September 14, 2020 Safety News

Mentioned in this week’s news:

AIHA 5 on the Frontline

Rich Schimenek (or follow him @coachschimenek on Instagram)

The Hero’s Journey

BLR Webinar: Safety in Lean Times – Doing More With Less

Sales: Trusted Advisor

Construction Safety Week

Safety Connect

Safety Justice League podcast news

Last week’s episode with Barbie the Welder is still firing people up with some “eff you fuel.” This week’s episode will bring a different vibe, and just as valuable! We’ve got Sharon Lipinski on the show with tips on habits and some breathing techniques you can try right along with us. Woosah…

Catch up on all episodes on your favorite podcast platform or stream direct at

News Music:

“Dream Catcher” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

Virtual Site Visit Best Practices

Here are some best practices that have emerged from conducting virtual site safety visits with construction and general industry clients, what would you add?

  1. Don’t assume it’s Zoom. Make sure the client knows that you plan to do a virtual visit! Be specific about the platform you’ll be using and any app or download requirements.
  2. Test it yourself first. If your school aged kid is at home, they can go to another room with a tablet or cell phone while you stay in your office. Practice using several platforms so you know what to expect from each.
  3. Lead! Tell your client which platform you prefer to use. If they have a preferred platform, they’ll let you know, and you can adapt. Again, don’t assume Zoom, the client may have specific requirements based on security, talk about this at least a week in advance of your planned visit.
  4. Schedule it. This is the tough one for me. My clients usually give me the ability to show up unannounced for site visits, or relatively unannounced with just the date and time frame pre-arranged (like the cable installer). With virtual site visits, it’s important to schedule in advance so we don’t waste each other’s time.
  5. A 3-act play approach. Start with an introduction with the client at their desk or a conference room. This is a good way to ensure technology is working and do any last minute troubleshooting. Then conduct the walk-through (see item 6 for more), and end back in the office or conference room to wrap up.
  6. Be safe! With the client walking the site with you on a device in their hand, it’s a little awkward. As you see things you’d like to talk to them further about, tell them to stop or otherwise safely “pull over” so you can chat while they’re standing or sitting still. Once you’ve talked, they can resume walking to the next area of their site or facility.
  7. Be flexible! The internet will crap out, the client may not know their site as well as you do, and there may be some socializing time. I’ve had all three of these things happen during each virtual visit I’ve conducted, and it makes things fun. We get to laugh about what the screen froze on while the client walked into an adjacent building, I was able to point out a work area my client didn’t know existed, and I was able to say hi to some folks I usually see in person just a few times a year.

    The human connection is more reliable than the wifi, and as long as you can keep the human side engaged, your virtual site visits will be productive, engaging, effective, and even fun!

Safety Training Superheroes and Sketchnoting

Thank you so much to fellow “superhero of safety training” Linda Tapp (aka Safety FUNdamentals) for summarizing our ASSP Safety 2020 Virtual session into sketchnote format!

Check out her blog post with the sketchnote and process here. Make sure to sign up for her emails, she always has epic safety training info.

One of the thought-provoking and well-presented sessions at Safety 2020 Virtual included Danyle Hepler and Victor Toy discussing pandemic planning & systems thinking. Danyle used a white board to sketch things as part of her presentation. If you’re looking for a new safety training technique to level up your virtual and in person training, go to the drawing board, literally! Jo Pina also does a great job with using a white board and sketching and writing to enhance her safety communication. Check out her YouTube channel here.

If you’re still looking for more safety training tips, listen to the Superheroes of Safety Training from the second season of the Safety Justice League podcast.

September 9, 2020 Safety News

This week’s news is for my friends and colleagues who are job hunting. Here’s the links I mentioned in the news today:

Red Wing’s #LaborDayOn

My Safety Consultant’s Toolkit

Yellowbird, use code SJL 2020 if you’re a company looking for safety pros. Mention Safety Justice League if you’re signing on as a “pro” – make sure to listen to the Safety Justice League interview with Yellowbird CEO Michael Zalle posted a couple of months ago!

Bonus content:

Networking for Introverts – Originally appeared in the ASSP’s PSJ, by Dr. Jaime Ingalls

Building an Organic Network a.k.a. Networking when you don’t “need” it, written by me, originally posted in the ASSP’s PSJ

Safety Justice League podcast news:

Last week’s episode with Subena Colligan was just the amount of zen I needed during a week away from the Safety News!

