Ms. Christine Witte with Seam Group talks about Looking at Safety the way we look at our Children

In this week's Industrial Talk Podcast we're talking to Christine Witte, Director of Product and Services at Seam Group about “Looking at Safety the way we look at our Children”.  Get the answers to your “Safety” questions along with Christine's unique insight on the “How” on this Industrial Talk interview!

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safety, cme group, industrial, people, problem, create, oxygen, christine, industry, conversations, maintenance, reliability, big, desensitized, year, absolutely, lily, assets, safe, skilled worker


Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's get all right. Once again, thank you very much for joining the industrial talk podcast of the number one industrial related podcast in the universe. Where we celebrate industry heroes like you, you are the miracle, you are the hope you are the individuals that create dreams. You're bold, you're brave, you dare greatly. You solve problems. You're always curious. And that's why you're changing lives. And you're changing the world. We have a great interview. Her name is Christine a Witte, now it's spelled wi t t, but it's pronounced Witte, and she's got a major stack card out there. Let's get cracking. Yeah, we're gonna be talking about safety on this podcast. And it's always been an interesting dilemma, personally, is that when we start talking about safety, the data, what for whatever reason, the data never really changes. The focus is always on safety. I see all of the wonderful posters out there right? in the workplace saying, hey, you're the You're the reason to be safe. All of that good stuff tried to be motivational. But the data doesn't support that. And I have always been fascinated. Christine came to me. And she says, Scott, I think an interesting way of looking at safety is this. Safety should be prioritized across all verticals of the industry. Yes. But what if everyone looked at safety, the way that we look at our children? Yeah, why not? Why is it sort of all of a sudden, different. When we step out of the house, we go to our location and safeties, we say safety is important. But we just continued, sort of go through the motions. But then all of a sudden, you're not going to let your kids just run across the street without being safe, you're not going to let your children do something like climb a ladder without being safe or not, or explaining some of the challenges. I think that's a brilliant point of view. All right. Again, I'm going to be harping on these events, because I want me personally selfish reason and get back to normal as much as we possibly can. I want to get back to normal, I want to have fun, I want to be able to continue to just sort of sing the praises of industry. first event that I want to put on my calendar would be October 5 through the seventh. And it is a beautiful Barcelona. And if you've never been to Barcelona, it is a must. I mean, you got to go to that town. It's great. And hopefully I'll be broadcasting from that location. But it's a great event brought to you by IoT solutions World Congress, Farah, Barcelona, and the industrial internet Consortium, great people putting on a great program. Last year, it was cancelled, of course, this year, boom, you got to put that on your calendar that is once again October 5 through the seventh this year. The next event is in Cleveland, Ohio, and is the manufacturing and technology show. This is November 9 through the 11th. And again, I was in Cleveland last year, wonderful people, great food, exceptional venue, a, again, a wonderful opportunity to get back to normal. Go to that manufacturing and technology show November 9 through the 11th. But fear not all of this information will be out on industrial homepage, which we are redesigning as we speak so that you don't have to struggle finding these great events or great learning opportunities are wonderful speakers. Right there right now. All right. Great stat card on Christine Woody. So you got to reach out to her. And she is with the same group. And let's just check out her. What Oh, she's the director of products and service with CME Group. The website CME Group. That's s e a m gr o up, Christine, a Witte like city. Enjoy the interview. Christine, welcome to the industrial talk podcast absolute honor that you found time in your busy schedule to be on the number one industry related podcast in the universe. And I mean that from my heart. How are you doing? Great, Scott, thank you for having me here today. Excellent. You are absolutely wonderful. I'm excited about the conversation in safety. Just let's level set a little bit. You're with the same group. Give us a little background on what you do is seen? Yes, of course.


I'm with Steam group. We are focused on reliability, maintenance and safety. I am the director of product and services. And today we're going to talk about something that's very near and dear to my heart safety.


I love it. Because let's just sort of, let's just lay it out on the just right there, let's be candid about it. We talk a lot about safety. But for whatever reason, we don't, we still don't make a dent in the data. And what what I like about CME Group is that I've had conversations about reliability, I've had conversations about maintenance, and I have constant conversations about safety. But it's marrying those two, but you have a unique, unique approach to how we look at safety. And I got to tell you, I'm a big fan of that approach. So with that said, let's talk a little bit about that. We're looking at and I think because you're a mother, mother of four beautiful children, looking at safety, from the perspective of kids is a real powerful way of looking at it.


