Safety Articles

Subscribe to our newsletter

Need a good article?  One that's a fun way to gain insight into challenges you face in changing your safety culture?  How about ideas that you can share with your managers, workforce, and fellow safety professionals?  

Here they are from Industrial Safety and Hygiene News!  Share these Safety Articles via e-mail, facebook, or bring them to your safety meetings to inspire key discussions.    ENJOY!


When complacency creeps in: identify, observe & discuss drifts in performance

February 3, 2015

Jack had been working the extruder for years, but this time he failed to recognize a common hazard when he was clearing a blockage. Read More


How to give feedback 

October 2, 2014

We’ve all heard about the “feedback sandwich” where it’s recommended that critical feedback should be sandwiched by positive feedback on both sides.Read More


Don’t let your exhortations ring hollow

July 9, 2014

With more experience traveling around in the real world seeing safety programs in action (or inaction) I realize that words matter. Read More

Checklist success: You don't want a pile of identical photocompies

April 1, 2014

The simple checklist has gotten a lot of press recently. Read More

Trolling for rule-breaking behavior

February 3, 2014

Once my sons and I went fishing with a guide on a chilly day in Florida. The fish were not biting because it was so cold, so the guide threw some “chum” into the water (something like candy for fish), to draw them in, so my young sons could score some catches.Read More

Be the Change - Nelson Mandela

December 18, 2013

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

I had been warmly welcomed to South Africa. We were there to work with a mining construction company who wanted to solve their safety challenge. The immensity of this challenge hit us on our day off while we dealt with our jet lag.

Read More

Who runs the rule mill?

The best bet is when workers create the rules

November 4, 2013

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

Rules are designed to keep us safe and are made by well-meaning folks thinking through potential risks in the face of hazards.

Read More

The fear “work-around” to get better reporting

October 28, 2013

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

The most effective individual in your company may be the employee safety committee member who has gained not only your trust but has done the miraculous job of bringing together the often-bickering functions of your organization. They can bring together union and management like my dear friend Tim Meier at Marathon Refining.

Read More

Dangers of driving on autopilot

Snap out of it — develop your situational awareness

October 2, 2013

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

Autopilot is a nice little nuance of cognitive processing that allows us animals, especially humans, to plan, solve problems, or otherwise daydream while performing routine tasks.

Read More

Thank someone for working safe?

“Absolutely!” says the Safety-Doc

August 1, 2013

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

I was in an industrial facility speaking with a mix of workers and managers trying to figure out why personal injuries kept cropping up with some regularity.

Read More

“Safety Culture” needs a shave: Get talking

June 19, 2013

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

The term "Safety Culture" has become like the term "Engagement" in popular management writings. There is no common agreement on the term. We are left with (mis)interpretations of terms like “Safety Culture”, which lead to haphazard attempts at changing organizations toward improvement.

Read More


Safety processes need constant reinforcement

June 7, 2013

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

Consider your safety process. Certainly your safety management systems such as your procedures, rules, reporting systems, inspections, hazard identification, safety training and the like act as a sort of foundation and structure that we hope will reduce hazards and associated risk

Read More


Look for the Helpers

May 1, 2013

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

We wish the world would be more like a kid’s show instead of a place of violence such we saw in the needless bombing during the Boston Marathon.  Wholesome, nurturing, recreational events shouldn’t be the stage for tragedies happening right in our neighborhoods.

Read More

Why the nurse wouldn’t administer CPR

March 14, 2013

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

A mountain blizzard rages outside the windows, classes are cancelled at the university… being socked in for the day, one gets philosophical.

Read More


Don’t Turn the Lights Out: Don’t Play the Blame Game

Understanding the safety risks of operating equipment

February 12, 2013

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.


The oh-too-human drive to blame can turn out the lights on the real game at play.

Read More


It takes thick skin

Resilient resolve handles complaints and ridicule

February 1, 2013

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

Some folks say that third-shifters are ornery; a cantankerous, unruly bunch who brave midnight shifts with skeleton crews.

Read More


Trust beats irony – if you let it

January 9, 2013

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

A couple months back at my University a young man, a student, was found dead in the creek that runs through a small park on campus. Apparently, he had gotten intoxicated at a party, and then went to a bar with friends.  He ended up leaving the bar at 2 am and walked home alone.  He went to the park, slipped on some of the rocks surrounding the creek and was rendered unconscious in the water where he drowned.

Read More


New Year’s resolutions for the EHS pro

January 2, 2013

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

The time of reflection on the old year is over. With the brand new year we look to the future with an eye on improving our selves and our impact on the world. For this new year, let’s consider some personal resolutions that focus on behaviors you, an EHS pro, could adopt to increase your effectiveness in helping build your team’s safety culture:

Read More


Twas the Night Before Christmas

December 18, 2012

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

Twas the night before Christmas And all through the shop All the elves were busy working Even Snap, Crackle, and Pop

Read More

Incentives are the nuclear option

You may reach your objective, but at what cost?

November 14, 2012

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

I got this e-mail from a reader who had just read the October 31st PENCIL WHIPPING blog:

Read More

Injuries are like getting shot in the back

And in many cases the cause is fear

October 31, 2012

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

The scene plays out in Western movies. The villain Jesse James, the most famous member of the James-Younger gang that terrorized the Minnesota area in the later 1800s, is shot in the back, defenseless, by a fellow member of his gang out to collect the bounty on James’ life.