This week’s episode is our interview with Barbie the Welder!! It drops on Friday, not for sensitive ears, like for real – a LOT of f bombs as we spoke with Barbie while she was in her workshop.

Find these episodes and more on your favorite podcast listening service. I like Spotify, but maybe you like Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, I Heart Radio, or something else! You can also stream direct at our website,

News Music:

“Dream Catcher” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

Risk Control Phone Survey Resources

Are you a risk control consultant? Here’s some quick tips I’ve used successfully over the years to approach (the sometimes dreaded) phone survey. Risk control phone surveys and annual reports can be cumbersome, but they don’t have to be impossible. I’ve identified some go-to links for the lines of coverage I most frequently survey for clients. The information provided by these free searches enable you as the risk control consultant to craft specific open-ended questions for the insureds or prospects you conduct surveys on. It shows that you have a grasp of what the company does and how they’ve fared with the regulators! You can also demonstrate value by coaching them on how to access these sites for themselves to verify their own records as well as their subcontractors, vendors, and other business partners.

Workers Compensation

The OSHA Establishment Search enables you to search for a company’s OSHA inspection and violation history. Use a minimum amount of the company’s name information for a better search, for example “Abby Ferri Construction Company” should be shortened to “Ferri” or “Ferri Construction” to ensure relevant results are found.

If a company operates in one state, you can narrow the search to one state. Companies in state plan states like California may be subject to multiple inspections just for starting new work, usually, these inspections are for license or certification reasons only, and no violations are issued. It may be useful to choose the option view only the inspections that resulted in violations to narrow the search results.

When researching a company that has multiple additional named insureds or entities, be sure to look up each entity! Often, a holding company will not have inspection or violation activity, but the individual entities or subsidiaries will.

The MSHA Mine Data Retrieval System is a great resource to use for companies that own, operate, or conduct work at mining sites. Even if a company states they do not conduct much mine work, you will be able to verify that using the MDRS.

Use a simple Google search to look up news articles and press releases about companies. If there are severe claims or fatal incidents, reputable news sources can provide more details.

General Liability, Product, Pollution

The EPA ECHO search is useful but can be tough to narrow down. Use as much detail about the company’s name and location to narrow down the search results, this is the opposite of my advice for the OSHA Establishment Search! When you do get a “hit” on an enforcement action, the site provides many details if you keep clicking hyperlinks. I have been able to find very specific spill incident or deficient program information using EPA ECHO, which allows me to ask detailed questions of the insured or prospect, ultimately leading to a nice report for underwriting.

Auto Liability

For companies with a DOT regulated fleet, the FMCSA SAFER site’s Company Snapshot is a must-search resource. If you know a company’s DOT number, you can easily find the right SAFER report. If not, use the same advice as the OSHA Establishment Search to find the company, you can further narrow down by location on the next step. The SAFER site allows you to download the entire SAFER Safety Measurement System (SMS) file in Excel, which is often a great addendum to a risk control report, especially with large fleets or fleets with a large amount of inspections.

Women & Safety Keynote – one year later

The following is an article version of my speaking notes from the VPPPA Safety+ event in August 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. I was one of three speakers given the opportunity to deliver a ten-minute keynote address in Ted Talk style. The other two speakers were Frank King and Glenn Trout. I was the second speaker in front of the crowd of over 3,000 VPPPA members and supporters.

These notes have been kept in my Google Keep app, and I felt now, a year later, was a great time to share them with you! I’ve added some links to take you to further resources. My original notes were organized in one statement per line so I could easily review them before the keynote. I used a memory and visualization technique I learned from Linda Tapp called the Method of Loci to commit the info to memory in short time to deliver the keynote without notes.

If you want the full experience, download the keynote slides that appeared behind me, reach out with any questions, anytime.

Abby Ferri Women & Safety Keynote

Good Afternoon!

As a woman in safety, one of my roles is Administrator of the ASSP’s Women in Safety Excellence common interest group. In this position, I’m often asked for my take on current events related to safety.

One such item in the past year was the NASA space suit saga, when a spacewalk was cancelled because the two women were not able to be outfitted in space suits that fit them. Women in trades, manufacturing, oil & gas, emergency response, law enforcement, and women safety professionals saw their stories reflected in what happened with the women astronauts. It became an accidental pivotal moment for safety concerns that disproportionately impact women – not just PPE fit, but other topics as well.