Can you explain a little bit about that? Yeah, you know, I think that's kind of what we're missing in the industrial space. It's desensitized, and we're not. It's not emotional for us. But if you put yourselves in the shoes of a parent, and you look at safety, the way that you protect your children, it's very emotional, it's always top of mind, you don't even if you're late for school, you don't rush, you know, across the road, when cars are flying by you still take the exact steps you knew you need to take to keep your children safe. But what we see in the industrial space is quite the opposite. We see this lacs way of approaching safety where you've done it once you can do it again. And there isn't that emotional tie to it. If anything, safety is almost an antithesis of you know, the productivity because if you make a mistake, you're punished for it, and your peers look down on you. And it's, it's really, it's fine. There's not an advocate for safety in the way that there's an advocate for protecting your children know


that big time hit the nail on the head, you're absolutely spot on. I guarantee it companies out there, that we have the conversation. Things happen if you're moving around out in the field, things happen. And and those things that are happening could be unsafe, it could be near me, and and nobody wants to get into an accident or whatever. But we do. And then when that happens, we get the hammer thrown down on us. And we learn quickly how to fudge and not look at the numbers properly, whatever it might be, we


be rear we know we loo catalyzed so we want to hide and that that you know penalization is driving a problem because then you're you know, we probably aren't being transparent about all the things that are unsafe. And there isn't that closed loop process. It's very much it's an opposing relationship. And I think that, you know, there's no compromise. There's no new, diverse or innovative way of looking at it, we really need to change that, Scott, it's a if you look at the statistics, you would actually be appalled.


To give us give us an


f1 from from a webinar, a webinar that Terry O'Hanlon, he's a big reliability leader, great mentor of mine 10 times more industrial technicians die per year than first responders from accidents in the industrial space that could have been prevented. We know all these failure modes are we know where all these hazards hit. But we rush or we forget or a manager is pushing for something to be completed. And that particular person wasn't the skilled worker that should have completed that task. There's all these reasons why they happen. But technicians aren't first responders. They shouldn't be risking their lives every day. I mean, to me, I don't that doesn't sit well with me and and then you look at OSHA intend to OSHA was to drive safety. And for 50 years, they've been putting all these processes and regulations in place. But in the last 10 years, the serious injuries and fatalities have increased or they've plateaued. They have not decreased, like some of those slips and falls, right. So why there's a lot of reasons one thing that we've talked about it seem is there's this like disproportionate relationship between the minor injuries and the serious injuries and we take the same approach to safety that we deal with slips and falls to burns and and crushes basically which are the ones that are the biggest Yeah, the biggest reason for for lost lives. And it's


just the culture it's just I don't know what it would take and I'll give you an example. If I go out to whatever social platforms out there, okay fine. And I look and I scroll eyes, hips, hips, I will always fall upon my heartbreaking for that abandoned dog, I will always look at things differently, but then when it comes to people in the field in the in the plants you know, yeah, whatever you become, like you said, desensitize What do we do? What do to change? that mindset,


we become desensitized because we're looking at a fine, or we're looking at a, you know, piece of paper that has showed a reduction in our safety rating. We're not looking at the life that was lost, we're not hearing the story about that gentleman at 30 years old, who got electrocuted and doesn't go home to his family and his kids. That is something you can't be desensitized to, you remember that. But instead, we see Oh, so and so let's just say Johnson Controls has been decreased to a level or a safety rating of B, which means that their vendors won't let them in. And that's what we think about. And that's the wrong way to think about it. It has


punitive, financial, motivator and punch, fortunately, and you're right, you're right. Anybody out there knows that that doors will be closed, my, my financial livelihood will be impacted if I come. And that's, that's at all levels. I can't get into businesses, I can't get hired all of this, it happens everywhere. And so you are incentivizing people to not tell the truth, fudge the numbers just because I gotta keep my doors open. I don't know where you start.


