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Campbell Forum attendees chew on lessons to ‘seize this moment’

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An icebreaker to open the Campbell Institute Workshop during the 2022 NSC Safety Congress & Expo called on attendees to discuss the most exotic food they’ve ever eaten.

Soon after, they learned to analyze organizational focus on workplace safety using more common sustenance as inspiration.

One principle the attendees studied during the seminar Tuesday in San Diego was the Swiss cheese model, which compares layers of cheese to the imperfect, human-designed systems intended to mitigate incident risk. The holes in the cheese represent weaknesses in individual parts of the system. When these weaknesses align, failure is likely to follow. It’s up to safety professionals to then learn lessons from these shortcomings and use them proactively moving forward.

That directive aligned with the workshop’s theme, “Seize this moment,” especially after the COVID-19 pandemic thrust occupational safety and health into the spotlight.

“With all of this attention, we have the right moment, right now,” said co-moderator Aamer Shamim, global EHS director at the AES Corp.

Shamim and co-moderator Shelley Brown, corporate safety director at Bergelectric, combined lectures and group exercises to reinforce lessons and principles.

As usual during the annual forum, collaboration among the attendees was key. “The more people at the table, the more you get back,” said moderator Erick Walberth, director of safety and environmental at Schneider Electric.

The attendees learned that commitment, cognizance and competence are three key driving forces of human factors. Possessing a will to act, an understanding and knowledge of challenges, and a command of practical skills can improve safety pros’ ability to internalize and implement lessons learned from previous mistakes.

– Kevin Druley, reporting from San Diego