Shopping Cart

Your cart is empty

Continue Shopping

Episode 11 | Safety And… Behavior with David Sowers by LAPCO FR

Safety And... Behavior:

Lauren talks with David Sowers, Vice President at Knowledge Vine. Listen as they discuss Safety, Principles of Human Performance, Change Management Basics, The Role of Technology in the Future of Safety, Organizational Influence and Impact on Safety Culture, and play a game: Behavioral Analysis of 80s and 90s movie characters.




This podcast is sponsored by LAPCO Manufacturing. LAPCO: premium workwear since 1989.




0:00:28.9 Lauren Brizendine: Hey, hey, listeners, welcome to Safety And. A laughing and learning podcast where we talk about safety and whatever else is on your mind. I'm your host, Lauren Brizendine, and today we are talking safety and behavior with our guest, David Sowers. How are you David?


0:00:48.7 David Sowers: I'm doing well. How are you?


0:00:50.7 LB: I'm doing fantastic. Before we get started into the nitty-gritty of our interview, tell our listeners a little bit more about your background and exactly why is safety and behavior so important to you and what you do.


0:01:11.0 DS: Okay. Well, first of all, thanks for having me. I appreciate the opportunity to share with you and your audience.

My background is I was born and raised in Gulfport, Mississippi, so I'm a Southern boy myself. Coming out of high school, went right into the Navy, into the Nuclear Navy, so I did Navy nuclear power for a while. And that was the beginning of my interest in behavior and safety because the Navy nuclear power program is very regimented, very about the behavior piece, making sure that we understand the actions we're taking and that we know what the outcome is gonna be, and conservative decision-making, like, don't do something if you don't know what's gonna be the outcome of that. Yeah. After leaving the Navy, I went and worked commercial nuclear power for several years, for a while in New Jersey and then in Louisiana at a nuclear power plant there, and then worked with the Army Corps of Engineers for about a decade. And about six, seven years ago, one of the guys, one of my friends from my nuclear power days in Louisiana, we decided to step out and start bringing some of the benefits of a human performance process that we learned in nuclear power and leverage that into other organizations, other industries that could benefit from the safety, quality, and reliability benefits of human performance.


0:02:44.3 LB: So, David, tell us a little bit more about what industries your services span specifically?


0:02:51.2 DS: Well, human performance has its roots in nuclear power, so obviously still a lot of... We do a lot of work with the nuclear power industry. But aviation, construction, utility, oil and gas, anywhere there's the potential that there could be an injury or anywhere that work is critical. You have to make sure that we get it right, we got one shot at it, there's no do-overs. Human performance has... they're in those industries as well, too, and we work within every one of those industries.


0:03:25.9 LB: And I'd like you to also maybe expand a little bit about human performance and how that ties into behavior. Because it's really interesting when we spoke before what that means in terms of what your company does.


0:03:42.2 DS: Yeah. Human performance is kind of a problematic term for what it really does. Because if you Google human performance, there's a 50/50 chance that you're gonna get something about behaviors and safety, or you may get physiology or physical therapy, kinesiology, those sorts of things, where it's Improve your 40-yard dash time with human performance. So, it's all about the behavior, how we approach our work. The term human performance is also a little problematic in that when folks hear it, they think, Okay, I'm the human, what's wrong with my performance? And that's only half the story what the person is doing. A true human performance process is really looking at two things. Here's the big takeaway to what is human performance, I guess to answer your question, is two big parts: Is one, eliminating that active error, that in the moment error from the individual, where at the point of work, we're getting ready to grab a switch, turn on a pump, throw a breaker, use a tool, whatever that thing is, and we end up grabbing the wrong thing or taking the wrong action, those are called active errors. It happens, you hear the boom, you know something went wrong, it's like, Oh, what happened there?


0:05:00.9 DS: But there's so many things that led up to that moment that could have contributed to encouraging the person to make that mistake, or we didn't have systems in place that prevented that from happening, and those are organizational weaknesses, and those are the ways we set up work, and the way we set up workers to have things done. So, when human performance... Again, human performance sounds like we're just talking about the individual, but it's really two parts: It's the individual and it's the organization.


0:05:29.5 LB: Right. So, it has nothing to do with running, right? [chuckle] Like you said, human performance when you Google it, you will get a mixed bag. But that definitely makes a lot of sense.


0:05:42.4 DS: Well, running towards safety and running towards... Well, I guess it could be.


0:05:47.4 LB: I love what you did there.


0:05:49.0 DS: Put a little twist on it, okay, yeah.


0:05:52.3 LB: Yeah, for sure. What are some behaviors that maybe you see that people have been doing for decades upon decades? And I guess my question is, how do you change them if they are maybe bad behaviors? 'Cause I can imagine that's probably the biggest challenge in addition to, like you said, the active errors, it's how do you get someone to change the way they've been doing something for so long? It sounds like a very hard task.


0:06:29.6 DS: Yeah, it's an interesting question because it's different for everybody, it's really not a one-size-fits-all. But what you can say, by and large, is that nobody wants to make a mistake. Everybody comes to work with the best of intentions, they think today is gonna go well, they think that everything is gonna go right, they don't actively go out there unless this is sabotage, which is so rare, it's not even worth talking about. Nobody wants to make a mistake, and these habits like you're saying, these bad habits are really ingrained in... We make risky choices, but it works out. That's kind of a perverted truth. Lauren, have you ever sped in a car?


0:07:15.9 LB: Never. I would never, no. Yeah.


0:07:17.0 DS: Do you know anybody that may have one time accidentally sped? Like not you personally, of course.


0:07:25.5 LB: Yeah. Not me, but definitely, oh, I've known people who do speed.




0:07:29.8 DS: Right. Of course, there are those people, those bad people that speed.


0:07:31.4 LB: Definitely, yes.


