When Conditions Change, So Can Hazards – Tools To Help You Identify Hazards In Any Condition

One of the most fundamental ways that employees can be engaged and participate in creating a safer working environment is by contributing to a rigorous hazard identification process. Even when we feel like we’ve identified all the hazards, the dynamic nature of most work environments continues to change – which can introduce new hazards or remove existing ones that could have been present only moments prior.  And even if the environment is static, we can still miss hazards that over time have become normalized and are now part of the background.

So, how do we deal with these constantly changing conditions? Both, the ones that differ from the conditions anticipated by the job hazard analysis or the ones that existed just moments before the pre-job brief was completed. At COVE: Center of Visual Expertise, we believe that improving our ability to see by enhancing our Visual Literacy skills, we can respond more effectively to static or dynamic risks. We not only see in a more disciplined way, but by improving how we interpret the hazards before us we’re able to take meaningful actions.

We often emphasize that we need to slow down in order to really appreciate what we are examining. But slowing down without having the proper tools or insight on how to use them may not be effective. Visual Literacy provides concepts to help move from just looking to really seeing, and from jumping to a conclusion to confidently interpreting what we are seeing in a more systematic way. By training our employees to utilize these tools in their normal working environments, they become re-engaged –improving the impact their efforts can have on safety performance.

In our latest White Paper, we invite you to learn why it is not enough just knowing what a hazard is, but the importance of being able to effectively see it as well.

Doug Pontsler

Doug is Chairman and Managing Director for COVE, the Center of Visual Expertise. Launched in 2018 by the Toledo Museum of Art, COVE is dedicated to the application of visual literacy for industrial and service applications with an emphasis on safety. In this leadership role he is responsible for all aspects of the enterprise including thought leadership, product development and client satisfaction. Prior to his current role, Doug was the former vice president of operations sustainability and EHS for Owens Corning. He joined Owens Corning in 2002 and held leadership positions including director of corporate services and vice president of global sourcing. Doug also served as a member of the National Safety Council Board of Directors and as the Chairman of the Campbell Institute at the National Safety Council. He is a recipient of NSC’s 2019 Distinguished Service to Safety Award. Follow Doug on LinkedIn


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