Transforming Risk Culture with Intention and Leadership Webinar Recording

Event Type: Webinars, AIHA Webinars

2 Contact Hours

Member $195 | Nonmember $225 | Student $25

Risk is a multifaceted concept that is driven by context – it has different meanings in different settings – as seen when considering individual versus organizational risk, or risk within different domains of public health. In occupational health and safety (OHS), the risk is historically viewed in terms of worker health and well-being. Over the past several decades, with advances in organizational science and societal expectations, risk concepts that impact OHS professionals have expanded and include product stewardship, sustainability, social responsibility, and public health – to name a few. Effectively navigating this new terrain requires intention and skill in identifying and finessing an organization’s risk culture. This webinar provides an overview of the current risk continuum in organizations, from individual to enterprise, and beyond – this overview is framed from a risk culture perspective. The impact that advances in cognitive science is having on enterprise risk is presented – along with ways to transform culture and performance with this knowledge. Governmental, academic, and industry perspectives on how to provide leadership that impacts and transforms risk culture are provided.


Presentation TitleSpeakerDescription
Organization Leadership: An Unavoidable Risk but a Risk Worth Mastering
Dr. John Howard
Organizational leadership both internally and externally can be both challenging and rewarding. The NIOSH mission is to develop new knowledge in the field of occupational safety and health and to transfer that knowledge into practice. Our mission statement uses the words “high-risk” as well as the word “safe”. At NIOSH we draw on expertise from a diverse set of fields including epidemiology, medicine, nursing, industrial hygiene, safety, psychology, chemistry, statistics, economics, and many branches of engineering. We will discuss three core concepts of effecting organizational risk reduction leadership: 1. Research to Practice, 2. Economic incentives, and 3. Solutions and options.
Interest-Influence/Communication-Resistance: Understanding the behavior within to achieve objectives
Dr. Howard Blackman
It is difficult to see in ourselves that which we see in others. The human factor is clearly important in high-risk industries where complex sociotechnical systems exist. Human intuitions and biases often result in errors. To be effective in developing automatic behaviors, we need to understand the larger context to guide developing desired repetitive and automatic actions. System management tools, incremental change, and process improvement has their place and can be effective, but the defense in depth is required. Over-reliance on traditional approaches to quality, continuous improvement, and incident investigations must be cautioned.
Managing GE’s Risk Culture in a Transforming Industrial Business
Gretchen Hancock and Jeanne Fallon-Carine
GE employs some 333,000 people worldwide in a wide range of global businesses ranging from energy to aviation to healthcare. While each business unit might use comparable but slightly different lenses in assessing risk depending on unique circumstances, at our core is the uniform objective and priority of worker health and safety, environmental sustainability, public placemaking, and product stewardship. Achieving these objectives requires creating alignment, common vocabulary, common tooling, and governance. We will explore how GE influences and impacts risk culture to create effective teams from the very smallest, remote, and challenging innovative activities to our largest traditional product lines, sharing how we create flexibility for local management of risk while maintaining coherence across the larger GE businesses for risk to effectively be managed across the portfolio.
Characterizing and Shifting a Risk Culture: Does Size and History Matter
Barbara Dawson
The conventional (and erroneous) wisdom is that only “big” has the resources and capabilities to effectively tackle health and safety. In the United States, as in many countries, the legal responsibility regarding health and safety rests with the employer. Size does not matter. As an avocational historian, Ms. Dawson seeks to understand past 'stories' as a prelude to learning and understanding why things happened, what was the importance of certain events, and how significant has been the roles of various individuals. In the context of industrial hygiene and risk management, reviewing the past will help us make sure these lessons aren’t lost even though they may need to be relearned in a more modern context. Ms. Dawson brings a wealth of experience and perspective to understanding organizational behaviors whether a professional organization such as AIHA, a multinational chemical manufacturer such as DuPont, or a historical society endeavoring to differentiate facts from the truth. To paraphrase Tip O'Neill, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, “All Risk Culture is Local.”
Synopsis Through a Transformational Leadership Lens
Dr. Richard Fulwiler
Transforming leadership and the risk culture go hand-in-hand. A synopsis of the presentations is presented through a Transformational Leadership lens. The key to transforming a culture is shifting from a transactional and compliance focus, to a focus on values, empowerment, and partnership.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss risk as a continuum from individual to organizational.
  • Identify biases that impact risk culture and performance.
  • Identify the underlying organizational risk culture, from boots-on-the-ground to the C-suite.
  • Outline ways to transform risk culture.


Dr. John Howard has served since 2002 as the Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the US Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. From 1991 through 2002, Dr. Howard was Chief of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health in the California Department of Industrial Relations. Dr. Howard received his MD from Loyola University of Chicago, his MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health, and his law degrees from the University of California and from the George Washington University. Dr. Howard has written numerous articles on occupational health law and policy.

Dr. Howard Blackman
is the Associate Vice President for Research at Boise State University. His research has specialized in human factors, human error, memory and learning and psychometric theory. Most recently his work has related research has been in cognition as it relates to complex human performance and in the assessment of human error.

Gretchen Hancock
coaches a globally-distributed team of EHS audit leaders that have responsibility for designing and implementing a risk-driven, EHS compliance & management systems-based audit program. Formerly, Gretchen had responsibility for GE’s EHS programs and supporting efforts in legal simplification. She has held responsibility for global company-wide energy and greenhouse gas emissions inventory and reduction programs under Ecomagination and has held EHS roles in GE Aviation and consulting.

Jeanne Fallon-Carine is a Global HSE Director for Digital Solutions, part of Baker Hughes, a GE Company. She provides strategic HSE direction and technical expertise globally with a focus on creating a sustainable culture for global manufacturing, services, and distributed employees. Jeanne has held technical and leadership roles in HSE covering oil & gas, chemical, and electronics manufacturing, research and development, services and project management, as well as transportation of hazardous materials.

Barbara J. Dawson
leads the industrial hygiene function at the DuPont Company. Barbara is certified in the Comprehensive Practice of Industrial Hygiene (CIH) by the Board for Global EHS Credentialing® (BGC®) and in the Comprehensive Practice of Safety (CSP) by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals. She is a past President of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), an AIHA Fellow, and has served as the BGC Chair. Barbara has over 36 years of broad range experience in the occupational health and safety field.

Dr. Richard Fulwiler
is President of Transformational Leadership Associates, a consultancy that focuses on organizations achieving functional excellence not just in health & safety but in other critical output areas by applying the principles of transformational leadership. He has had a 28-year career in health and safety at Procter & Gamble starting as an industrial hygienist and progressing to Director of Health and Safety Worldwide. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, guest lecturer at the Department of Engineering, Purdue University, and has a faculty appointment at the Harvard School of Public Health, and is Co-Director for their Leadership & Management Course

Questions? Contact [email protected].