Yeah, let's go back to kids. So we think about how we raise our children to speak up if they see something unsafe, if they see a stranger and stranger danger, and they screen it and they have no problem. There's no mental model holding them back from being very vocal about what's not safe or tattletaling, when their sister or brother does something unsafe. But in the industrial space, we see something, but we don't necessarily say something because we feel that I may be penalized for bringing this up. Or maybe it's not a big deal, because I don't have the skill set or the knowledge or the experience to know that that is actually a very big hazard that I should be mitigating. It's, it's just not clear. It's not part of the culture. And we have all these trainings and education, but it doesn't stick, you'll see an increase maybe in the, I guess the safe, safer ways of doing things. But then, months later, it's back to normal, because that change process hasn't been put in place that it hasn't been ingrained in their souls and their hearts the way it is, when we protect our kids. I mean, that's the only real way i can think about it. And if we compare it to other industries, like let's look at healthcare, the innovation that happened, look at COVID, we, the 10 years it takes to do to create go through the drug trials, now we do it in six months, three pharmaceutical companies did it in six months, they came together knowing we had no choice that innovation needs to happen in the industrial space, how I think there's a technology enabled part of this, I don't know specifically what that is, same group is looking into different things like heat mapping to show risk. So you actually know what that risk could be based on the different processes within the plant and the and they change the different workers at different processes, the different regions, but you still as a human have to take ownership. And from the top down, it has to be cultural.


You know, it's interesting, it's always a human element. It's always the necessity for somebody to truly champion who has the swag for whatever reason to be able to, to instill and move forward with change, because the reality is, somebody come flying in, hey, we're going to be safety centric, whatever company, and then that individual flies back out. nothing really happens. business takes over, I need to, you know, make my production numbers. That means I've got to cut corners. That means I've got to do things that are unacceptable. And you know what the problem is? Everybody does the same thing. It's not just one person that's just been a, you know, a cowboy out there and just plays in a truck. No, everybody, everybody's doing it. And I think I think a way a possibly moving that needle just a little bit. It has to be down at the local level, but you have to do it incrementally. So that it creates I think you said stickiness. Tell us what do you think? Yeah, I


think um, as you're saying that I'm thinking about something that's personal to me that's worth sharing because it shows that it's an ecosystem of different players that must come together from the leadership to the manufacturer. So the OEMs to the regulators to the reinsurer. So, I think about my daughter Lily, when she was in they were all born very premature. They were triplets right of course, they're born premature, but they were doing pretty well. And Lily was on an oxygen Blender that was supposed to be giving out a certain amount of oxygen. And that diet was set on room air which is 21%. Right Lily never decided and if you think about you know your oxygen levels, your D sat all day long, a little bit here a little bit there. Lily was always at 100%. So right there, that's an anomaly that someone should have questioned. Everybody called her super baby instead. They didn't question why knowing they'd never seen that before. They just thought Wow, she's a super baby. Okay, but then when they would take for up to clean her, she would reset drastically. So they just assumed she doesn't like that. But as a clinician, you know that that's not realistic. And the layers of ignorance beneath those assumptions. Wasn't anyone's fault. But there wasn't that culture of it doesn't look right. So let's question it. Let's come together. And, you know, roundtable on it a couple weeks later, Lou is getting trios for her retinal development and tortuosity for blood vessels because of over oxygen over oxygenation. So toxic levels of oxygen are being saturated into her blood vessels, which in her retina, which is known as retinopathy of prematurity, and that is common, and babies that need a lot more oxygen, to stay alive, so that they can actually, um, their brain can develop, but in babies that don't need it, it's very detrimental. And it's kind of a skill that the clinician has to weigh very carefully. So long story short, that oxygen Blender was mis calibrated, during preventative maintenance, and there was no way to actually confirm that that preventative maintenance was done correctly. And that that 21% was getting off 21%, it was the opposite was getting off 70%. So what happened then, is the standard of care changed. Now every oxygen blender, every baby that goes on a blender, they check it with a dial to make sure that it is actually calibrated correctly. And every time they change it, they recheck it. So they've created some sort of redundancy, so that the last one to defense isn't that sticker on the back of the in the industrial space, we don't do that we don't. And then, and then outside of that, even the OEMs get involved now. And the manufacturers have of the RVM, pulse oximeters and the digital analyzers that show you what you're really getting, they all get involved. And they talk about this issue that occurred, the new standard of care and the safety net to prevent it from happening again. And it's spread throughout the neck us right, because they come together to say we're going to protect babies going forward from ever having this happen having this happen again. But we don't do that in the industrial space, we hide it, it's under the rug, we don't hear about it, we just know there was a fine someone died on with your business, there has to be some sort of way that all these stakeholders come together. And they say no more as a manufacturer of this equipment, this enterprise asset, let's say, as a regulator, as a reinsure, as a company, who has people that are employed to do a job, all of these people within this ecosystem need to come together and create a safety net around safety. And I think when that happens, it's not so disparate. It's not so silent, it's not so opposing, it's um, it's a commitment and a family and, and a culture, I guess, is the best.


