Jamie Spataro says that he loves a challenge and learning new things. In his private life, he is a member of a rock band (which he accidentally named) and a licensed pilot. He left his position at a prominent law firm, where he did litigation and product liability work, to join the FedEx Ground legal department 12 years ago. Today, he is Lead Counsel at FedEx Ground, handling regulatory affairs, including workplace safety and the company’s COVID response.  He joins Tom Fox and Valerie Charles to talk about the intersection of health and safety and compliance, and how focusing on the first leads to a better compliance program overall.

 

Protecting Customers and Employees During COVID

“We had to be nimble and adapt our practices to keep our workforce and our customers safe [during the pandemic],” Jamie says. The legal department is responsible for protecting the brand, as well as ensuring that the workforce and customers are kept safe, and that the company is complying with the laws and regulations. Their corporation-wide pandemic protection program incorporates common federal, state, and municipal COVID regulations into a comprehensive policy that they apply across the board. This ensures that they’re staying compliant as well as keeping everyone safe. Jamie explains that their safety protocols evolve as the science around COVID is evolving. “We feel that our program could accommodate any similar type of pandemic that might come across in the future,” he proudly comments.

Integrating Technology into Health & Safety

Tom asks how FedEx has been able to integrate technology to promote health and safety in the company. OSHA compliance has become increasingly data-driven, Jamie responds. “Being able to manage, receive, manipulate, query data has been at the forefront of how we’re able to stay compliant, and continue to comply with… increasing data demands on our business.”  He illustrates how they use injury and illness data to look for patterns and root cause. “I think that the biggest change I have seen is how data is used and leveraged to ensure compliance and also to maybe spot areas within a business that may need some help,” he continues. Tom comments that their approach effectively covers the three major areas of a compliance program – prevent, detect and remediate. Jamie explains why FedEx is focusing a lot of effort on the bottom of the hierarchy of controls pyramid since it can address the root cause and hopefully eliminate the hazard as much as possible. “We’re trying to flip that pyramid on its head, trying to really focus on behavioral science and predicting behaviors, so that we can prevent them from happening in the future,” he remarks.

The Future of Compliance

Valerie says, “I think health and safety professionals and OSHA experts are probably going to lead the way for other compliance professionals in the use of behavioral psychology in compliance programs.” Though still a relatively new trend, Jamie feels that it will continue to gain traction in the coming years. It’s a veritable goldmine if you can find a way to manipulate the data you may already have, he tells listeners. Focus on trends, particularly employee behavior before an accident or injury. You may uncover patterns that you can take steps to prevent. The need for data is only going to grow, and more agencies are going to require data from companies. Take the opportunity to choose a technology solution now so that you’re ahead of the curve and prepared for what will inevitably come, Jamie advises. “You’re going to find that solution may be helpful for you in other areas.” He and Tom discuss the importance of making safety the first priority and how easily a brand can be damaged by neglecting safety. “Safety needs to be at the forefront of everyone’s list of priorities,” Jamie comments.

 

Resources

Jamie Spataro on LinkedIn