0:07:31.7 DS: Hypothetical person that may or may not speed, certainly not in a company vehicle, right?


0:07:40.9 LB: Right, never.


0:07:43.6 DS: Why does a person speed? They know it's risky, they know it's not right, why do they do it? Because they get a ticket every time they go 11 miles over the speed limit or one mile over the speed limit?


0:07:56.5 LB: No, it's because they're not getting tickets.


0:08:00.8 DS: Right, because we get away with it. And it's something positive. If you reasoned with this person, not you, Lauren, this person is bad.


0:08:07.0 LB: Never.




0:08:10.1 DS: They left the house a little later, they got to work a little earlier, so they got that good parking spot, or they just loved the feeling of zipping out. There's something positive that they get from it, and it's usually getting some time back. So those bad behaviors that you're talking about that people have done for years and years and years, they do it because it continually just works for them. Luck is on their side until one day it's not. You can look at the accident... Or, listeners, think about the last accident or injury, and the actions that the person was taking, were they completely unique and out of the blue, or is it something that kind of everybody did on the crew or the team or the plan or whatever you do, and it just sort of caught this guy, like the stars aligned, the wheel turned, and it stopped on him.


0:08:58.5 DS: So, to work against that... That's a tough thing, is their own personal experiences, I could take a shortcut, I can take a little bit of risk, maybe I'm a little overconfident, I think I can manage the risk, I can control... I've been doing this a long time, if something gets off I know how to fix it. You're really working against their own experiences and trying to get people to understand that, hey, you can build these efficiencies, you could still be efficient without taking these risks. And think about the time lost to an accident or an injury or even just rework, or the not planning so you're going back for tools three times, whatever these things are.


0:09:38.3 DS: Human performance, safety is really its biggest and best byproduct. It's really about that accuracy of work, and when you're really accurate in what you're doing, you get a better-quality product, you're not doing rework, your productivity and efficiency and all those things are up too, so you show people that benefit. The adult learners have to know what's in it for me. There has to be some benefit over what they were doing before. If I'm going to adopt this new thing and I'm going to go through these new steps, and at first it seems a little uncomfortable and it's a little different because it's changed, it's a little bit of change, they have to know that there's that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow here, that there's something in it for me when this is all said and done. And getting folks to understand that not only is it just your personal safety, but the safety of others, and again, the productivity and quality and all those things that go along with it, you can get people to buy in. And it's a slow process, it's not an overnight thing.


0:10:42.3 LB: Yeah. That's kind of what I was gonna ask was, how do you get people to focus on those benefits, because I would think that perhaps there could be a negative reaction. You're trying to get me to change the way I do something, but how can you say, No, we're really trying to get you to focus on these benefits of doing it right I can imagine that's the biggest challenge. How do you get people to focus on that?


0:11:12.0 DS: Well, whether it's human performance or a new HR process or filling out your timesheet or... Whatever it is, it's all change management 101. If you're trying to change anything, one of the things that... Well, I'll just go through some of the steps. This isn't all inclusive but the two that come to mind in change management and getting people to adopt this change, one is you got to communicate, communicate, communicate at the front end. Why are we doing this? Don't just drop it in people's laps on Monday and saying, Hey, the people up in their ivory tower, in the conference room, said we're doing this now, go forth and prosper.


0:11:49.7 LB: Yeah, Good luck.


0:11:51.1 DS: Yeah, Good luck with it. Let me know how it works. I want to see those safety numbers coming down. Don't bother me. And so, a lot of times people don't... They're reluctant because they don't understand the goal, they don't understand what's happening, because leadership has done a poor job of communicating what the benefits are, and why we're doing this and what we expect as an outcome. What does good look like? We'll hand you this, but we don't show you what good looks like or really do a good job of coaching you and helping you work through it because it is... It's like driving a car. The first time you hop in, you're nervous and you fumble, and you make all kinds of mistakes, but you got a parent or a driving instructor in the seat next to you helping you with it, helping you get used to it until it becomes habit strength.


0:12:35.1 DS: So, the first thing is making sure your leadership is communicating, communicating, communicating what the benefits are. And the second thing, this gets lost all the time too, and it may seem a little elementary, but celebrating little wins. People start down this road and they'll take a few steps because we asked them to, but if they don't see a change in scenery pretty quickly, it's like, Let's just go back to where we were. When you are using... When you use it to say, Hey, we avoided rework, or This almost happened like a near miss that had we not gone through our human performance process and approached our work with better situational awareness, there's a very good chance that this could have gone wrong.


0:13:27.1 DS: And when that happens for one group, make sure that gets elevated and everybody hears about it and say, Hey, this is working. We've got a tangible real-life example of your buddy that you sit in the break room with and have lunch with breakfast with, and every day is willing to talk about, Hey, I did this, I got a peer check, and they caught something I messed up on. Or I took a second to pause and kind of self-check, and I realized that I was heading down the wrong road, and I stopped, and I went, and I got help. It sounds like not a whole lot when it... And maybe it wasn't a big event. Maybe it was just filling out the wrong paperwork or something that could have caused some... But, hey, good catch. And leadership, thanking that person and highlighting just exactly what happened and how the actions they were taking had benefited themselves or others, and then you start to build.


0:14:17.8 DS: Like I said, at first, there's nothing so insignificant you don't mention it as a win. And then eventually the bigger stuff, like, Holy cow, we almost killed a guy. Yeah, let's talk about that. And those become the bigger and bigger items. But you don't almost kill a guy every week, hopefully it's never, but you can't wait for that big event for everybody to go, Oh, that's why we've been doing this for the last four years. You gotta show them in the first week why you're doing it. And we have had companies that we've come into and we've been there a month, and they had that significant, like, Holy cow, if we had not done this, the human performance way, there's a really good chance we would have killed somebody. But that's so rare that most companies... And everybody knows we start something, then it starts to kind of fade, and how do you sustain things. This is a long answer, but to...


