a plugged-in tool.
  • Tools should be maintained with care. They should be kept sharp and clean for the best performance. Follow instructions in the user’s manual for lubricating and changing accessories.
  • Be sure to keep good footing and maintain good balance.
  • The proper apparel should be worn. Loose clothing and jewelry can become caught in moving parts.
  • All portable electric tools that are damaged shall be removed from use and tagged “Do Not Use.”

Under 29 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR), 1910.242(a) employers are required to keep all tools in good repair. It states, “Each employer shall be responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment used by employees, including tools and equipment which may be furnished by employees.”

Power tools present more hazards than hand tools due to the speed at which they operate and the potential for the user to come into contact with the power source (electrical, pneumatic , hydraulic etc.). There are differences between the PPE suggested for use with hand tools and the PPE suggested for safe power tool use.

Check out the Toolbox Talks for Maintenance and Mechanics that I have published

Hand Tools

Hand tools are non-powered. They include anything from axes to wrenches. The greatest hazards posed by hand tools result from misuse and improper maintenance.  Some examples:

  • The employer is responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment used by employees but the employees have the responsibility for properly using and maintaining tools.
  • Employers should caution employees that knives, saw blades, or other tools be directed away from aisle areas and other employees working in close proximity. Knives and scissors must be sharp. Dull tools can be more hazardous than sharp ones.
  • Appropriate personal protective equipment, e.g., safety goggles, gloves, etc., should be worn due to hazards that may be encountered while using portable power tools and hand tools.
  • Safety requires that floors be kept as clean and dry as possible to prevent accidental slips with or around dangerous hand tools.
  • Around flammable substances, sparks produced by iron and steel hand tools can be a dangerous ignition source. Where this hazard exists, spark-resistant tools made from brass, plastic, aluminum, or wood will provide for safety.

 

Read the Hand & Power Tool Safety Plan

HandPower_Tool_Plan

 

 

Download the Hand & Power Tool Safety Plan

Heat Stress Policy and Training

This year OSHA is putting a serious focus on heat stress, and your workplace needs to be ready to deal with it. Do you have a policy? Do you train employees on the dangers of heat stress? If not, I have you covered, so check it out and get to work keeping employees safe.

Keeping employees safe during the hot and humid weather is very important, having a quality heat stress plan is important to that. This policy spells out how to keep employees safe during extreme weather.

Most importantly to remember is that it isn’t just the heat that will impact employees, but the humidity, calculated within the heat index. Knowing what each level of the heat index can mean to employee safety is important, and having a response as levels increase will keep employees safe during extreme weather.

Many companies assume that a heat stress policy is only important if employees are working outside, but this isn’t true, as being inside a building, even with A/C or great ventilation, can be equally dangerous, especially because employees may assume because they are inside, they aren’t susceptible to heat issues.

A quality response to dangerous levels of heat is more than just staying hydrated, it includes cool down time, the buddy system, and educating employees to be aware for themselves.

View the Heat Stress Policy below

Heat Stress Policy

Download the Heat Stress Policy below

Training staff to be aware of the dangers from heat is an important step towards keeping them safe.

This training includes a specific section for supervisors, so they can be aware of how to assist employees in keeping safe during dangerous heat.

Included in this heat awareness training is the signs of heat stress:

  • Heat Rash
  • Heat Cramps
  • Heat Exhaustion
  • Heat Stroke

Raising awareness of these conditions will assist employees in seeking care before their conditions worsen, and they end up in a dangerous predicament.

This training should be administered in a presentation, with an opportunity to answer questions to be most effective, but sections can also be used at huddles to continually remind employees of the dangers that heat can present.

Read the Heat Awareness Training below

Heat Training

Download the Heat Awareness training below

incident investigation is highly important to safety

Sample Accident Investigation Policy

Workplace accidents cost companies approx $1 billion weekly in direct worker’s compensation costs, with an estimated $3 billion weekly in indirect costs!

 

A quality accident investigation program can reduce workplace injuries by properly identifying hazards that have caused an injury, and taking appropriate actions to eliminate those workplace hazards.

 

 

So what does OSHA say about accident investigations:

“OSHA strongly encourages employers to investigate all incidents in which a worker was hurt, as well as close calls (sometimes called “near misses”), in which a worker might have been hurt if the circumstances had been slightly different.”

