Safety WALK Safety TALK online!

What if… employees were compliant with all safety rules and policies even when no one was watching?

What if… employees looked for ways to reduce risks and eliminate hazards, and they were actively engaged in implementing solutions?

What if… you could facilitate safety conversations that identified true root causes of incidents or near misses – and these led to permanent improvements?

What if… you could go months or years without a recordable injury?

All over the world, managers, supervisors, and team leaders seek to engage employees in safety discussions in a way that fosters commitment.

The problem is… many supervisors are frustrated because they can’t truly connect to workers. They spend more time policing safety violations than making improvements.

Most plans are developed to reduce incidents AFTER they happen. Employees continue to make mistakes or take risks that lead to injuries, despite a growing list of safety action items.

Managers and supervisors secretly cross their fingers and hope they don’t receive a phone call or text message about the next safety incident.

To achieve sustainable safety excellence, you need a simple set of leadership skills and strategies that successful and safe organizations use every day.

Included with the Safety WALK Safety TALK online course:

  • One year access to the 2.5 hour, 7-module online course
  • Monthly “Live” Community Learning Sessions with author and coach David Galloway
  • e-copy of the companion book
  • PDF of Pocket Guide for a Safety Conversation
  • Safety Conversation mobile app
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Available in English, Español, and Français
  • Bonus Lesson on Mistake Proofing

How small changes in what you THINK, SAY, and DO shape your safety culture

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Do you want to make a difference?

There are many ways someone in a leadership role can have a positive impact on the lives of their employees. Perhaps there is no leadership responsibility more profound than creating a sustainable, injury-free workplace. Every person who goes to work expects to return home in the same condition. When someone is hurt, the adverse effects of their injury ripple through the employee’s family and friends.

Achieving an injury-free environment is one of the most difficult problems many leaders face. Indeed, during 35 years in manufacturing I never discovered a singular solution to this challenge. However, over these years I observed quite a few leadership actions that significantly contributed to less risk-taking, greater hazard awareness and genuine collaborative efforts among employees and supervisors. Leaders who understood, embraced, and implemented these strategies saw a dramatic reduction in incidents and injuries at their facilities.

In my experience, organizations with the best safety performances do not have a secret. They simply do a lot of small things collectively and strategically well.

That’s really what this book is about. It is a collection of leadership concepts, thoughts, words, and actions that (when strategically implemented) can move your organization toward a better safety future. There are no ‘silver bullets’ here. On the other hand, you don’t have to do all of these things to be successful in your safety journey.

The first section of the book takes a look at some fundamental concepts everyone who is striving to achieve safety excellence should understand. It includes a discussion on compliance versus commitment, how to develop a safety strategy, why people make mistakes and take risks, and an overview of a Just Culture.

The core of the book reviews some key research findings in social psychology, sociology and neuroscience. I share personal experiences of highly effective leadership. And I recount other situations that exemplify the wrong approach. In each case, I discuss how you can leverage these concepts in a practical way to improve your safety leadership skills. Topics include: how our thoughts can drive our behaviors when it comes to safety, how the words we use can be influential on personal decision-making, how social influence and leadership actions can drive safety performance, and how to facilitate the right personal safety conversation.

At the end of each chapter, there is a segment called the SAFETY LEADER’S TOOLBOX. This toolbox contains over 70 practical tools and tips for being a more effective safety leader! Readers are encouraged to consult the SAFETY LEADER’S TOOLBOX for small changes in what you think, say, and do to shape your safety culture.

I invite you to put on your safety shoes and walk with me. Together we will consider how you can lead your organization to exceptional safety performance. Spoiler alert! One essential leadership skill is knowing why, how, and what to talk about when it comes to safety.

Where do you begin? Start with a “Why” of caring. If you start with caring as your personal motive, you won’t have to do everything perfectly. Your employees will want to do the right things for the right reasons.

You can read this book in chapter order. You can also go to a specific chapter to learn more about a particular topic. Either way, you are encouraged to consult the SAFETY LEADER’S TOOLBOX throughout this book for small changes in what you think, say, or do to shape your safety culture.

Choose a set of tools from the TOOLBOX that will enable you to move toward your safety vision.

Start making a difference in the lives of others!