I hear what you're saying, I hear what you're saying. And I think that really, from my perspective, the only way that I see it really getting done, it's got to be one company at a time, that company has to realize that maybe some of the, there will be difficult conversations. And in those difficult conversations, you can't sit there and hammer people and and teach them to hold back. It's got to be inclusive in areas like it's that is the mindset to have. I'll give you an example. When I was alignment, climate towers, we didn't have people falling out of the sky, there's no way right, you knew what the risk were you looked around, you had that conversation, they were just touching, you know, energized lines. That didn't happen, you would have these conversations all the time, you were aware of the risks you were in, and it's life or death, right? It's either or it's it's on or off, it doesn't matter. And it's amazing that our conversations were around like that safety. And people aren't, like I said, fallen out of the sky kicking up and up, I believe in a manufacturing or a highly complex system. Unlike maybe linework, where you see it in front of you. These you know, you've got different locations within an organization requiring different sensitivities that that level of knowledge has to amp it up from perspective to


just covered a few things that are part of the problem is there's a continuously growing gap in skilled workers. There's a it's a very big problem. You know, I'm on a government or Government Relations Committee for this problem to try to create apprenticeships to fill that gap as all of these workers aged out, but then you have these these mechanical systems, these electrical systems that are much more complicated and and have all these different components that there's just no awareness or knowledge bank, on how to appropriately maintain them, how to even inspect them, how, what type of, you know, protective equipment to have when you inspect them, and that's where I believe technology is going to help us there. But the complexity of the, you know, these innovative systems and the skills gap. Oh, that's something that I wouldn't want to be responsible for you


bring up a Really interesting challenge. Like when I was alignment, I went through an apprenticeship program, it took four or five years to get to a second step, journeyman. And it was, you know, you're doing it, you're working it, and you understood, and it was an apprenticeship, and you had to take tests, you had to progress anyway. It, it seems to me that, that that commitment to education from an industrial perspective, and an apprenticeship approach is lacking, too. And that means and, and that the sophistication of the assets that exist in the field today have just went through the roof. It's not just a pump, it's a pump with a lot of tech to it.


And the people designing those are these brilliant engineers that don't understand the use case for the actual, you know, how they take shape in a plant, an intern last summer, and she's a mechanical engineer at Duke, she had no idea what reliability and maintainability of these assets mentioned, you know, as a field to understand that, when these systems are commissioned, how they're maintained across their asset lifecycle, and that to me was like, wow, we need to do a better job. While these, you know, during the education phase of it, but also, they're complex, because these kids are, you know, stem, stem, stem computer lab, everything is taking what happened to just the normal trade school, like those, I don't think they're there anymore, at least, you know, my high school, I could have went to shop, I could have went to homag, I could have went to, you know, become a cosmetologist. Now, those programs, there's no funding, and they've been replaced with computer labs, which of course, that's a great thing for advancing that part of where we're going. And we need that because automation and visualization, we need to have those skills, but we're going to instill new people to fix these machines to maintain these machines to understand how to, that's a big gap. Big problem.


I think if you could communicate a level of sophistication, before you were just like a wrench Turner over here, and that's where you were going in your wrench-turner, that's not the case. I look at the the profession of reliability, the profession of safety, the profession of maintenance, like a doctor, if you can communicate, you've got a sick asset out there. And you're you're consuming the data, you're looking at it, you're assessing the situation, and then you're going to apply, you know, whatever the care needs to be. We have a need to be able to communicate, and to be able to make sure that it's it's not it's not a wrench Turner, it's far more important. It's sophistication.