So what does this mean for employers? While an investigation is not required by OSHA, and not having a policy or procedure will not result in an OSHA fine, an injury can identify a known workplace hazard. Known workplace hazards that are not abated can expose a company to a fine under OSHA’s General Duty Clause:

a) Each employer —

1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;

Not conducting an investigation after an accident, might not identify the hazard, which OSHA would expect you to abate if it causes an injury to an employee.

Sound like a catch-22? It can be for employers.

Which is why implementing a policy for properly investigating workplace safety incidents can be so important.

Below is an excerpt from the Sample Accident Investigation Program, read and download the entire policy below:

WHAT IS AN ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION PROGRAM?

An Accident Investigation Program is a management toot by which accidents or injuries are systematically studied so that their causes and contributing factors can be identified and eliminated. Accident Investigation is a technique that allows a school district to “learn from its experience.”
In addition to preventing future accidents, the Accident Investigation Program:

  • Helps to identify inefficiencies, and improves total quality.
  • Develops accident trend information.
  • Focuses supervisors’ attention on safety and helps them consider methods for preventing future accidents.
  • Helps monitor the effectiveness of the agency safety program.
  • Provides information for worker’s compensation claims handling as well as regulatory reporting and record keeping.

So check out the following:

 

 

View the Sample Accident Investigation Policy below

Sample Accident Investigation Program

Download the Sample Accident Investigation Policy below

Incident Investigation Training – Beginners

Part of a quality incident investigation program is properly training for those tasked with investigating after an accident.

This training is geared for beginners, to get a foundation in incident investigation techniques. As skills grow I have  more advanced  investigation trainings available.

properly investigate all accidents and incidentsThis training covers fundamentals of incident investigation such as:

  • the importance of root cause analysis in an investigation;
  • the hierarchy of controls to minimize risk exposure;
  • how to identify “Red Flags” in an investigation.
Check Out: Incident Report Writing Guide

Benefits of Incident Investigations

When properly conducted, incident investigations:

  • help prevent future accidents,
  • help you identify and eliminate hazards,
  • expose deficiencies in your processes or equipment,
  • reduce injury and workers compensation costs, and
  • maintain and improve employee morale.

This training can be given to those in your company tasked with conducting an incident investigation, either in a class room environment or as part of a self learning exercise.

Learning Outcomes from Incident Investigation training

  • Broad understanding of incident investigation
  • Robust understanding of incident investigation
  • Readily applicable incident investigation procedures
  • Be able to collect, analyze and communicate data
  • Understanding of strategies to ensure the organization learns from safety failure
Check Out: The Challenge of Employees to Report All Safety Incidents

Who can benefit from this incident investigation training?

Managers and supervisors who are responsible for conducting incident investigations will most benefit from this course. The content is also beneficial to workers who have health & safety responsibilities, such as Health & Safety Representatives and First Responders.

Check out the following related program components available for free:

View the Incident Investigation Training for Beginners

Incident Investigation Training

Download the Incident Investigation Training for Beginners

Root Cause Worksheet

Conducting a full and proper root cause analysis is important to completing an accident investigation. This worksheet will aid in a full root cause analysis.

Including this form in your accident investigation toolkit, will aid those conducting an investigation after a safety incident.

 

Using the Root Cause Investigation Worksheet

Example Accident: “An employee comes into the lobby, with uncovered marble flooring during a rain storm, and slips on water puddled near door; spraining their wrist.”

Even if this specific accident didn’t result in a serious injury, they can result in broken bones or head injuries. No matter the level of injury, each accident should be investigated equally to prevent future accidents that may result in a more serious injury.

Using the root cause worksheet, you read the environmental section and see multiple applicable items.

 

 

 

So, applying this to the above example, you can identify:

  • adverse weather: raining outside;
  • walking/working surface: uncovered marble floor;
  • poor housekeeping: water puddled at entrance on floor;

as causes of this instance. So which is a root cause and which is a causal factor of the incident? You can find that by applying some simple questions:

  • If it were raining outside, and the floor was covered with an anti-slip rug, would this have occurred?
  • If housekeeping had cleaned up the water pooled, would the person have slipped?
  • If there was no puddled water, but the person’s shoes were slick with rain could they have slipped on the marble floor?

Applying those questions, you will realize that the adverse weather and the poor housekeeping were contributing factors, while the walking/working surface was the root cause. Because a simple anti-slip rug could have stopped this, even if there wasn’t a puddle and it was raining outside, or if there was a puddle and it wasn’t raining outside.

