As we round out National Safety Month and the final part of our safety series, we’ll review the remaining 4 immutable keys of a successful and sustainable safety process. Read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.
Time & Money
Time is money, but time spent focused on safety prior to incidents and injuries occurring costs significantly less than costs incurred after an incident. Leadership must decide which investment is more valuable – prevention or reaction. We expect each Milliken Associate to make safety part of their daily routine. Each associate spends 1 hour 45 minutes weekly focused on safety.
Maybe an hour and 45 minutes every week is too much for your organization, but you need to ask yourself what time commitment are you willing to allow your associates to make to safety? By accepting the time commitment required and understanding the cost benefits of preventive versus reactive work, you can develop a culture of safety that is driven by your entire workforce.
It is the responsibility of leadership to equip all associates with the knowledge required to perform job functions in the safest possible manner. It is the responsibility of associates to learn, demonstrate, and maintain safe practices at all times. Associates should be presented with required training for a new position and be educated and certified before any work begins. In our Milliken plants, for the first month associates are audited multiple times per day by peers to ensure they are completely comfortable with their responsibilities.
Implementing on-going training and education first requires a review of resources and training materials and requirements, and an analysis of gaps in soft skills training. A few questions you can ask your team are:
- What percentage of OSHA required training was completed last year?
- How is safety covered during new hire training? By whom?
- Who is responsible for retention of training documentation? How long?
- Is the current process effective? How do you know?
It is important that safety training is delivered by a subject matter expert, away from the manufacturing floor, and in a manner that effectively educates all types of learners.
The consequences of not addressing case management have a direct correlation to both direct and indirect costs. Morale, quality and productivity can suffer while higher costs are passed on to customers. Having an associate fully involved in the incident investigation and helping to implement improvements to the safety process can help to prevent the incident ever recurring. It is also important to have a process in place for case management.
An effective case management plan should include:
- Organization Education
- Plans (Policies—Procedures—Guidelines)
- Critical Path/Timelines
An organization’s people are its most important asset. Care must be the most important component in order to maintain trusting relationships.
Taking a continuous improvement approach to safety yields a cycle that doesn’t end. In order to make safety interesting and exciting for the long haul, make it fun! Awareness activities inject fun into the safety process through purposeful play. Associate awareness for hand safety is raised by having associates race to spread peanut butter on a piece of bread using only their non-dominant hand. Participants and observers will walk away understanding that even the simplest tasks become much harder without the use of both hands.
Posting signs or setting up awareness scenes can also be great ways of reminding employees to be safe in the workplace. It doesn’t have to be extensive, it only needs to be effective. Start by incorporating safety activities in your meetings and develop a strategy for rewards and recognition for safety.
Safety is an uncompromising value and these 9 keys continue to be the foundation of Milliken’s safety process. Remember to deliver expectations consistently and repetitively and utilize this infrastructure to allow the production associates to take ownership in your safety process. By involving and empowering your associates, trust and integrity are built.
Looking to improve your company’s safety performance? Contact a Performance Solutions Practitioner today.