0:15:12.2 LB: I'm very interested. No, this is great.


0:15:15.3 DS: Yeah, just the two things. How do you teach an old dog new tricks, I guess, is what you're asking is, one, you gotta show them the benefit, you gotta communicate how we're going about this, what we expect, what does good look like? And then you gotta celebrate wins, little wins along the way, and those are gonna get you those bigger wins that are more impactful, but you have to have those little wins along the way.


0:15:44.6 LB: Well, I like that you talked about it as more of a proactive approach, because I think that sometimes, with safety and accidents, to go along with what you're saying, something happens and then it's all very reactive. But it seems like, in celebrating those small wins, you're taking proactive steps to kind of prevent that. So, I really like how you position that answer, it was great.


0:16:13.2 DS: Oh, thank you.


0:16:14.1 LB: Yeah. What type of future do you imagine for companies that use behavioral safety in their safety training and culture? And I guess what I'm essentially asking is, a lot of companies might promote an accident-free zone or an accident-free workplace, like, that's truly their goal. Do you think that's possible with behavioral safety, or is there a better way to focus it?


0:16:45.8 DS: You're never gonna get... Zero accidents is a target, it is a goal. It's not a destination. As long as we have humans involved, there are gonna be errors, there's gonna be accidents, there's gonna be mistakes. The goal is to try to minimize those errors and accidents, and to decrease the severity when they do happen. There's a big difference between your elevator breaking or your escalator breaking. Yeah, they both broke, but you can minimize that impact. We say this all the time when we come in and talk to clients or talk... We're providing training to some of different organizations, as if we walked in here and we said, Hey, we're gonna do human performance and you will never have another accident ever. Would that be credible? Of course not. People are going to make mistakes, it's gonna happen, but you can certainly minimize the frequency and severity of those mistakes when they do occur.


0:17:45.8 DS: And the best... To answer the part of the question where you were saying, what does the future look like, the best predictor of the future is looking at past results when organizations did this. So, you can look at nuclear power and aviation, and see the results they've gotten with human performance, and how safe they are. When I say nuclear power, your first thing... Everybody's always kinda... That's kinda scary, 'cause all we see is Three Mile Island and Chernobyl and Fukushima, and we think these horrible things happened. But they're actually incredibly safe industries. When was the last time you heard about an airplane crashing? Tens of thousands of airplanes every day take off and land, and it's incredibly complicated and complex process, and they do it flawlessly, day in and day out. And nuclear power, it sounds like a scary industry, but it's actually safer to work in nuclear power. It's rated as the safest industry to work in. It's safer than working in finance, in real estate, in insurance, in hospitality. All these industries, to go work... It's crazy to me. To go work in finance, you're more likely to get hurt working in an office building than you are in a nuclear power plant.


0:19:06.0 LB: Right. Well, it's interesting you say that because I think there is a misconception sometimes that someone who, let's say, might be like an adrenaline junkie and they wanna ride dirt bikes like, oh, that person must live a very unsafe lifestyle. But then actually they are among some of the safest people you know because they do the proper research and training and they practice, and they've practiced their form. So really, to your point, they are safer than me at my office. I joke all the time that I have some awful habits that through this podcast, I'm slowly changing, so maybe I need to get some human performance in my personal life. But I love that you bring that up, and it kind of parlays me into asking you, what are your personal behaviors like especially working in this kind of industry? I can only imagine that it must be interesting to kind of reflect the mirror at yourself, and I'm curious as to what that looks like for you.


0:20:16.1 DS: It's over time again, it's not... I didn't walk in day one into nuclear power into the Navy, and I had it licked. I had to over time build these behaviors, but you should see me and my business partner in a car, one's driving and other's navigating. It's like, Hey, two streets out, you're gonna take a right on to Oak Street, understand, two streets up right on to Oak street, and he's like, That's correct. And this chatter, it probably sounds weird to anybody riding in the back seat or something, but I could tell you this, we've never made a wrong turn. He's never turned left on to Oak Street. [chuckle] It's the simple things that when they become habit strength is really... And I torture my family with it too, which is crazy. [laughter] It's tax season or maybe it's past tax season by the time this comes out, but as we're filling out number... You should hear, Okay, what's it say on line 13? I've got the paperwork and my wife's plugging it into the TurboTax, and it's like... It's not... It's one, two, three. Because how easy is it to confuse numbers, does 215 sound a lot like 250?


0:21:25.5 LB: Definitely.


0:21:27.9 DS: And we're sitting side by side doing that and I wanna make sure... Or when I'm calling a help line and they say, Okay, give us your account number, give us... Phonetic alphabet, I'm like, One Alpha, two Bravo, three... And I love it when the other person on the other side of the phone is like, they repeat it back and they use it 'cause I know they got the right number and they're not about to transfer my money into somebody else's. [chuckle] And the kids, the effective communication piece. This is my daughter, she's 27 now, but she still can be horrified by Dad.


0:22:01.0 LB: Oh, of course. [laughter]


0:22:03.1 DS: When she got her driver's license, we had the permit for a year, we're doing the practice, she got her license, and the first few times she goes out, I'm just in all earnest, just like a supervisor at work in all earnestness, I'm like, Drive safe, promise me you're gonna drive... You're gonna be safe? You're gonna drive safe? She's like, Okay, yeah. She's out the door and probably texting, On my way LOL, whatever. 'Cause what is her vision of drive safe? What does that mean? I just left it wide open, felt like vague guidance.