 

 

 

If you follow through with this root cause analysis, and take action and place an anti-slip mat at the lobby entrance, you have negated the possibility for further accidents.

You can see how this root cause worksheet is a good tool to have as part of an accident investigation program.

Ensure you give your team the tools and training required to fully implement a quality accident investigation program, which includes ensuring they are aware of their roles in the program, that they have been trained on their responsibilities, and they know how to follow-up to create change.

I have also published a book for Root Cause Analysis, available in softcover and hardcover.

Check out my book on Amazon.

 

Check out the following related program components available for free:

 

View the Root Cause Worksheet here

Root Cause Worksheet

Download the Root Cause Worksheet here

The 5 Why Method of Root Cause Analysis

root cause 5 why trainingKnowing how to properly conduct a root cause analysis is imperative when handling a safety incident investigation.

It isn’t just OSHA that encourages the use of root cause during an incident investigation, but also the EPA under their Risk Management Program(RMP).

Concerning Root Cause Analysis OSHA says:

During an incident investigation, an employer must determine which factors contributed to the incident, and both OSHA and the EPA encourage employers to go beyond the minimum investigation required and conduct a root cause analysis. A root cause analysis allows an employer to discover the underlying or systemic, rather than the generalized or immediate, causes of an incident. Correcting only an immediate cause may eliminate a symptom of a problem, but not the problem itself. – Source
While this is not an official order to conduct a root cause analysis, and it may not result in an OSHA fine for not complying, it can potentially result in a violation of OSHA’s General Duty Clause:

a) Each employer —

(1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;
That is because the occurrence of a safety incident is a clear indication of a workplace hazard, and a failure to abate this hazard potentially means your company is no longer furnishing employees with a workplace with recognized hazards, as a full and proper root cause investigation would have uncovered the direct cause of this hazard.
So while OSHA doesn’t require it, they may cite you over not investigating properly. Anyone with an understanding of OSHA rules, regulations, and interpretations, will understand this is often the case, as OSHA will always err on the site of caution for employee protection.
Check Out: How to Improve Your Safety Culture

The 5 Why Method as a Root Cause Analysis Method for Workplace Incidents

The 5 Whys technique can also be used as a method for determining root causes of workplace incidents. What would 5 Whys look like in the context of a workplace incident investigation? Here’s the application of 5 Whys to an example mentioned in an OSHA fact sheet:

The Problem: A worker slips and falls, and suffers an injury.
1st Why: There was a puddle of oil on the plant floor.
2nd Why: Oil spilled from a compressor.
3rd Why: An oil leak from the compressor was not detected.
4th Why: The compressor was not inspected on a regular basis and repaired (if required).
5th Why and the Root Cause: The compressor was not in the maintenance system.

In theory it takes five “whys” to get to the root cause, but in practice there will be cases where you may use more or fewer than five “whys”.

This 5 Why Method Training will explain the basics of how to conduct a root cause analysis using the 5 Why method.
Adding a 5 Why Method training to your company’s incident investigation training program will improve your accident investigations to best identify hazards in the workplace along with empowering your employees in owning their safety.

Finally, according to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, these are the benefits of asking the 5 Whys:

  • Simplicity: Easy to use and requires no advanced mathematics or tools.
  • Effectiveness: Helps to quickly separate symptoms from causes and identify the root cause.
  • Comprehensiveness: Helps to determine relationships between various problem causes.
  • Flexibility: Works well alone and when combined with other methods.
  • Engaging: Fosters teamwork.
  • Inexpensive: A guided, team-focused exercise with no additional costs.

Combining this training with the Root Cause Worksheet as part of your total incident investigation program will allow your team to thoroughly investigate every incident.
Please check out the other components of an Incident Investigation Program, listed below:

 

To facilitate better root cause analysis in the workplace, I published a Root Cause Analysis workbook available on Amazon.

View the 5 Why training

5 Whys Training - Kevin Ian

 

Download the 5 Why training

Implementing Employers Rights During An OSHA Inspection

For those of you that have had an OSHA inspection at your workplace you probably have learned a thing or two as to how you would handle it if you had the opportunity to do it over. No one is really prepared for that unannounced, page from your receptionist informing you that a representative from the U.S. Department of Labor, division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is here to talk with you. They usually, it seems, come at a time when all your other facility operational problems are occurring, break downs, employee absentee concerns, shipment backlogs, you name them. But whatever they are, they all have to be set aside so you can respond to your visitor.