Besides the fairly easy-to-talk-about issue of PPE fit, WISE focused on two other issues impacting women: workplace violence and women in safety leadership roles in safety. These 3 topics were discussed in the fall of 2018 with over 50 people representing multiple industries and viewpoints. You can download the report at

My interest in the topic of workplace violence started when I stumbled on a statistic about 5 years ago that homicide is the leading cause of death for women in the workplace. It shocked me and I didn’t believe it at first because it was something that had not been talked about in my safety circles. As I repeated the statistic, I found that others were just as surprised. It’s a tough topic because as safety professionals, we want to work on being proactive and preventing things from occurring. This is difficult when more than 25% of these homicides are committed by someone known to the victim, and 16% are related to domestic violence – these are society problems that we often do not think of as workplace problems.

It has become important to clarify to safety peers that society concerns do not stop at the doors of our workplaces or the fences of our jobsites – society’s problems ARE our workplace problems. This reasoning leads easily to other society problems of the moment including opioids and other substance abuse, and access and utilization of mental health resources. Which also lead us to Total Worker Health, which I am so excited about.

The next topic WISE chose to focus on is women in leadership roles in EH&S. This means manager, director, and executive “C-Suite” roles. While women are rising in numbers in EH&S careers, they are not represented equitably in these highest of leadership roles. When you dig in to this topic, you find that women often leave a workplace before promotions can occur, often due to family commitments, birth of a child and the ensuing care of a newborn, or caring for an elder family member, and maybe do not re-enter the workplace until years later when they may be treated as a newcomer instead of an experienced professional who is back and ready, qualified, and more than able to lead.

Women in these roles cannot be discussed without addressing the salary gap that exists, even in our industry. One can look at industry salary surveys to easily find these real numbers. Regardless of leadership level, our industry still faces a safety professional shortage. When we are losing qualified women, our entire industry suffers. Encouraging young women to enter the safety career path and STAY IN it has become one of the most important goals of my professional life.

PPE fit, the easiest to talk about, is the work group that I led at the Women’s Workplace Safety Summit and continue to lead as we draft a Technical Report. In short, our goal is to ensure resources so employers provide options for women, and all workers then benefit from this custom approach to size and fit.

Fall protection is one area that is easy to address this topic, fall protection harness testing guidelines are meant for persons ranging from 130 pounds to 310 pounds. This is an easy one because we all know safety professionals that are outside of that range – tell them that harnesses do not need to be tested to THEIR body – you’ll get a response!

One of the key themes from the Summit is that going to the margins of the margins to address problems can benefit all. In this example – workwear geared towards women is now being purchased by men who prefer a slimmer fit compared to traditional workwear that is bulky. The look of our workforce is changing, and manufacturers need to keep up.

Women in safety have come far, but have work to do. I feel we are in exciting times as inactive supporters are becoming engaged allies, this is what is needed to truly make change. What can you do?

Men, we aren’t leaving you out, and, we don’t hate you! The reality is that male voices are often the majority at industry events like this. I’m grateful to J.A. Rodriguez for putting my name in front of the speakers committee for this event!

If you’re a man and find yourself on an all-male panel for a conference or webinar, or other event –  step down or ask one of your women colleagues to take your place or join the panel.

If you’re a supervisor or someone in charge of promoting and hiring, step back and look at your team. Are voices missing? Add them by promoting and hiring.

Speaking of hiring, guide your organization in creating better media to depict real women working for your website images, campus recruiting ads, and internal company newsletters.

This all may seem daunting, but YOU can help – start at your own organization, volunteer to bring women in STEM to school career fairs, call out bad marketing and imaging when you see it – overall, demand better.

As you can tell, I’m passionate about this, I volunteer to provide safety training to Girl Scouts before they build amazing things at STEM camps, and have talked to students as young as 5 years old about safety as a career path.

I’m usually game for a conversation and can help point YOU in a positive and active direction. Find me here at the conference or on social media.

THANK YOU and keep an open mind this week and beyond. THANK YOU

August 24, 2020 Safety News

This week I’m a speaker at the ENR Groundbreaking Women in Construction event. It’s usually held in-person and is virtual this year, which meant I can actually attend! If you’re looking for a solid event this week, you can still register, it starts today and you won’t miss out! Use code Ferri15 for 15% off of any registration level.