0:22:32.1 LB: Yeah I think that's a slogan for insurance or something, so yeah, that'd give me... [laughter]


0:22:37.9 DS: You fill that bucket with whatever you want. Because her idea of drive safe was have one knee as you're... [chuckle] I'm gonna do two knees instead of one, who knows! And I thought about that and I'm like from a human performance standpoint, I'm not showing her what good looks like or giving her something tangible to... Let's focus on this. Then it became not just, drive safe, but like, Hey, today while you're out, think about your following distance, staying back enough, or think about signaling early enough or looking in your blind spots or looking ahead when brake lights come on, get off the gas, hover over the break. Specific behaviors of what drive safe means, instead of telling a 16-year-old, Be safe.


0:23:24.2 LB: Yeah. Oh gosh that... You're right, that can mean so many things to them or not mean some things, you know. [chuckle]


0:23:33.3 DS: Right. It's in one ear and out the other, but how often does your supervisor, you know, Okay, everybody knows what they're doing? Go do the dangerous work and oh yeah, be safe.


0:23:43.9 LB: Yeah.


0:23:44.7 DS: What does that mean? How about self-check? Peer check? Use a good questioning attitude, make sure you're in the right equipment, all these things that you can give them tangible things to do rather than just vague guidance of Be safe. And then the day ends with, Good job. Good job doing what? You weren't watching, I took every shortcut in the book, I got done on time, I had a good result. But you don't know it was a good job.


0:24:07.9 LB: But did I really... Yeah, maybe you did an awful job.


0:24:11.2 DS: But I got away with it 'cause it just sort of worked out today.


0:24:15.7 LB: Oh man, I love that you've kind of come full circle about that. And I do want to go back to what you talked about earlier when we were talking about the future of safety with human performance. How do you feel about non-human performance? And by that, I mean, I'm gonna ask this, the impact of AI and robots. How does that play into this whole equation as well because I think I would be missing something if I didn't ask that question to kinda make the connection of human performance and then AI performance. What are your thoughts there?


0:25:00.2 DS: I love the idea of automating everything we can automate, to take it out of the hands of people that are fallible. Everybody's fallible. There's five major principles of human performance and the first one is people are fallible, even the best are going to make mistakes. Now, for AI, there's still that... It's not devoid of any human influence because somebody's doing the programming, somebody's doing the maintenance, somebody's doing the equipment, so there's still opportunities for these things to mess up even well short of the Matrix or all these horrible [chuckle] the Terminator ideas or whatever. There's still gonna be that human influence, but less and less, it'll have that impact, because the more you could take it out of the individual's hands because... Computers don't wake up and have a bad day. They're not distracted by other things. It's ones and zeros. When this happens, we do that. Look at driving your car... It is gone, and I can't remember the numbers, but for every million miles driven in the 1940s and 1950s, fatalities were way higher, the cars were built in a way that they wanted them to be tanks, now, you build a car like it's almost disposable. We want everything crumbling, so the person doesn't take the impact.


0:26:22.1 DS: And look at the technology in these cars now. We're almost getting to the point where they're gonna be self-driving. 94% of vehicle accidents, this is according to the NTSB, 94% of vehicle accidents are caused by human error. When we get to where cars are automated and they're just driving themselves, they react so much quicker, they're not distracted by the radio, they don't doze off, they don't... You can eliminate that piece. So, I'm all for it, but there's still gonna have to be the human element to help with that, but wherever you can utilize technology to take some of the decision-making or some of the opportunity to make a mistake out of the individual's hands, that's great. Get your person away from the hazard, get them away from the danger, and let AI take over and let them have it.


0:27:19.0 LB: And to kind of circle back to what you've been talking about, I think this will also take a little bit of time in human adaptation, because I actually got to ride in an electric car and experienced the self-driving and I didn't love it. If I'm being 100% honest, I didn't trust it 100%. So, there's still the element, I think, of also us adapting to how AI can be beneficial, a little bit of a struggle there. So, the fine question I usually like to close the interview with is very personal, but if you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, real, or fictional, and talk to them about human performance or pick their brain, who would they be and why?


0:28:17.1 DS: Well, they would have to be living.


0:28:20.1 LB: Okay.


0:28:21.5 DS: And real, I guess.


0:28:22.7 LB: Okay.


0:28:24.0 DS: I don't wanna have dinner with three dead people.


0:28:25.8 LB: Well, I'm allowing you maybe...


0:28:27.4 DS: I know, I'm just kidding.


0:28:28.2 LB: Okay, I was like, if you wanna pick Martin Luther King Jr. I'm allowing that for this question.


0:28:36.7 DS: Yeah, no, I know. Oh, gosh, three people that I wanna have dinner, probably... Okay, coming out of nuclear power, one would be Nikola Tesla.


0:28:48.7 LB: You are the second person to pick him.


0:28:51.9 DS: Really?


0:28:52.3 LB: Yes, and now I'm like, I know a little bit about his influence, but the more people will talk about it, I'm like, Oh man, I gotta go read some more books or, you know.


0:29:03.2 DS: Yeah, and just to have a little fun conflict, I guess the second one would probably be Thomas Edison.


0:29:10.5 LB: Yes.


0:29:11.6 DS: Just 'cause I sort of feel like Nikola Tesla gets screwed over by Thomas Edison. I'd love to get those two face-to-face and just kinda stir the pot a little bit and see if...


0:29:20.6 LB: Yeah, maybe get them to play a game show or something, 'cause that would be...


0:29:24.2 DS: Yeah, yeah. I'd love to see them just kinda go at it. That would be fun to see.


0:29:28.0 LB: Oh, man.


0:29:28.5 DS: Nikola Tesla, he was like brilliant, and just doesn't get the credit he deserves. I think that Thomas Edison probably got too much and stole some stuff from Tesla, and I'd love to poke that bear and go, Hey, you know he stole this from you, and just see them go at it 'cause... And I guess I probably need some kind of referee as the third person there in case it does get out of hand.


0:29:51.7 LB: Yeah, just random referee person, I like it, and I'm definitely going...