Your Rights As An Employer.

As a safety professional, I want to share some brief but very important suggestions as to the best way to handle an OSHA visit. First; understand that although you are governed under the Act, you as an employer do have rights. For this article, I will be discussing rights under the OSH Act which is administered under the Federal guidelines. States which have their own OSHA State Plan may have different employer rights and obligations.

For more information: EHS Center – Who and Where Does OSHA Regulate

Pre-inspection Rights

If as an employer you seek to ensure compliance with any and all applicable OSHA regulations without the fear of an OSHA enforcement inspection or the issuance of a citation for identified regulatory infractions, there is help from OSHA itself.

  • Ask for assistance from OSHA itself. Contact your local Regional, Area Offices. Each OSHA Area Office will have a Compliance Assistance Specialists(CASs)on board. The CAS can answer questions on the phone and are also available for seminars, workshops, and speaking events. There is no need to give your name or establishment’s name. Be prepared and explain the specifics of your concern.
  • Request assistance from the OSHA On-site Consultation program. The OSHA On-site Consultation program is funded by OSHA and administered through its respective state agency or a state university. The consultation program is separate from enforcement and a visit will not result in penalties or citations in the event any regulatory infractions are found. One important note; There is a responsibility on the employers part to fully comply with any and all safety and health concerns identified during the consultation visit.

OSHA On-Site Rights – Recommended Action

When that day comes, and you probably won’t be prepared or ready for it, it is important that you understand your rights as an employer. It is important to understand how an OSHA inspection is conducted and more important why the OSHA inspector is at your door. The following outlines the When, Why and How elements of an OSHA visit.

WHEN will OSHA visit your establishment? To be quite honest with you, due to the number of OSHA Compliance Officers, which at last count was right around 2,043 and considering there is approximately 7 million worksites, your odds of getting inspected are low. Let’s look at OSHA inspection priorities; they are (in order):

  • Imminent danger situations
  • Fatalities and catastrophes
  • Complaints (employee)
  • Referrals (made by other Federal or State Agencies or organizations)
  • Follow-ups (initial inspection identified hazards – citation was issued)
  • Planned or programmed investigations (OSHA initiatives (National Emphasis (NEP) or Local Emphasis (LEP) Programs), Site Specific Targeting Initiative (SST).
The OSHA General Duty Clause is a catch-all regulation that a workplace can be cited under.

 

It is very important to understand that most OSHA visits are unannounced. You will not be given any advanced warning prior to an inspection.

The very first being “Imminent danger” is fairly rare. Very few imminent danger inspections have been conducted by OSHA. You should be well aware that a fatality or catastrophe inspection will be occurring for obvious reasons.

The remaining reasons for a visit are usually unknown as to when they may occur.

WHY are they here today? When that day comes and they are sitting in your waiting area, it is important to exercise your rights as an employer before going any further with the inspection. The following action on your part should take place:

  • Make sure your receptionist or whoever first contact is made with request that the compliance officer waits in the waiting area. Next the highest ranking management official on site should be contacted. DO NOT escort the compliance officer to an office or through the work area.
  • The chosen management representative should ask for the compliance officer’s identification card. This will be a certified U.S. Department of Labor / OSHA ID. Also ask for a business card. You will want to make a copy or write down the ID information.
  • Proceed to question why the compliance officer is at your facility, e.g. reason for the inspection following the “inspection priority” list noted above.

Note: Very important. If the compliance officer is their based on an employee complaint, they MUST provide you with a copy of the complaint itself. The individual filing the complaint will be removed from your copy.

  • If the reasoning for the visit is acceptable you should then request and inform the compliance officer that you are going to contact the Regional Area Office to verify their status and reason for the visit. Don’t hesitate to do this. It is not play “hard-ball” it is just being sure.
  • Once you have verified the compliance officers visit you should then proceed to an office area so as to conduct the opening conference.
Learn More: OSHA Requirements for Small Businesses

How To Conduct Yourself During The OSHA Inspection.

The OSHA visit consists of three basic inspection elements. They are:

  • Opening Conference
  • Walk-around Survey
  • Closing Conference

Opening Conference.