Praise for Safety WALK Safety TALK

…David’s tools can be used for safety management and business management. After 30+ years of experience in manufacturing and distribution, I have never seen a better resource.

…In my opinion, Galloway’s Safety Walk Safety Talk is THE “operating manual” for building and maintaining a permanently safe and caring organizational environment.

…This book does a fantastic job of describing how to achieve a safety culture of commitment and why that is important.

…Throughout the book, Galloway uses very pertinent examples of various roadblocks to safety culture excellence; but unlike many books on this subject, David pours out 35 years’ worth of extremely practical advice in “The Safety Leader’s TOOLBOX” that ends every chapter.

Safety Walk Safety Talk is one of the most pragmatic books on safety culture improvement that I have ever read and I have read plenty… Highly Recommended!

…If you want a book to help people have the right ideas in their head about living out regard for human life and safety, this is it. Dave Galloway is as authentic in person as he is in the book. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

…David Galloway’s Safety Walk Safety Talk is a must read and reference for operational leaders that desire to create a sustainable improvement in their safety performance. Galloway’s passion for safety is evident in each chapter as he provides a very practical step by step process and set of tools for leaders to use to create and shape a culture around safety.

Safety Walk Safety Talk is well-written, insightful and interesting to read. Mr. Galloway’s extensive use of data, examples and immediately applicable tools makes this a great reference for people managers at all levels. His research defines the everyday leadership behaviors needed to ensure an injury-free workplace.


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Why is personal change so hard? Consider the Endowment Effect

Humans are complicated.  While some of our base emotions and behaviors are easy to understand, there are times when we appear to make irrational decisions when faced with personal change.  For example, behavioral economists have identified a specific instance when we apparently place a very different value on something depending upon whether we own it or not.  Consider the following scenario.

Imagine a team performed an analysis on the layout of a work area.  The team concluded that a significant amount of waste of motion and waste of transportation would be removed if the work stations in the cell are re-arranged.  With a proposed new floor layout, each of the operators would walk shorter distances as they moved among the stations.  It would make it easier for them to accomplish their work each day. The location of the new work stations would be comparable in every way to the existing workstations – tools, space, lighting, climate, proximity to the work. This sounds like a positive outcome for everyone!

However, when the proposed plan is shared with the crew, it is met with surprising resistance by some of the operators.  This would seem to be an illogical decision.  These operators would rather walk further (and therefore work harder) than accept these minor personal changes to their work flow!  How can this be?

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Leverage opinion leaders to make change happen

Many people believe you must persuade the majority in order for change to occur. This is a myth. Instead, leaders should focus their efforts on a small but influential subgroup known as opinion leaders to get a new idea adopted.

[The post below is an excerpt from my book, Safety WALK Safety TALK ].

We accept change at different rates

opinion leaders

Everett Rogers originally published his theory on the Diffusion of Innovations in 1962. It is a theory that seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures. The book (now in its fifth edition) says diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system. The innovation or idea must be widely adopted in order to self-sustain.

In his book, Dr. Rogers tells a fascinating story of how he was prompted very early in his career to study how new ideas were adopted by the masses.

Immediately after graduating with a Ph.D. in sociology, Dr. Rogers accepted a job working with an agricultural extension service in Iowa. His primary responsibility was to work with the local farmers and encourage them to use newly developed varieties of corn which were proven in field tests to produce crops with higher yields, as well as being more disease-resistant. As a result, these strains of corn were more profitable than the current varieties.

Unfortunately, Dr. Rogers quickly learned he couldn’t connect with the farmers. He was a college-educated young man who had never plowed a field or planted corn. All his academic knowledge didn’t mean anything to the farmers. He lacked credibility.

He realized he needed to convince at least one farmer to try one of the new strains. That way, he reasoned, once this crop was proven to have higher yields, all the other farmers would follow suit and adopt the new innovation in corn seed.

Continue Reading

How Locus of Control Can Impact Injury Rate

Perhaps you know of someone who considers that most things that happen are caused by chance. Or they seem to accept that whatever significant events occur in their life, it was fate or luck that determined the outcome.

On the other hand, some people clearly believe that they control their own destiny. Their belief is that whatever happens to them is mostly due to the choices they make or the actions they take.