0:29:54.2 DS: Yeah, probably like Big John McCarthy from the UFC. He's 6'4, he could probably bust up Nikola and Thomas Edison if they really got...


0:30:01.5 LB: I was about to say, this is not a dinner, this is more like a sporting event, so definitely...


0:30:07.3 DS: Yeah, get on a show, why not?


0:30:09.7 LB: Yeah.


0:30:10.1 DS: If we can make dinner entertaining, let's do that.


0:30:13.7 LB: Definitely.


0:30:15.0 DS: I would avoid ordering like soups and things that maybe just...


0:30:16.0 LB: Oh, for sure.


0:30:16.5 DS: We'll start with the bread, 'cause we could throw that around and pick it up easy, but yeah, and you're making me really plan out this whole fictional dinner now.


0:30:24.6 LB: Well, I'm definitely here for it, and I think I appreciate, 'cause I can imagine someone, nuclear science. So, for you to take a creative question and embrace it, I really appreciate that.


0:30:36.9 LB: Safety And podcast will be back after this message from our sponsor.



[sponsor message]


At LAPCO, we know what it takes to get the job done. That is why we are proud of the work we are doing and the products we produce, like our DH uniform collection. These products are made from Westex DH or dual-hazard fabric. This inherent blend weighs six and half ounces and is spun from Tencel, modacrylic, and para-aramid fibers. Our DH collection includes a basic uniform shirt, uniform pant, and coverall in khaki, Navy, and royal blue for men’s. Red and ladies' styles are available by special make request. Inherent protection for a multitude of hazardous conditions, learn more about our DH products at LAPCO, premium workwear since 1989.


0:31:34.3 LB: Welcome back listeners. I am here with David Sowers and we are talking about safety and behavior. So, I wanna talk a little bit more about how organizations can influence workers to behave more safely. I know we talked a little bit more about kind of the end user and the workers, but what do you think organization's role is in all of this?


0:32:03.8 DS: Well, a lot of times what organizations think their role is, it's just we're gonna set goals, or we're gonna set policies, we're gonna make statements like Target Zero or Safety First. And we say that, and the people inherently know what to do, they don't... A lot of times what fails is putting the processes in place to help set people up for success. 90% of the time when there's an accident or error, there's some kind of component that the organization was responsible for that... I don't wanna say set them up for failure, but it wasn't setting them up for success. I'll give you a good example. There's some real simple examples, we had a major oil and gas company call us and say, Hey, we've had issues with OSHA recordable incidents over the last six months, and we really wanna get on top of that. So can you come in and work with us and help with those safe behaviors. What can we do? So, we show up and we ask them, what kind of things are you running into? And it's like, glove use. Just wearing the gloves, seems really simple.


0:33:06.5 LB: Yeah.


0:33:07.9 DS: So, if I'm a leader, it's like if I tell you to wear gloves and I provide the gloves, we shouldn't have a problem with glove use.


0:33:15.5 LB: Right.


0:33:15.7 DS: But I said in the last five weeks, we averaged two or three out of our observations, they weren't wearing gloves when they were handling a pipe or handling tools or handling material, whatever that thing is, and we're constantly, Hey, make sure you're wearing your gloves. Make sure you're wearing your gloves. I say, Okay, what do you do with that? Well, at the end of the month, we roll them up. We usually have 15, 20 of these incidents and we send out an email and we say, Hey, still need to work on glove use.


0:33:42.1 DS: And that's kind of the end of it, it's almost just this awareness thing is all we do. So, I said, Okay, we'll see what we can do to help with... Help encouraging the behavior of wearing gloves, so our guy goes out, he's in the field and he sees somebody bare hand a piece of pipe, and he stops him, and he's like, Hey, what's the... Are you aware, first of all, that you're supposed to wear gloves when you're handling material? He's like, Yeah. Oh yeah, yeah, I know it. Okay, well, what encouraged you to not do that instead of saying put your gloves on and walking off and I've just checked the box, I've collected my bean for the bean counters and look at me, I did a good job. I caught somebody not wearing gloves, and I told him to wear gloves, and then I walked off, we said, what encouraged you to not wear those gloves? And the guy goes, Well, Steve has the gloves, his office is about a quarter mile away, I'm not even sure he's here today, and so I just thought it was just real quick, I'm gonna move it six feet, I thought real quick, I'll pick it up, I'll go, the risk is low. I'll just make it happen like... Okay, thanks. Thanks for talking to us. Went and found Steve, he was there that day, and said... So yeah... But... It's not a conflict thing, you know it's just...


0:34:53.9 LB: Right.


0:34:54.3 DS: It's... That was his thought process. It wasn't like he didn't think, I'm about to go violate a rule, he thought, I gotta make this happen.


0:35:01.1 LB: Yeah.


0:35:01.8 DS: This has gotta happen... I wanna take the time to do this. It seems like the risk is low, I'm just... I'm gonna make it happen real quick, I should be okay. So, our guy goes and talks to Steve and we're like, So what's... He... Access. It was access to the gloves, you know... Was the problem and...


0:35:17.0 LB: Right.


0:35:17.7 DS: Where are the gloves? He said, Yeah, I got 'em locked up over here and, we said, why are they locked up... Are they like super valuable gloves and he's like, no they're just regular... Get 'em for two bucks a piece, but they're the hand protection we need, and he said, okay, well, next to the job site, they had this tool bin that had all kinds of stuff in it.


0:35:34.2 LB: Yeah.


0:35:34.6 DS: The empty space can we put the gloves in there. And he's like, Yeah, no problem. So our guy took the box of gloves, walked up to the job site, put it in the bin, they went five weeks before they had the next not wearing gloves observation, because now we just changed the calculus for that guy to say, I don't have gloves, it's gonna be a pain to get the gloves, I'll just take the risk, to I could take one big step to my right, grab the gloves, put 'em on, that's how the organization can influence instead of having a rule or a policy and awareness make it easy. Make it easy to choose safety, the easier it is to choose anything, the more you're gonna get of it, and safety is no exception, so look at how we set up the work and look at how we set up the worker, if we're gonna give 'em a rule make it easier to follow the rule.