Many believe that the walk-around survey is the most important aspect of the inspection. Although during this procedure, any hazards and potential OSHA regulatory violations may be found, it is my opinion that the most important part of the OSHA visit is the opening conference. It is during this phase that the compliance officer will determine your facilities safety and health culture. It is also the period where you, the employer can establish a leadership role in how and what the compliance officer looks at. Remember, this is your business, you know more about how things are run at your facility then the compliance officer. Take charge, be a leader. Here are some tips as to how to conduct an opening conference:

  • Have all your OSHA required and other safety and health written policy and procedures readily available for review, especially your OSHA required accident and illness records. I recommend that each policy be in its separate three ring binder rather than having one, huge binder which holds all the policies. This separate bound system makes it easy to review.
  • Lead the discussion and inform the compliance officer of all your safety and health activities, e.g;

* Safety and Health Committees,

* Recent Safety and Health Training,

* Seminars Attended,

* Outside Assistance Used.

Check Out: Conduct your Own OSHA Mock Audit from the EHS Center

Walk-Around Survey

Often if the opening conference is handled properly, usually on a “targeted inspection” such as a record keeping inspection visit, the visit will be stopped at that point. No walk-around will be conducted.

In the event that the inspection needs to proceed here are some tips as to how to conduct yourself during that walk around.

  • If the compliance officer is there on a complaint, take the compliance officer directly to the area(s) noted on the complaint itself. For example; if the complaint stated that a specific piece of equipment is improperly guarded, escort the compliance officer to that piece of equipment.

NOTE: If the compliance officer observes safety and health issues other than the complaint

reference while traveling to the area of concern, they can note and issue a citation on those items.

That is why it is very important to not take the compliance officer on a full plant tour.

  • If the compliance officer takes pictures, you should ask what they were taking a picture of and take one yourself.
  • Ask what the compliance officer is looking for.
  • Ask what the compliance officer is writing down.
  • Never leave the compliance officer un-escorted.

Closing Conference.

The closing conference is a discussion as to what the compliance officer found and what possibly was found in violation of any applicable OSHA regulation. During the discussion you will want to;

  • Ask what specific OSHA regulation the infraction noted will be applied to.
  • Give some further explanation as to why the infractions were noted and what has been done in the past to eliminate them.
  • Take immediate action to rectify the infractions noted.

Although the compliance officer will give you an idea as to what may be cited (issuance of citation) they really do not make that decision. The final decision as to issuing a citation is made by the OSHA Area Director. So you won’t get a final answer during this closing conference period.

Learn More: OSHA Citations Explained

Safety Milestones Since the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

March 25, 2021, was the 110th Anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire – a tragic incident that elevated the workplace safety concerns of garment industry workers and workers in other manufacturing jobs to a point of no return. The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire led to the creation of agencies and multiple reforms dedicated to workplace safety. Some reforms began in the days and months that immediately followed the fire while other reforms took years and decades to appear.
Oct. 14, 1911: The Founding of the United Association of Casualty Inspectors

The United Association of Casualty Inspectors was founded as a direct response to the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. According to ASSE, the organization started with 62 members. In 1914, the Association changed its name to American Society of Safety Engineers, and it still operates under that name to this day.

As of 2011, the Society states it has 32,000 members who “supervise and consult on safety, health, and environmental issues in industry, insurance, government and education.” ASSE also maintains multiple American National Standards Institute (ANSI) committees and projects. The initiatives of ASSE have helped businesses reduce costs by providing a safer workplace environment which, in turn, helps reduce workplace injuries that lead to downtime, workman’s compensation claims and higher turnover rates.

1911-1921: Worker’s Compensation Laws Take Off

New York state passed the first worker’s compensation law in 1910, according to EH.net. While the workman’s compensation model had long been studied by businesses, it did not have the support of Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor, or a variety of other members (Department of Labor).

However, in 1909 the AFL switched channels and began to back the program. At the same time, companies like International Harvester had begun to create their own compensation models and supported laws that would ensure all companies, large and small, were supported. By 1921, 46 jurisdictions in the country had workmen’s compensation laws on the books.

1934: Voluntary Health Insurance Appears

A National Institutes of Health document titled “Voluntary Health Insurance on the National Scene: The Program of the Insurance Companies” dated the initial offerings of “experiments with group hospital expense insurance” as launching in 1934, which was right on the heels of the Blue Cross movement originating in 1929 (Blue Cross Blue Shield). At this point in history, group insurance plans could be issued to employers, unions and trustees of a welfare benefit fund.

