I think it’s safe to say that the average person doesn’t dwell on safety issues very often.
They expect the car they drive will get them to where they’re going safely, and if there’s a problem with the vehicle, they expect a safety light will come on to alert them that it’s time to take the automobile into the shop. And while some people have phobias about elevators, most people take it for granted that, when they push the button, they’ll get to their desired floor without incident.
But after working with Sphera these past 18 months, I’ve realized the people in this company think about safety constantly, and, by doing so, they are making the workplace a safer place for all of us. The Environmental Health & Safety experts I’ve met and talked with at Sphera all seem to have one thing in common: They are superhumble and super good at what they do, which is helping companies find hazards or potential risks in their organizations as well as helping organizations learn from their incidents and near-misses.
I’ve heard some amazing stories since I’ve been here about risks that never would have occurred to me. In one case, we talked about icebergs. Yes, icebergs! What if two icebergs converge around a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit, which the Oil & Gas industry uses to process hydrocarbon? You would need tugboats to move the FPSO away from the icebergs, but what if a tugboat failed? You’d likely need two tugboats and a third at the ready just in case. It’s not something most companies need to consider, but if you’re in a part of the world where icebergs are floating around, this could be a huge Operational Risk.
If every piece of equipment acted like a Rube Goldberg machine, it would be pretty easy to spot not only where the failure is but also how that failure would affect other parts of the process. If that iron ball doesn’t fall, the hammer won’t hit the plate of glass, and the person’s back won’t get scratched. But in the real world of Operational Risk, it’s not always that easy. During risk assessments, our experts are constantly thinking about and asking questions about risks. They also help companies figure out what happens if something fails and whether there are proper safeguards in place should an incident occur.
As part of Sphera’s onboarding program, new employees must pass two online workplace safety-related courses. It’s just part of our DNA, and it will always be that way.
A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog called “A Workplace Safety Pledge” in honor of the first OSHA Safe + Sound Week. Our organization, as you can see, takes great pride in safety and will continue to support all efforts to make the workplace a safer place for all.
“We are proud to participate in this year’s Safe + Sound Week,” said Laura Hanson, Sphera’s chief human resources officer. “We will be hosting a safety scavenger hunt in our offices, and we have other risk-related activities planned as well designed to get our people to think even more about safety issues—if that’s even possible! Sphera has a long history of following safety-first practices, and this year’s OSHA event gives us a great opportunity to renew our commitment to keeping people safe, products sustainable and operations productive.”
And who said you can’t have a little fun while spotting risks? We know we will.
So how will you participate in Safe + Sound Week?