0:36:19.9 LB: Yeah, no, I like that you're kind of talking about just the importance of the organization's involvement, do you think that incentive programs are also a good way to encourage safe behavior... I... It's a little bit of a mixed bag when I read about... Give people incentives to behave safely, and I'm curious as to... Especially from a behavioral standpoint, what do you think that kind of encourages... When organizations do that?


0:36:52.8 DS: It does two things, it... First, yes, it will... Positive reinforcement is great for the right behaviors, if you're seeing the right behavior... Positive reinforcement absolutely works. And you should do it. One of the problems with incentivizing safety, it's not the safe behaviors, what they usually incentivize is the safe outcome, so they'll say, if we can go a month without an OSHA recordable, we're gonna do a pizza party.


0:37:19.3 LB: Right.


0:37:20.0 DS: So, I go out there and I'm the guy that cuts my hand or something, and I should really go report it, but now I'm sitting there going, I'm about to... The whole plant's gonna be mad at Dave, because he killed our pizza party or whatever the incentive is...


0:37:35.7 LB: Yeah, no that's...


0:37:36.6 DS: And so, what it does is it pushes reporting underground. So, it's not that you're being any safer, it's just you're not talking about it that much, you're... People are... They want the reward, so they're willing to kind of... Maybe I won't talk about this piece that happens, so as long as you're rewarding the right behavior, if somebody maybe in smaller doses, but hey, in all our observations, everybody was wearing their gloves, not that nobody got their hand hurt, but everybody was wearing their gloves... That's the right behavior that's gonna lead to the outcome you want versus... I don't know if we got the outcome we want, I just know nobody told us they got hurt because they're all looking for the gift card or the... The voucher or whatever that thing was. So, it's... You gotta be careful, these incentives, it's like a knife, a knife is a great tool, you can cut your meat, or you can stab your neighbor, you know it's all in how you use it.


0:38:30.0 LB: Yeah no... No, that's an excellent point. And no one wants to feel that everyone else is getting punished... Like the whole class is getting punished for you, so...


0:38:42.6 DS: Yeah, you blew it.


0:38:42.7 LB: Yeah, that...


0:38:42.8 DS: I'm not gonna talk about it. It doesn't even have to be an incentive piece, it could... People do that when they're counting the numbers, just even if there's no incentive at stake, especially if you're a contractor and you know, man, if we... If our safety numbers are bad, we might get kicked off, they'll get another contractor in here, I'm... A lot of times they won't report something that happened because the job's at risk.


0:39:04.0 LB: Yeah.


0:39:05.1 DS: So, you gotta be careful either in incentivizing the absence of reporting, are they not reporting because it's not happening or are they not reporting because there's an incentive at stake, so you gotta be careful with it, but when you do see the right behaviors, yeah absolutely. On the behavior piece, not the result piece, incentivize the behavior, don't incentivize the result 'cause you don't know if the result's there because of hiding or the behavior led to it.


0:39:29.9 LB: No, that's a great point. I do want to transition into our fun thing, which I'm really excited about the behavior piece, any closing thoughts, whether it's around nuclear science, whether it's more about safety and behavior, just kind of bring it home for us.


0:39:52.1 DS: Again, I always try to come back to this at the end. I've mentioned it in the beginning because it gets lost so often, it's not about the individual. When you hear human performance it's not just about the person, it's about the organizational influences, how do we set them up for failure? How do we set them up for success? And this is an interesting exercise, when you asked the question earlier, how does it... How has it shaped my personal behavior, my personal thoughts... I so quick go to... Okay, I do this thing called the substitution test, and this is a good little tip for all of your managers and the supervisors or anybody out there, next time an accident happens, or something goes wrong, it doesn't have to be an accident, it could just be rework or something like that, the next time that happens, do a thing called the substitution test. And what that is, is imagine taking the person that made the mistake, take them out of that situation, put an equally qualified person in the same situation and say, could they make the same mistake? Not would they, but could they? So, if the answer is yes, they could, is it a person problem, or is it a process problem? We set a process up that allowed the worker to make these mistakes, they were set up in the same way. And you can look at it and go, Yeah, it was Bob today, but it just as easily could have been Jim or Sally tomorrow.


0:41:15.2 LB: Right.


0:41:16.1 DS: And you don't hammer the person. Let's think about, Okay, how did we encourage this and set this up, and that's big picture human performance. And when you start to eliminate the organizational influences, you get more and more of that safety that you want, you get more and more of those outcomes that you want. And what we like to say is, imagine... I guess, I'm gonna leave you with two thoughts, not just one.


0:41:41.5 LB: Oh, good.


0:41:41.9 DS: Two for one. One-on-one.


0:41:42.9 LB: Oh, I love it. Super.


0:41:45.8 DS: Think about your work as like a goalie. And people come to us and they're like, Fix our goalies. Make it where... It doesn't matter how many shots our goal has; they're stopping all of them. They keep everything out of the net. And we you go, Okay, how about if we stop the number of shots on goal they have to defend? So, the organization, if you could get that frontline defense keep in the puck or the ball or whatever away from the goalie, great. And when something does slip through, so it's two-fold. Do you want your goalie be... You want them good, but you don't wanna wear them out and they're just shot after shot after shot and they're blocking and they're doing great, and that one time something slips through, we're like, You're terrible. It's like now the organization, they're bombarded.


0:42:24.6 LB: Right.


0:42:26.7 DS: So really think about, try to keep that balance between the active error from the individuals and those organizational influence that helps set those things up, to be fair to the people that are working for and with us, and not just giving them an impossible task and saying, Go, be safe.