1955: The Emergence of the Industrial Hygienist

According to EHSToday, a 1955 “Occupational Hazards” article chronicled that the previous 10 years had seen industrial hygiene become a major concern. Many companies and large businesses employed health technicians who assessed everything from cafeteria cleanliness to the common cold. Most health technicians did not have initial input related to safety practices within the manufacturing process, but some specialists like Fred Manuele, an ASSE Fellow (ASSE), state that by the end of the 1950s “a lot of good” practices were put into place.

1970: The Formation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA was launched in 1970 after several years of rising on-the-job fatalities and workplace injuries. Throughout its 40-plus years of existence, OSHA has worked to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for American workers. The Administration sets and enforces standards and also offers training, education and assistance to companies of any size. OSHA’s Free On-Site Consultation Program helps ensure even small businesses have a safe and product-healthy environment for their employees (OSHA Small Business).

Workplace health and safety has improved almost immeasurably since the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 through a mixture of business, government and organizational changes.

Company Culture

The term “company culture” is something of a nebulous concept, but most culture professionals can agree on the very basics of a definition. In short, company culture can be defined as a set of shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterize an organization. A company’s culture influences results from top to bottom.
There are a few important components of a successful company culture, but many companies miss the mark on company culture by focusing on thee wrong things. Company culture is not:

Your core values – Core values are certainly part of your culture, but until you put them into action they’re just words on paper. In fact, core values can negatively impact culture if they aren’t adhered to. Employees will see this as the company paying lip service and failing to live up to its own standards.

Your perks and benefits – Ping pong tables and beer on tap can be great, assuming they represent what your employees really care about, but perks and benefits are not a substitute for strong company culture.

The yardstick by which all candidates should be measured – Hiring for cultural fit has become a hot topic over the past few years, but we’re already seeing companies shift away from this line of thought. Hiring people that align with your culture makes sense on the surface, but too many companies use this “metric” as a crutch. Many companies have pivoted to a “cultural add” model, wherein they look for candidates that align with the most important elements of their culture, but will also bring their own unique traits to the table.

At the deepest level, an organization’s culture is based on values derived from basic assumptions about the following:

  • Human nature. Are people inherently good or bad, mutable or immutable, proactive or reactive? These basic assumptions lead to beliefs about how employees, customers and suppliers should interact and how they should be managed.
  • The organization’s relationship to its environment. How does the organization define its business and its constituencies?
  • Appropriate emotions. Which emotions should people be encouraged to express, and which ones should be suppressed?
  • Effectiveness. What metrics show whether the organization and its individual components are doing well? An organization will be effective only when the culture is supported by an appropriate business strategy and a structure that is appropriate for both the business and the desired culture.

At the heart of organizations’ cultures are commonly shared values. None is right or wrong, but organizations need to decide which values they will emphasize. These common values include:

  • Outcome orientation. Emphasizing achievements and results.
  • People orientation. Insisting on fairness, tolerance and respect for the individual.
  • Team orientation. Emphasizing and rewarding collaboration.
  • Attention to detail. Valuing precision and approaching situations and problems analytically.
  • Stability. Providing security and following a predictable course.
  • Innovation. Encouraging experimentation and risk-taking.
  • Aggressiveness. Stimulating a fiercely competitive spirit.
 
Great article on company culture benefits: Reduce Employee Turnover With a Great Company Culture

Is safety a part of your workplace culture?  I’m not talking about throwing up a nice slogan, a couple fancy posters, and playing lip service to it, but true cultural safety.

Consider the following elements of a safety culture:


  • Buy-in from all stakeholders. All employees, contractors, partners and other stakeholders, at all levels, must be committed to safety.
  • Processes for hazard prevention and control. All stakeholders should understand how to prevent and control safety hazards using best practices and workplace safety technologies. It is also important that each person knows that these processes are part of everyone’s duties.
  • Ongoing training. To keep knowledge and techniques fresh, stakeholders should attend regular safety training.
  • Successes are celebrated. Stakeholders should be recognized or rewarded for their commitment to safety.

When safety is a part of your corporate culture, every stakeholder recognizes its importance. It becomes part of your organization’s continuous process improvement. And, most importantly, it’s seen as an investment, rather than a cost, since proactive safety measures have the power to save significant amounts of money, time and other resources.