These disparate belief systems represent opposite ends of a continuum that social scientists refer to as Locus of Control. A person’s Locus of Control is where someone places the primary causation of events in his life. Those who believe their life is largely controlled by outside forces (externals) are on one end of the spectrum. Those who believe they control their own lives (internals) are on the other end of the spectrum.

Locus of Control is a psychological construct. This simply means that it is an instrument that can be used to describe a group of attitudes or behaviors.

Julian Rotter is credited with introducing the concept of Locus of Control. He based much of his research on the work of Albert Bandura, who developed social learning theory. In his seminal paper published in 1966, Rotter explains that people can interpret events as being either a result of one’s own actions or external factors. Rotter developed a scale to assess whether a person has a tendency to think that situations and events are under their own control (internal influences) or under the control of someone or something beyond their control (external influences).

Listed below are a few of the paired statements from the original Rotter Internal-External Locus of Control Scale:

1a. Becoming a success is a matter of hard work; luck has little or nothing to do with it.
1b. Getting a good job depends mainly on being in the right place at the right time.

2a. Many of the unhappy things in people’s lives are partly due to bad luck.
2b. People’s misfortunes result from the mistakes they make.

3a. One of the major reasons why we have wars is because people don’t take enough interest in politics.
3b. There will always be wars, no matter how hard people try to prevent them.

5a. Many times I feel that I have little influence over the things that happen to me.
5b. It is impossible for me to believe that chance or luck plays an important role in my life.

4a. In the long run, people get the respect they deserve in this world.
4b. An individual’s worth often passes unrecognized no matter how hard he tries.

Since Rotter’s original work, many other researchers have studied Locus of Control, often seeking to determine if it can be used to predict outcomes in more targeted domains. Here are a few examples of Locus of Control scales that were developed for specific purposes:

The Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale is used to assess an individual’s belief in what influences their health.
The Drinking Locus of Control Scale is focused on alcoholics and those who regularly consume alcohol to assess whether the person believes they can control their drinking.
The Headache Specific Locus of Control Scale targets chronic headache sufferers and whether they seek treatment or not.
The Parental Health Belief Scales are used to assess the extent to which a parent believes they have control over their child’s health.
The Economic Locus of Control Scale is used to assess an individual’s belief in how much control they have over the work and money-related aspects of their lives.
The Traffic Locus of Control Scale was developed to investigate possible links between driver Locus of Control and risky or unsafe driving behavior.

John Jones and Lisa Wuebker co-developed the Safety Locus of Control Scale. Let’s describe some of their research and summarize the important findings. Continue Reading

Humble Inquiry – How to build trust by asking instead of telling

inquiryAs a leader, do you spend more time asking or telling?

In the United States, we have a culture of “Do” and “Tell”.  We value task accomplishment more than relationship building.  It is a cultural bias that many of us have.  Many people in a supervisory or managerial role spend most of their time telling others what we think they need to know to get a job done, rather than asking for their input.

Status in most workplaces is gained by task accomplishment.  We are recognized and rewarded for getting things done.  Indeed, one of the most significant factors that determines whether someone is promoted or given more responsibility is the ability to complete work assignments.

In some cases, a mostly “tell” approach is all that is required to get a task accomplished.  Some examples include situations where the work is straightforward or where the employee is inexperienced.  These interactions are characterized by almost exclusively one-way communication.  While we can get work done using a telling approach, it does very little to build relationships.

There is a significant amount of interdependence in today’s workplace. We need effective communications and good relationships to be successful in completing complex tasks. To build these relationships, we need a different technique other than simply “telling.”

In this article, we compare the strategy of telling with one that is centered on a specific kind of asking known as humble inquiry.   We will learn that this attitude is critical for improving communications, developing relationships, and building trust.

The notion of humble inquiry was originally developed and explained by Edgar Schein.  He defines humble inquiry as:

“…asking questions to which you do not already know the answer; building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person.”

The strategy of asking by using humble inquiry is especially critical for facilitating an effective safety conversation. Many safety conversations that are initiated by people in authority are missing this key attribute. Unless you are willing to ask questions from a basis of genuine care for the employee, you will not build trust. Continue Reading