Read More


Don’t shrink from building a caring culture

October 5, 2012

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

I had been warmly welcomed to South Africa. We were there to work with a mining construction company that wanted to solve their safety challenge. The challenge was immense.

Read More

Wyoming is growing carrots

October 3, 2012

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

Representative Tom Lubnau sponsored a bill, HB 89, which strengthened Wyoming OSHA’s “Courtesy Inspection” program.

Read More

Build a culture of everyday heroes

September 19, 2012

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

It’s a story we hear too often in our world – “terrorists attack.”

Read More

Don’t outsource the humans

We need their attentive eyes

September 5, 2012

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

Something went wrong…people got hurt. This sounds like the midnight call that all safety managers hate to get. A call that indicates an injury occurred and a whole litany of steps need to be taken: Comfort the victim and family, shut down the area, and deal with the paperwork.

Read More

Built to last: Certifying Behavior-Based Safety?

July 11, 2012

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

On a recent trip to Rome for a conference my sightseeing partner noted: “These people know how to build things that last.” My colleague Mark Alavosius and I were there for an exciting reason, but one that has me perplexed. This will take some explaining.

Read More

Saved by rock and roll

Dad gets a safety lesson from his son

June 6, 2012

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

Mowing the lawn can be a real chore. It is certainly not something I look forward to. It’s also a chore that can be quite hazardous.

Read More

Tackling injury reporting

May 9, 2012

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

He was an NFL player who dominated offenses during his 20-year career. Junior Seau died of a self-inflicted gunshot to his chest.

Read More


We're so safe we're losing our momentum

April 5, 2012

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

Question: “At many of our manufacturing sites we are reaching a point in our safety journey that they are struggling to understand.

Read More

EMPLOYMENT UP! Is your Mentor Program Ready?

March 2, 2012

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

Today’s good news is that U.S. companies added 243,000 in the past month dropping the unemployment rate to 8.3%.

Read More

Tumbling down the stairs

Who takes responsibility for an injured intern?

February 2, 2012

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

No Comments

One key to an ideal safety culture that drastically reduces injuries is for everyone to take responsibility for safety.”

Read More


January 25, 2012

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

What would you prefer: The carrot or the stick? Punishment works and is frequently used in less mature safety programs as a reaction to some incident that hurt someone. 

Read More

Lessons from mowing the lawn

Modeling safe behavior for your kids

January 11, 2012

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

Mowing the lawn can be a real chore. It is certainly not something I look forward to. It's also a chore that can be quite hazardous. According to…SAFETY DATA.

Read More


Money can't buy you sustainable safety

December 21, 2011

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

I agree with the premise that $$ only drives algorithmic (my word) tasks. Safety is not algorithmic... it is heuristic. We are asking for strategies and decisions, not just following directions, to get real results.

Read More

Directing safety is not enough

November 30, 2011

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

Safety procedures, safety talks, signs and other instructions direct workers. But attempting to identify all behaviors needed to keep employees safe fail in the midst of a changing work environment of aging equipment, cost-cutting, and changes in processes and people. 

Read More

When giving your leadership feedback...

November 9, 2011

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

Question: We would like to try and flesh out a 360-degree observation card (system) for our team leaders, and was curious as what pitfalls one should try and avoid?

Read More

A message that kills cultures

October 26, 2011

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

I’m frankly tired of hearing the old Heinrich data from the 1930s that asserts, “88% of worker injuries are due to the worker’s unsafe act.” Firstly, it sends the “blame the worker” message that kills cultures.

Read More

The most effective safety tool

October 19, 2011

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

Behavior is motivated by the consequences it produces especially when that consequence happens right after the behavior with high certainty.

Read More

The community of culture

October 5, 2011

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

 I spent last week at the Behavioral Safety Now (BSN) Conference (www.behavioralsafetynow.com) where I was reminded of a simple fact: To change culture you have to rely on our culture.  

Read More

Put your reputation on the line

Show safety’s value in time and money

October 1, 2011

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

Do you value safety? Prove it with time and money. Put your reputation on the line. Then you will show results.

Read More

After you've picked the low-hanging fruit...

Improving safety becomes more difficult

September 28, 2011

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

What are two practices that characterize companies with the best safety records?

Read More


Labor Day reflection

September 7, 2011

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

In my first safety blog I’m going to reflect on Labor Day. This Labor Day I watched Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero about the group of workers racing to complete the September 11 Memorial by the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 (this weekend).

Read More

Correcting misconceptions about behavior-based safety

August 24, 2011

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

I'd like to correct some common misconceptions about behavior-based safety (BBS) that I saw in a recent ISHN web exclusive article.

Read More


It's all about ownership

May 31, 2011

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

I get asked to visit companies and “diagnose” why their behavioral safety program has “lost steam” or never got off the ground to begin with. Inevitably I find the whole shebang is being run by the safety department and a few anointed safety enthusiasts who do all the observations.

Read More


What you learn from falling on your butt

May 3, 2011

By Timothy Ludwig Ph.D.

You know you’re a safety geek when you slip and land on your butt on the bathroom floor in a factory’s front office thinking, “What at-risk behavior did I do to earn this bruise?”

Read More


FOR EVEN MORE EXCEPTIONAL SAFETY CONTENT BY 

DR. E. SCOTT GELLER and my colleagues at

SAFETY PERFORMANCE SOLUTIONS

go to  http://safetyperformance.com/Resources/Articles.asp


Contact Dr. Ludwig                                 © Timothy Ludwig 2017