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Beth Lay, Director of Safety and Human Performance

Recent Posts

Four Strategies for Managing Overload

January 20, 2022

Overload is the relationship between demand and a system’s inability to meet that demand. Since systems differ among organizations, there may be things that larger companies handle easily but overwhelm smaller companies. Storm work provides many concrete examples. When managing one storm, an organization may be okay; however, two or three...

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Improving Resilience by Pinging

January 13, 2022

Think about the many times when your organization has been under stress. In the utility vegetation management industry, we don’t have to look far. Over the past two years, we have faced a global pandemic, back-to-back active storm seasons, labor shortages, and supply chain interruptions to name a few stressors. When stretched, the goal for all...

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The Need for Effective Replanning

October 01, 2021

When studying our close calls and incidents over the past year, a noticeable pattern began to emerge.

  1. A plan is made. The team shares common ground or mutual understanding.
  2. An event challenges the plan (i.e., something goes wrong).
  3. A new plan is developed.
  4. At least one member of the team is unaware of the change in plan. Common ground is lost,...
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Expanding Safety beyond Prediction and Prevention to Preparedness

August 05, 2021

In late 2012, Anders Eugensson, the head of government affairs for Volvo Car Corporation, made the bold claim that Volvo would have zero deaths or injuries in its new cars as of 2020 thanks to smart functions in its vehicles.[1] In other words, Volvo was recognizing that accidents will continue to happen due to driver error, severe weather,...

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Discounting Danger

July 29, 2021

Have you ever sped through a yellow light? Run a red? Why do we engage in these risky behaviors when we know crashes at intersections are among the deadliest? The answer according to safety science is because our mental model tells us we’ll be okay. 

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The Importance of Preparing

July 20, 2021

Take a minute to think about your career in the tree industry and ask yourself how many times you’ve been in the line of fire—when an object traveled into your path creating a risk of serious injury. Did you have time to readjust? Did you get lucky and escape without injury?

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Targeting Zero: A Deeper Dive on the Zero Paradox

July 14, 2021

If you read our article entitled The Zero Paradox in the UAA Newsline or right here on our blog, you'll know we believe that zero-tolerance goals (like our old adage “we believe that there is no reason why anyone should ever get injured on the job”) are unachievable and demotivating. 

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Next in Vegetation Management: Expanding Safety Maturity to Resilient

July 02, 2021

In early 2019, after years of challenging ourselves and deliberating the best way to inspire and measure a culture of safety, the UAA Safety Committee published a detailed, self-assessment tool that identified three broad categories that help define a safety culture (i.e., leadership, quality control and safety compliance) along with a series...

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What Uncertainty Looks Like

June 17, 2021

Have you ever wondered about something and rested your hand under your chin or on your cheek? That can be a sign of uncertainty. Rodin’s statue, The Thinker, demonstrates this well. If you’re stroking your chin, you may be evaluating a situation or making a decision.

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Attentiveness Pays Off

June 01, 2021

During Hurricane Laura storm restoration in Lake Charles, Louisiana, one of our crews deployed from Florida was heading to a job location when a crew member noticed an elderly gentlemen alone by the side of the road. His wheelchair had tilted over, and he had landed in a watery ditch. His face was resting in the water and he was unable to get...

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