If you’re landing here on my site BECAUSE of the GWIC event, welcome! Here’s the links I mentioned in the safety moment:

Safety Justice League

VPPPA Leader Magazine – PPE for Psychosocial Impact

ASSP Women’s Safety Report 

ASSP/ISEA Guidelines for Women’s PPE and Apparel Technical Report


This week’s Safety Justice League podcasts include our 100th podcast(!!), guests Stan & Ken from Northern Safety on Wednesday, and Tony Taylor on Friday. Make sure to “follow” the Safety Justice League podcast on your platform of choice, or stream at our website, there’s a lot of great episodes in the archives too! Binge away…


News Music:

“Dream Catcher” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

A WISE Wolfpack

The WISE Book Club chose Abby Wambach’s book, Wolfpack, and I was stoked because **ABBY WAMBACH clap clap clapclapclap** and also because the book has been on my list.

In true Abby Ferri form, I procrastinated on reading it. Today is Sunday, book club is Tuesday… I have the physical copy of the book, so I knew it would be a quick read compared to the other books ambitiously chosen by the club! I was worried club members would think this was a silly pick, and that it wasn’t worthy of our time.


I was drawn to the book this morning, and read it in less than an hour, mostly while doing squats, lunges, and going up and down the stairs in my house (I’m a multitasker). I’m SO GLAD the club chose the book and that I chose the book today. Abby’s messages are relayed mostly in analogies of her experience as a soccer player (of course), and they resonated with me. I wasn’t a star athlete at all, but always a utility player and loved to make the assist. Whether it was setting up another player, literally with a set on the volleyball court, or making a nice pass on the ice for another player to score a goal – I always enjoyed being in the background. I even had a nickname in volleyball as part of the “back row patrol.” We were an essential part of the team to ensure the hitters would get the nice set so they could smash it. Shout out to coaches Theresa and Julie from middle school and early high school in Bemidji, MN – you still impact my life!

The book brought so many memories up that I hadn’t thought of in a long time. It was a reminder for me to bring that team aspect to work and other initiatives, and reach out to reconnect with some past teammates. If you don’t play sports, the book will hit you differently. Regardless, I think the book is an essential business read, keep it on your desk, and pick it up when you need a boost.

I love that Abby starts the book with a quick story about her being asked to do a speech, but not make it too focused on women. The flipping of the script she describes is exactly what’s making many feel uncomfortable in the workplace right now – would anyone ask a man to not make his speech so focused on men? No! Men have been the default leaders and speakers, and that is a silly question. I’m sure some of you bristle at the fact that Abby Wambach even wrote this book. If that’s you, I suggest you actually read it, it’ll only take an hour. As Abby said in the opening chapter, the book is for men too. As a leader in ASSP’s WISE common interest group, I have spent a lot of time educating people that WISE is open to all and that I personally do not hate men – I even put this last point in my keynote at the 2019 VPPPA Conference. 

The concepts of vulnerability in leadership that are woven throughout the book remind me of Brene Brown, and if you have her books piling up on your shelf, just read Abby’s book real quick instead, then listen to some of Brene’s podcasts to keep exploring these ideas.

Have you read Abby Wambach’s book? What did you think?


August 17, 2020 Safety News

Here’s the Duke study and three articles mentioned in today’s news, in order of arrival on the scene last week – COVID news travels fast!

ENR article – typical commentary on Duke study

Duke University face mask study

Ergodyne: Safety Leaders Respond to Duke University Project on Face Mask Efficacy

Duke study author follow-up

Update as of 6:25pm CST 8/17/2020: Save the Gaiters!

Find the Safety Justice League podcast streaming at our site or anywhere you usually listen to podcasts!

This week’s new episodes include guests Rosa Carillo and Jesse Iwuji!

News Music:

“Dream Catcher” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

PPE Fit for Women and Psychosocial Safety of all

The VPPPA gave me an epic opportunity to author an article for their all PPE issue of The Leader magazine. The title of the article is “Improving PPE Fit For Women Impacts The Psychosocial Safety Of All Workers.”

If you’re a VPPPA member, you’ve got access to the entire issue. If you’re not a VPPPA member (yet), the article can be downloaded below:

Improving PPE Fit For Women Impacts The Psychosocial Safety Of All Workers