It is very important to build and grow a safety culture, not just within your company’s overall culture, but as an overall culture of safety. Do you know how? Do you struggle with your safety culture?
Check out this good read: Leadership: How to Build an Ideal Safety Culture 
As you work to build a culture, and you’re looking at incorporation of the culture, look at every job, every responsibility, and see how the different aspects of the culture can be worked into each job, every task, and touch all parts.
A great example is this article: Incorporating Safety Management Into Your Project Management Role 
While looking to build a great culture, as much as I wish that it started and ended with safety, it has so much more importance. Also understand about making a culture of ethics and compliance. How Managers Create a Culture of Ethics and Compliance 

Linkedin profile tips and Job search

With the advancing world, how we live and work is constantly changing. Many industries that used to be labor-run are now automated, so working in a leadership position in any industry now is not how it used to be. There are many jobs that have become common due to the popularity of the internet, creating more job opportunities. The vastness of job opportunities and modern take on the job descriptions of many posts has made job searches around the world both more difficult and easier at the same time. The latter is because of the number of jobs available, while the former is observed because finding the right job between all of these opportunities becomes difficult. In fact, job searching is now a talent in itself.

LinkedIn is a service that serves simply as a Facebook for professionals, as many already call it. How it works is that any individual or organization can share their professional details online on a well-organized site that categorizes each type of experience, capabilities, and employment details. This serves as an online CV of a kind since many employers look at the LinkedIn profiles of people that they might employ.

While making it easy to look for jobs, LinkedIn also allows employers to research their potential employees and helps organizations and professionals connect with one another more easily.

This article will cover the job searching factor of LinkedIn, discussing how the service helps people look for jobs to find something that they are interested in and that they are suitable for, but first, let’s discuss how your LinkedIn shows how you are suitable for where you’re applying.

LinkedIn Profile Optimization

LinkedIn is a site with over 337 million professionals, making it one of the top networks for professional development as well as job searching. However, with all this traffic, it is difficult for an individual to stand out for any job. How you can assure this for yourself is by optimizing your LinkedIn profile to maximize your chances of successfully landing a job, which includes being able to build a powerful presence by making the most of its features and sharing your expertise.

Sharing All Your Necessary Professional Details

If you look at LinkedIn as an online, customizable CV, you will understand that adding information about yourself on this site will clearly be beneficial to those evaluating your profile. Completing and adding details about your employment history, including your current position, past positions, capabilities and skills, a professional picture of yourself or your industry, your education information as well your current industry and location makes for a LinkedIn profile that really sells itself.

Adding to all those details, you can also make your LinkedIn profile stand out by selecting a proper URL for yourself, which is SEO friendly as well as easy to remember. All of this is the basic information any user has to add for their profile to stand out.

Sharing Your Purpose

An excellent way to land a job is by fueling any chances to stand out in a recruitment search. The number one way to catch the eye of any recruiter to finally end that long job search of yours is to make your purpose clear.

Now, your purpose may be as simple as ‘looking for a job’ or can be tailored to explain with accurate detail what your purpose in the industry or for job searching is. Again, the latter can be simplified to a simple reason where one tells the type of job they’re searching for.

Recommendations

Getting recommendations from your peers is important. LinkedIn maintains and keeps these recommendations online, sharing them with professionals only. The peers that you get recommendations from may be one of your customers, colleagues, employers or people working for you.

Adding Skills

As stated before, this is a part of completing one’s professional profile on LinkedIn. Adding details about skills is much more sophisticated and professional on LinkedIn than just simply writing skills. Once you write about these skills, your peers and work group are sent a confirmation regarding this and the skills that are verified by people are known as endorsements.

Endorsements are very important for your LinkedIn profile as they show what skills you are known for, which would give the right impression to the recruiters as to why you’re suited for a job, hence making your job hunt easy for you.

Your Summary

We can look at this part of the LinkedIn profile as the very professional and influential counterpart of Facebook’s description. It has to be a precise summary about an individual’s professional life, what they have accomplished and what they have set out to accomplish. The summary can be about 200 characters long and is important for your profile to stand out, so be sure to write a precise and impressive summary that will catch the attention of recruiters.

Links to Relevant Websites

Add links to the websites of the organizations you work for, blogs you write, or any pages or publications that are relevant to your professional life. Editing these and adding in the right keywords for these sites is important too since it gives a good impression and helps recruiters browse through your online profile.

