Catherine Mee, Author at Chris Mee Group | CMSE - Page 2 of 17
21
Jul

How Leaders can promote worker well-being through Psychological Safety

This week our CMSE Safety Consultant Aisling Hegarty outlines the benefits of promoting Psychological Safety in the workplace.

American Professor, Social Scientist and Author Brené Brown explains that in order for leaders to be successful in their role they should have the vulnerability and courage to be there for people, even in times of fear and uncertainty. In her book Daring Greatly she says. “Daring leaders work to make sure people can be themselves and feel a sense of belonging.”

For a long time, workplace safety considered only the physical and chemical hazards as the key risks to employees. For example, manual handling, slip, fall or trip hazards, noise, industrial chemicals. However, the increasing awareness of addressing the psychosocial factors (i.e. bullying, workload and stress) in the workplace focused the spotlight further on the area of Psychological Safety. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many uncertainties and changes, both in peoples’ personal and professional life. It has changed the way people work, so much so, a Work Life Balance Bill has been submitted to the Irish Government which recognises the importance of balancing life’s responsibilities with work responsibilities.

This blog piece outlines what leaders need to do in order to integrate psychological safety in the workplace and discuss the benefits of becoming ‘daring leaders’.

What exactly is psychological safety?

The term ‘Psychological Safety’ was first coined by Professor Amy Edmondson. She describes the term ‘team psychological safety’ as “a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking”. It acknowledges the importance of the work – team with a view that their shared humanity and respect for one another are important contributors. In addition to connection and engagement, vulnerability in the workplace is a driver for building a successful leader. When leaders and employees feel exposed to their failings and mistakes, they tend to place blame on others rather than taking accountability and responsibility for their actions. However, by admitting their faults and speaking honestly and openly they can inevitably build trust and respect among employees.

In her research Professor Edmondson found that interpersonal trust and respect are vital components in psychological safety. Leaders may also be exposed to vulnerability by admitting to their own uncertainties or by simply saying to an employee ‘I do not have the answer’. There is also a stigma around the sharing of emotions and personal issues as this may render them weak or unable to do their work competently. However, in psychological safety vulnerability should be rewarded rather than scorned. It allows for that necessary engagement, transparency and promotes overall performance within the workforce.

In the below diagram, Professor Edmondson describes her own 2×2 matrix for how psychological safety relates to performance standards in the workplace:

Figure 1: How psychological safety relates to performance standards. Source: Amy Edmondson, Twitter https://twitter.com/AmyCEdmondson/status/1508803800756277257?s=20&t=PnbJbo4qOy_M6Usa4b7FmQ

To integrate psychological safety into the workplace, leaders will need to observe their overall safety management framework and make the necessary changes to adapt their ways. There are four key stages recommended for creating psychological safety in the workplace. These include; Inclusion Safety; Learner Safety; Contributor Safety and Challenger Safety:

 


Figure 2: What is Psychological Safety? Source: LeaderFactor

To help them navigate through these different stages leaders will need to practice and cultivate the following attitudes;

  • building of meaningful connections with the work team;
  • be prepared to become vulnerable;
  • be transparent;
  • actively listen to their employees;
  • have the capacity for empathy.

Stages in creating psychological safety in the workplace:

  1. Inclusion Safety. This stage is concerned with connection and a sense of belonging. As previously discussed, a sense of belonging promotes authenticity in the individual and respect in the workplace
  2. Learner Safety. The second stage in generating psychological safety and discusses the importance of continuously growing and learning in the workplace. This may be simply asking questions, giving and receiving feedback, and allowing for mistakes to happen
  3. Contributor Safety. This is an earned privilege, one that ensures the leader is secure and empathetic.
  4. Challenger Safety. This is the final stage of psychological safety, and as described by Timonthy Clarke, founder and CEO of LeaderFactor, it is about allowing Leaders to “challenge the status quo”. The leader must promote innovation and cultivate a more formidable safety culture and management system. Leaders are the people that set an example in the workplace and influence the behaviours of their workforce. They must take a step further to ensure workers feel involved, engaged, worthy and innovative.

What are the beneficial outcomes of psychological safety?

The first benefit is creating that safe space for ‘Personal Learning’. Leaders can influence their workers to speak up, ask the tough questions and be transparent within their team. The next benefit for leaders is ‘Risk Management’. The Risk Management standard ISO 31000:2018 describes the standard as to “..create and protect value in organisations by managing risks, making decisions, setting and achieving objectives and improving performance”. Considering this definition of risk management, it is about dealing with and discussing risks in the workplace thoroughly and skilfully in order to appropriately manage them. ‘Innovation’ is the third benefit and allows workers to brainstorm, talk about new ideas on how certain tasks can be improved upon and overall creating engagement within the work-team. The final benefit is ‘Job Satisfaction’. When leaders create a work environment that promotes psychological safety they will feel more included, appreciated and more confident in their ability to perform their role within the organisation.