It is that's what when you mentioned the doctor, it's like, have you heard of this concierge doctors where they really manage your wellness, not just your, your physical exam, it's your wellness, it's your you know, it's all inclusive. So I don't go once a year to get checked, I am managed 365 days a year, 24 hours a day to ensure that I am well and then I am mitigating things that will make me unwell staying ahead of them. We don't do that with assets, we check them because we have to. Yep, check off got my piece of paper I'm done. I think we need a concierge we're maintaining these pieces of equipment. And I think that's exactly what we used together. Safety, reliability and maintenance. So potentially that's where the issue is and or that's where the opportunity is. And we now need to figure out how to land that and expand it to make it stick.


Yeah, and I love the the term stickiness because you're absolutely spot on. I've been at involved with many organizations, everybody talking like we're going to be a reliability centric organization. You come back six year or a year from now, and it's all falling apart safety, they've gone All right, we're gonna put up all the posters around, but it still doesn't change it. And and and their maintenance is still reactive, and still causing a lot of problems. Yeah, exactly. Right. It just happens. And I don't know. It's it's cultural doc got it. If you could come up if if CME Group could come up with a, a cogent way of being able to create that whole holistic view of moving forward and keeping people safe and, and assets up and running and maintenance? Oh, gosh,


I have no doubt we will. I mean, we're all very passionate about it. And when we understand what needs to happen, we know we'll get there we're figuring out exactly how to get there so that it does all these problems across regions. And different use cases because it isn't a one size fits all. It has to be flexible and it has to be you have to be able to tweak it for our audience and for whatever they're doing. You're in that space. You have to


one size does not fit all and and you're absolutely spot on. And you're going to have to have that insight and vision to be able to adjust and to mold that program. Alright. You had me at safety. How do people get ahold of you?


I can be reached pretty much The email text phone I LinkedIn Find me on LinkedIn. Christine O'Rourke Witte is where you'll find me but go to CME Group comm check out our websites, check out our LinkedIn page, you'll see me on there. And I look forward to talking to you guys. If you have any ideas for us, we have a challenge that we can solve for you. You know, we'd love to help. Again, it's a great group, we're very passionate about what we're doing and where we're going.


I have to say that I love that that triad view of and I'm looking out at the website, the CME Group website, which is really nice. In that triad view of safety, reliability and maintenance. Yes. But in the real world, we always like maintenance, it's over here. Reliability is that person in the thing and safety is over here. There's no it's not across but it is across it is a part of that. Oh, you are just absolutely wonderful Christy now, listeners, her last name is wi t t e with E like city and CME Group SCA m gr. o u p is the organization. Absolutely great, great, great. Team out there. Good job, Christy. Thank you, Scott. It was a pleasure. All right, listeners, we're gonna wrap it up on the other side. So if you're not, we're gonna have all the contact information of Christine and the same group. So stay tuned. You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network. All right. What did I tell you? Did you like that topic? I thought that topic was exceptional. If everyone looked at safety, the way we looked at our trip, yeah, things would be changed that data, that data would go down in a big way. CME Group is a company, check her out. Great stat card out on LinkedIn, you will not be disappointed. All right. To reiterate, we've got a couple of events. Let's get back to normal. We've got one October 5 through the seventh. This is IoT solutions. We'll Contreras Congress is brought to you by fair Barcelona and the industrial internet Consortium. Absolutely great people, great companies putting on a great, great show. The other one is the manufacturing and technology show. That is November 9 through the 11th. Get your focus up to Cleveland, and enjoy this particular event because you will not be disappointed. All right, be bold, be brave, daring, greatly hang out with people who are bold, brave, daring greatly. Be the creator of drapes, be the miracle. Be the hope. That's what industry is all about. Thank you very much for joining the industrial talk podcast. We're gonna have another great interview right around the corner.

Scott MacKenzie

About the author, Scott

I am Scott MacKenzie, husband, father, and passionate industry educator. From humble beginnings as a lathing contractor and certified journeyman/lineman to an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Business Administration, I have applied every aspect of my education and training to lead and influence. I believe in serving and adding value wherever I am called.

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