0:42:43.2 LB: Yeah.


0:42:43.7 DS: Use your vague, Be safe, again. What a way to look at that closing, it's almost Lauren brings on only the best, apparently, right?


0:42:48.8 LB: I love that. No, I love it.


0:42:50.0 DS: You can all relate back to be safe.


0:42:51.8 LB: Yeah, I love this sports metaphor. A good metaphor is always a good time for me. So, I really like how you painted that picture and I think that is a good way to look at it. So, I do wanna thank you for talking with us about safety and behavior. But now, we are gonna do the fun thing.


0:43:14.9 DS: I've been having fun, I just... I'm hurt, Lauren. [laughter]


0:43:19.4 LB: No, no, no, no. Well, I say the fun thing because I've said this in earlier episodes, I never really know where the interview is gonna take me when we talk about safety. And sometimes, there could be a little bit of a... I don't wanna call it a negative aspect, but there can be some things that we talk about that are difficult to swallow, maybe get a little emotional. So, I always like to end on just like a palate cleanser, like a nice, something kind of fun, people just kind of being people. And we had talked about your ability to know a lot of movie characters, especially from the '80s and '90s, so I wanted to take that, and I created a game called Behavioral Analysis. So, what I am going to do is, I am going to give you three behaviors of some famous characters from '80s and '90s movies, and you can identify that character for us. Does that sound like a good time?


0:44:34.5 DS: Yup. Can I put a disclaimer out there?


0:44:36.9 LB: What is it? What's that?


0:44:39.0 DS: This is not... When we talked about this... This is not like something I have sought out. I don't have collections of '80s and '90s DVDs, I don't go to trivia night, it's not fun for me. This is just this weird... I don't know why, I don't have a particular interest, but it just sticks in there like the useful stuff I need to know like cups in a gallon. But I should probably have in my head, I don't know, because this stuff is occupying this weird space, so I don't wanna... This isn't like a passion of mine or anything. [chuckle] It's almost a curse.


0:45:12.9 LB: Well, it was a fun game for me to create because fun fact, I love '80s and '90s movies. So, I kind of just picked a few that I thought would be really fun to go through.


0:45:25.4 DS: Yeah. So, if I miss the first three of them, it's not like, Oh, that guy is terrible at what he loves. It's like, no, it's just... [chuckle]


0:45:30.7 LB: No, it's just a fun thing.


0:45:32.8 DS: Alright.


0:45:33.5 LB: And I'll be happy to give you some additional hints 'cause I always want everyone to succeed in this. So, the first behavior I have is, behaviors by this '90s SNL character include excessive thumbs-upping, overuse of the word excellent and a little bit of co-dependency with his best friend, Garth.


0:46:01.9 DS: Oh, that's funny. So, it's Wayne's World.


0:46:06.5 LB: Yes, yes. Wayne Campbell doing game.


0:46:08.4 DS: When you started it there, the thumbs up and the overuse of excellent and you said, SNL, I was going with Jimmy Fallon.


0:46:14.2 LB: Yes.


0:46:14.7 DS: Because he's got a rep for everything's excellent, excellent. To the point where like, is anything not excellent?


0:46:23.8 LB: Well, it sounds like my dad 'cause he listens to every show and he'll always call me and say, You used the word excited too much in this episode. You used the word... So, I've become very aware of...


0:46:37.6 DS: Yeah.


0:46:38.6 LB: Am I always excited? But I think I am also always excited, so awesome job.


0:46:42.4 DS: Mike Myers as Wayne. It was like in Wayne's World.


0:46:46.7 LB: Yes. Now, this one's a little bit... It's a little bit more difficult, but the behavior exhibited by this '80s red-haired character include a compulsive shopping addiction, especially with luxury brands of Beverly Hills, a possible mid-life crisis, but unlimited love for her daughter and her Girl Scout troop. Who is the character?


0:47:21.0 DS: Compulsive shopping, a daughter, and a red... You got me.


0:47:26.1 LB: Yeah. Okay, I figured I would 'cause this was probably more popular.


0:47:29.8 DS: When you said '80s redhead, I went right to Molly Ringwald, and I could not pivot.


0:47:35.4 LB: So, the answer is Phyllis Nefler played by Shelley Long on the movie Troop Beverly Hills. It's a little bit more... It might be a little bit more tailored for my audience, but I was like, You know what, he might be able to get it. So, it's alright, I have a few more that I know you're gonna get.


0:47:56.1 DS: Shelley Long was from Cheers, right?


0:48:00.5 LB: Yes, the redhead...


0:48:02.0 DS: Okay.


0:48:03.0 LB: Yeah. So, the behavior exhibited by this John Hughes' character include youngest child syndrome, violence towards adults who try to rob his house, but his ability to forgive his family after extreme personal trauma.


0:48:25.3 DS: Well, that's Kevin from Home Alone.


0:48:28.3 LB: Kevin McCallister, yes.


0:48:30.1 DS: Played by Macaulay Culkin.


0:48:32.1 LB: Yes.


0:48:32.4 DS: I did hear I think recently too, that's funny, so talking about doing a remake, and I saw the best idea. Somebody said, Cast 40-year-old Macaulay Culkin to play 10-year-old Kevin and don't address it, just everybody acts like he's 10. I would watch that... I would so buy a ticket to that movie if he redid the character, but as a 40-year-old, and everybody acted like he's 10.


0:48:58.1 LB: Oh my God, well, I'm gonna see it regardless, but I definitely wanna see that version as well, because the idea of that is hysterical to me. Well, you are doing great. I have a couple of more for you, and I am going to stay on the topic of John Hughes because he has created so many memorable characters.


0:49:19.4 DS: If you're talking '80s, '90s, you're talking John Hughes.