Psychological safety has been regarded as a human need and thus leaders are being asked to ensure this human need is being met. Experts in Leadership training believe leaders need to be the ‘architect’ in order to bring about this change in the safety management structure. Leaders can generate a culture of psychological safety and integrate it within their overall safety management system, however they must first cultivate bravery and dare to take the lead.

 


13
Jul

Occupational Noise Risk Assessment

 

Written by CMSE Consultant Aisling Hegarty

Exposure to high levels of noise, either continuously or suddenly, such as loud bang from equipment, can have a number of physiological and psychological effects on workers including stress, tinnitus. Permanent loss of hearing can occur if workers are exposed to high noise levels over long periods of time. It is imperative employers ensure Occupational Noise Assessments are being conducted

What does the legislation cover on noise in the workplace?

Under Chapter 1 Part 5 (Control of Noise at Work) of the General Application Regulations 2007, it sets out the obligations of employers to protect employees from excessive noise levels. The regulation specifies two noise Action Levels and they are as follows:

  • Lower Action Level 80 dB(A) LEX,8h and 135 dB(C) Lpeak
  • Upper Action Level 85 dB(A) LEX,8h and 137 dB(C) Lpeak

The regulations also introduce an “Exposure Limit Value” as follows:

  • Exposure Limit Values 87 dB(A) LEX,8 and 140 dB(C) Lpeak

When employees are likely to be exposed to noise at work above the lower exposure action value, an employer is obliged to carry out a detailed Noise Risk Assessment, completed by a competent person.

What is involved in a noise risk assessment?

A Noise Risk Assessment will identify and assess the risks poised by noise in your workplace and environment in accordance with all current Irish noise legislation and current best practice. Below are typical steps to be carried out for a noise risk assessment within a factory setting:

  1. Ensure to obtain the appropriate competency and knowledge for carrying out the noise risk assessment. Ensure to source competent advice from persons when making a decision on control measures.
  2. Ensure the assessment considers the Action & Limit Values under the General Application Regulations 2007 Chapter 1 — Control of Noise at Work. Under the regulations it states “..when applying the exposure limit values referred to in paragraph (1)(a) in determining an employee’s effective exposure, shall take account of the attenuation provided by individual hearing protectors worn by the employee..”. This shall also be considered in the assessment.
  3. Identify the sources of noise in the factory. The assessment shall be carried out in areas where the noise level is potentially above 80 dBA.
  4. Obtain measurements using a Sound Level Meter (SLM). Ensure the sound meter is a Class 1 (precision meter). A personal noise dosimeters can also be used for assessing noise exposure.
  5. The meter shall be calibrated before and after the measurements are taken. The measurement parameters used during the noise risk assessment shall be:
  • “A-weighted” – equivalent continuous sound level (LAeq)
  • “C-weighted” – peak sound pressure (Lcpeak) level.
  • ‘Dose’ is due to noise intensity & duration and is measured using LEX,8h.
  1. Working patterns and activities of personnel shall be taken into consideration during the assessment.
  2. A record of results shall be tabulated and will include:
    • Location/area of measurement
    • Measured noise level (dB) – LAeq and Lcpeak
    • Maximum Exposure Time to Reach Action Levels – LEX,8h.
  3. Where action levels and limit values are being breached, applying the Hierarchy of Controls (HOC) should be considered to reduce the exposure.
  4. According to the HOC, examples of controls measures include:
    • Elimination – if possible eliminate the noise completely.
    • Engineering controls – use of sound dampening systems or materials to reduce the noise. Set up a “buy quiet” approach (i.e. lower noise equipment) when purchasing new or upgraded plant machinery (OHTA, 2009).
    • Administrative Controls – Use of signage Warning Signage.
    • PPE – Use of hearing protection such as ear defenders and ear plugs.
  5. Ensure to review the assessment on an annual basis.

It also important to note where any changes, for example, changes to employees, shift patterns, hours of work, machinery used or other operational issues, you will need to redo your Noise Risk Assessments. Overall, the employer must establish and implement a programme of technical and organisational measures to reduce exposure.


CMSE Consultancy provides independent professional and practical advice on your duties under these regulations. Our Occupational and Environmental Noise Assessment services include:

  • Comprehensive noise surveys (occupational and environmental monitoring)
  • Comprehensive noise report with key recommendations
  • Noise consultancy to ensure legislative compliance
  • Noise awareness training

For more information on Noise Assessments, please click here or contact the CMSE Consultancy Team via [email protected]

12
Jul

Changes to the PHECC FAR clinical practice guidelines.

Did you know that the Chris Mee Group is an Approved Training Institute by the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council of Ireland for First Aid Training? 

Our 3 day PHECC First Aid Responder training program is delivered in line with the PHECC FAR Education and Training Standards and also the PHECC FAR CPG’s that were updated by PHECC last August.

These CPGs ensure that responders and practitioners are practicing to best international standards and support PHECC’s vision that people in Ireland receive excellent pre-hospital emergency care.

