Part of Performance Solutions by Milliken’s manufacturing safety tips series – click here to learn more
Safety in manufacturing plants is more than a set of actions, it is a mindset. Most manufacturers have training and education for safety. However, those activities are often relegated to the classroom or computer screen. At Milliken plants a creative and collaborative environment contributes to a constant safety awareness and mindset.
A key leverage point for safety awareness resides in our value of ‘purposeful play’. We embrace our work differently, we play with passion, a sense of purpose and imagination to achieve great results. This mindset is applied to our safety process to support the focus on creative, inspiring and motivational awareness activities. When was the last time you played with purpose, with imagination, with a smile? We commit to build awareness activities both inside our sites and outside in our wider communities. Safety awareness doesn’t end in the workplace. Commitment influences our safety culture which positively impact the lives of our associates and families. Essentially, we try to have fun, and make the awareness activities interesting and memorable. However, awareness always comes with action, activity and follow up. It’s purposeful play with purposeful and measurable intention.
A good example of ‘purposeful play’ is demonstrated with one of our textile machines. We are not able to shroud the whole machine by covers and lasers for protection. Access to the machine for maintenance, raw material flow, and change-over is part of daily work. Rather than a dry directive to reduce the risk, ‘risk hunter’ teams were formed. The teams took turns evaluating the machine for risk. Points, awards, and recognition was achieved through identification and reduction of machine risk. Teams were proud to identify hidden risks and resolve with creative solutions. The real winners from the activity were the daily machine operators and their families.
A few key attributes that make safety awareness particularly effective include:
- Visual reminders integrated into everyday life. Reminders on the machine, posted on safety boards, worn by all associates, part of documentation, and posted on daily management boards.
- Everyone participates. All associates from the front office, to the warehouse, to the operating floor, to the maintenance shop, to the quality lab participate in awareness. No one is exempt.
- Safety awareness is an essential part of our safety process. Leadership supports and allocates time and space to implement the activities.
At Milliken we commit to involve all associates to build an all-encompassing safety. Safety campaigns, themes and activities for work, home and our local communities are encouraged and led by all layers of the organization to positively impact the lives of the people we care about.