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Order and Arrangement of Your Linkedin Profile

LinkedIn allows one to customize their profile considerably for ease of use and so that you may note down and showcase your accomplishments and abilities as best you can. One of the features that LinkedIn offers is the option to change the order of your profile to however you want it to be; the sections can be rearranged and suited especially for your professional profile. Rearranging the profile is easy too since all you require is a simple click-and-drag action to change the order.

Use Specific Keywords

What will help recruiters and potential connections find you is the use of precise and to-the-point keywords that you add to your profile. These have to be eye-catching and serve to give off a good impression. Another benefit that specific and catchy keywords provide is to search engine optimize your profile. The more relevant keywords you add, the more chances are of you to pop up on a Google search. This will help you end your job search by bringing organizations to you.

Add the Specifics

Writing about the projects you’ve worked on, the awards you’ve won, the causes you care about, and the places you’ve volunteered at will help brighten up your profile significantly. This will be the final touch to your profile and would help with your job hunt more than you think.

The causes you care about and the places you’ve volunteered at help describe how you are as a person and matter in the profile you’ve created for your job hunt.

Linkedin Job Search

Once your LinkedIn profile has been created and optimized to ensure you get some views every day or simply pull in a good audience, your job search will be made much easier since it increases your chance of getting selected by a lot. However, just optimizing your profile like this will only serve to increase your chances and raising the possibility of ending your job search altogether. Searching for a job yourself is a whole other story which requires patience and a very thorough approach.

This section of the article will cover how you can search for the jobs you are suited for so that you have a higher chance of landing one.

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Headline

After optimizing your profile and making sure all of your professional details are filled in and optimized for organizations, including a headline about your current job search status will let employers find you and scoop you in. However, this is very much a challenge, and although adding a catchy headline would draw in a number of views to your profile, if your profile isn’t edited to stand out, the headline won’t help with your job search at all.

Following Companies

LinkedIn offers more than just pages of individuals. This site with over 337 million professionals helps by making pages and details about companies themselves. These pages can be followed and it’ll be in your best interest to do that since that way, you’ll be up to date with the current events of every company while updating you if any of these companies is searching for people to recruit. This is a major step in your job search as your target companies will be right there for you. Thus, you can research about them as well as keep yourself up to date about any opportunities that arise.

Connect

While you’re searching for your job, a lot of things factor into finding just the right job. One of the most important steps you should follow is to increase your connections as much as possible and as soon as possible. After creating a good account, showcasing your abilities, getting recommendations and following companies, it’s very important to connect with as many individuals and organizations as possible. Remember that this will help you connect further with other people and all of these connections will be helpful for your career at more than just one point in your life.

I am always open to connecting with people on LinkedIn, here is my profile

So what this basically means that although LinkedIn profiles help showcase your skills and connect with people, nothing helps more than promoting yourself in person among your peers. So watch out for the people that can be of use to you. Keep a look out for well-known companies that you can work for or new and rising companies that you can help promote both in person and on the internet. As we mentioned before, this site is like a Facebook for professional connections, so even though making new connections through LinkedIn itself is efficient, it’s better to connect with people you have worked with, people you have worked for as well as the people working for you since you know their capabilities well and they know yours.

Contacting Peers

Once you have made connections, contacting them through LinkedIn is also easy since the site offers the option of messaging your connections privately. With a fully functional instant messaging option, you can manage your work optimally.

This feature also helps with job searches as you can contact many companies and individuals regarding your job directly through LinkedIn and keep track of the available positions and their current state.

 

Conclusion

A lot of things factor into a successful job search, including your achievements and capabilities, but what bears fruit in your job search is not the achievements themselves but how you showcase them. Adding what you learn from any experience and the skills you have learned throughout your personal life that will affect your professional life, pinpointing certain strengths, and using precise keywords will ensure that your LinkedIn profile is search engine optimized, which will, in turn, ensure that your profile pops up on searches on Google and other search engines whenever a search about a particular keyword is made.

Adding to that, completing your profile is necessary with the summary, causes you care about, recommendations, and the entirety of the sections listed above so that your profile provides all information to any recruiter. The advantage this gives you is significant and it can factor into your job search well enough for better job opportunities.

In conclusion, the jobs out there are numerous, but ironically, finding jobs – especially the right one – is really an issue many of us face. In fact, job hunts of even the most capable of people bear no fruit until they finally catch their big break, so LinkedIn is a service that comes in very handy. Keep all of the tips mentioned above in mind, keep seeking opportunities and stay vigilant in your job search because on LinkedIn, the right job is just a few clicks away.