Some of the changes to the PHECC FAR CPG’s include:

  1. An additional Care Principles AND broadening of existing Care Principle.
  2. There are now 16 Care Principles – the 16th Care Principle states “Ambulances, medical rooms and equipment should be decontaminated as appropriate following an interaction with a patient”.
  3. The 1st Care Principle had stated “Take standard infection control precautions”, this principle has now been broadened and states:

“Take standard infection control precautions.  Ensure correct PPE is utilised in all situations and is compliant with the latest guidance on standard, contact, droplet, and airborne PPE. Place facemasks on patients when required. Handwashing and hand hygiene should be performed before and after all patient interactions. Utilise PPE checklists for correct donning and doffing procedures”.

  1. CPG for Limb Injury – The step ‘Rest – Ice – Compression – Elevation’ has been replaced by:  Rest, Cooling, Compress, Elevation’.
  2. CPG for Spinal Injury Management – Instruction box’s  ‘High risk factors’, ‘Spinal injury rule in considerations’, and Instruction box ‘Low risk factors’ have been deleted. For this CPG there has been the inclusion of Instructional box  “Passive spinal motion restriction; requesting the patient to minimise his/her movement without external intervention and permitting the patient to adopt a position of comfort”.

 

To find out more information or to book a place one of our upcoming courses you can Click Here

4
Jul

Hazard Rating Number (HRN) method

By Alan O’Donovan and Jake Bumpus, Safety Engineering Consultants at CMSE Consultancy

 

Machinery Safety Risk Assessments consist of the same basic considerations as any other type of Risk Assessment, and can be carried out by the following step-by-step approach:

  • Identify any hazards associated with the machine
  • Estimate the risk
  • Evaluate the risk
  • Determine the risk reduction that may be applied to reduce the risk in accordance with the applicable legislation, standards, and best industry practices

There are a wide range of tools and methodologies available to safety professionals to allow them to estimate the level of risk associated with each identified machine hazard, and determine whether or not the current level of risk is as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).

One methodology which is frequently used in Machinery Safety Risk Assessments is known as the Hazard Rating Number (HRN) method.

How does the HRN method work?

Using the HRN system, once a machine hazard is identified, numerical values are assigned based on the following factors which aid in estimating and evaluating the risk related to a particular hazard:

  • Likelihood of Occurrence (LO)
  • Frequency of Exposure (FE)
  • Degree of Possible Harm (DPH)
  • Number of Persons at risk (NP)

Once the numerical values are assigned to each of the factors above, the hazard rating number (HRN) can be calculated by HRN = LO x FE x DPH x NP. The HRN number can then be equated with an overall risk level, using the table below.

What are the pros and cons of this method?

A benefit of using this approach is that a relatively good degree of consistency can be achieved for a particular hazard, even if different individuals are undertaking the assessment. It also allows for the degree of the risk reduction achieved by a suggested new control measure to be quantified, using the following formula:

As with many quantitative risk assessment methodologies, a potential pitfall of this method is not being appropriately conservative when selecting the relevant HRN values. This could lead to an unrealistically low evaluation of the risk level, and so important safety improvements are overlooked. Alternatively, if overly conservative values are selected, then this may overestimate the level of risk, leading to the implementation of unnecessary costly improvements.

Therefore, as for all risk assessment methodologies, it is important that Machinery Safety Risk Assessments are carried out by a competent person or team, who have the right level of knowledge, experience, and skills in this area.

 


 

CMSE Consultancy is a leading provider of Machinery Safety Support to many clients nationally and internationally. Our specialists provide practical advice, training, and machinery solutions to support your particular needs. Our team work to legislative requirements and benchmark against industry best practice.

Read more about our Machinery Safety services on our website. CMSE Training, part of Chris Mee Group also deliver IOSH accredited Machinery Safety training.

 

Picture source – https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/two-colleagues-factory_4410938.htm

27
May

Chris Mee Group supporting young Talent in Ireland and the UK

Chris Mee Group are delighted to be supporting Kayls Cole for the 2022 Season. The 18-year-old, Leaving Certificate student is one of the brightest young stars of Irish motorsport and the first female Karter in Ireland to move up to single seater racing and made the bold move to race in the highly competitive UK F1000 championship in 2021.

Having recently been presented with the award for “highest-scoring novice” in the 2021 F1000 Championship prizegiving ceremony at Silverstone, Kayls is working hard to balance her leaving cert exam prep and career in motorsport. Her ambition is to be the first Irish women to race in the all-female W series championship. This alongside her passion for art and engineering are major contributory reasons for her post leaving cert course choice of Mechanical Engineering with a race team in Britain.

The Chris Mee Group supports the development of young talent in many ways. 

Our people are our biggest asset and we believe in supporting and encouraging young people in advancing their careers, be it in motor sport or in academia. 

We have sponsored a number of academic awards in various third level colleges in the past. 

We also pride ourselves in our Graduate programme.  The Chris Mee Group will be hiring a number of graduates this year. See HERE for more details

In the meantime we look forward to following Kayls progress in the pre rounds of the British Monoposto championship and the F1000 championship this year!