0:49:22.7 LB: Definitely, so I had to have a couple from him, but the behavior exhibited by this '80s John Hughes character includes he enjoys singing in the shower, he has a lack of interest in school and...


0:49:39.0 DS: Ferris Bueller.


0:49:40.7 LB: Yes, yes, I didn't even have to say his manipulation over his friends, parents, and principal. But as I was building this quiz, I was like, some of these characters really have some issues, I think, based on these behaviors.


0:49:58.3 DS: Got a tricky question for you.


0:50:00.6 LB: Oh gosh, oh God, I'm the interviewer. What is this? What's going on?


0:50:05.5 DS: Oh no,


0:50:06.1 LB: What's going on?


0:50:07.7 DS: So, Macaulay Culkin, his first movie with John Hughes was not Home Alone. Do you know what his first movie was? And that's where John Hughes was like, I gotta write a movie around this kid.


0:50:21.5 LB: Was it My Girl, or was it Richie Rich or?


0:50:24.7 DS: No, those are later.


0:50:26.8 LB: I'm trying...


0:50:27.9 DS: It's one of his earliest movies. John Candy starred in it.


0:50:31.7 LB: Is it Uncle Buck? No, he...


0:50:32.9 DS: Uncle Buck.


0:50:34.5 LB: Kevin was in Uncle Buck?


0:50:37.0 DS: Macaulay Culkin was in Uncle Buck. He was the little boy... They had the little boy, the little girl, the teenage daughter. He was the little boy.


0:50:42.9 LB: I have not seen that movie. And you know, it's funny, when I was building the quiz...


0:50:47.8 DS: You need to watch it again.


0:50:48.8 LB: Yeah. I almost put Uncle Buck as a character, but then I was like, well, I haven't seen that movie in a while, so I'm not... I can't just quickly think of behaviors, but yeah, oh my gosh, I know what I'm doing after.


0:51:03.8 DS: Do you remember when the girlfriend came over and he's flipping through the mail slot, and...


0:51:08.9 LB: I'm serious, it's probably been 25 years. Oh, my goodness.


0:51:12.7 DS: It's pretty good. It's pretty... That's Macaulay's big scene was like, Can I see some ID? Can you take it out?


0:51:19.7 LB: It sounds like I'm like, I'm sure when I see it I'm gonna be like, oh my goodness, I remember. Well, I'm gonna close on an...


0:51:27.4 DS: You got it. You got it.


0:51:28.6 LB: Yeah, I'm gonna close on an awesome one from one of my favorite movies. It’s actually behaviors exhibited by this '90s character are anger and rage at people's disrespect for water, an unhealthy obsession with water, and also mom issues.


0:51:55.1 DS: This is another SNL alumni?


0:51:57.4 LB: Yes.


0:51:58.8 DS: Oh, this gotta have to be The Waterboy, Bobby Boucher, played by Adam Sandler.


0:52:04.3 LB: Yes, I picked that one, particularly because I was stalking your LinkedIn page and I saw you had made a post about it, and I was like, Oh, this is gonna be great for the closing. I think he'll really appreciate that.


0:52:16.8 DS: It wasn't a random post, so...


0:52:18.9 LB: It wasn't, of course.


0:52:19.8 DS: This was a good mention. So, every Thursday, if you go to, you can sign up for to get the links to... Get on the email list. Every other Thursday, we do a human performance community of practice. We host it, and it talks about all kinds of issues, a lot of the stuff that we talked about. If this interests you at all, again,, you can see the sign up for it. You're not gonna get on a mailing list, we're not gonna contact you, just get you these, what you would get on a mailing list, reminders for every other Thursday. But they were talking brain science, and why do people make some of the decisions they made? So, on LinkedIn, I made a joke, free hat to the first person that says, Mama always says alligators are so ornery 'cause they got so many teeth and no toothbrush. So, I wasn't just on LinkedIn putting random quotes. It kind of applied, it was sort of work-ish.


0:53:09.5 LB: You never know where inspiration is gonna strike, and actually it was... I know we were kind of struggling on how we were gonna tie all this into a game at the end. And when I actually saw that I was like, Oh, this would be great. Yes, and I do...


0:53:24.4 DS: Who was his mama? Who was Bobby Boucher's mama?


0:53:27.5 LB: Kathy Bates, which I love her in all of the movies that she's in.


0:53:33.0 DS: Oh, anything, yeah.


0:53:34.3 LB: Yeah, she is fantastic. Well, thank you so much. This was truly very informational and super fun. You were a great guest, and I loved everything we talked about. David, I am super excited that we did this.


0:53:50.5 LB: Special thanks to David Sowers, Vice President at Knowledge Vine for talking with us today about safety and behavior. For more on today's topic, visit




0:54:11.0 LB: If you enjoyed listening to the Safety And... Podcast today, be sure to like, review, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Also, if you're interested in being a guest on our show, please email That's


Since this is a safety podcast, you should probably mention this disclaimer. The Safety And... Podcast is recorded and made available by LAPCO Manufacturing, Inc. Solely for informational and entertainment purposes. The statements, comments, views, and opinions expressed in this podcast should not be considered by any listener as professional provision, and/or direct a specific course of action. The statements, comments used, and opinions expressed here including by speakers who are not employees or agents by LAPCO, are not necessarily views of LAPCO and may not be correct. This podcast may not be reproduced, redistributed, published, copied, or digital edited in any form by any means without prior consent from LAPCO Manufacturing, Inc.


This Lauren Brizendine with LAPCO, and remember, safety doesn't happen by accident, so stay safe, and see you next time on The Safety And... Podcast. The Safety And... Podcast is produced by LAPCO Manufacturing, with marketing and media by Lauren Brizendine and Tiffany Giroir, audio engineering by Christopher Hamlin, and music by Smoke House Beats.


That's easy. Cool.