Archive for June, 2012

I got the pleasure of spending the past 10 days in France on business.   The facility that I visited manufactures a variety of parts primarily for the heavy machinery and automotive industries.   This particular facility has a terrible safety record over the past five years.   I did not go to this facility to help them with their safety program – I was there on other business.    The first thing that strikes me about the facility is the lack of PPE that is required in the manufacturing area.   This facility is cutting and machining metal parts but does not require any of its employees or visitors to wear eye protection!

The production manager at this facility was very proud of a short three minute safety film that he produced and has running on a continuous loop in the factory on a large monitor.   This film shows employees how to properly put on gloves.   No eye protection is required but they have a film about gloves.   I asked the production manager  how many cuts to the hands have they experienced before and after the video.   His answer?   ZERO!   I said: “That’s good – no more cuts to the hand.   But how many did you have before the video?”    He replied: “ZERO!“.

I looked around and found many machines with inadequate guarding, many employees taking unnecessary safety risks, and hazards galore.   I still didn’t understand why this guy who is responsible for the safety of his employees would choose to spend time and money making a video about gloves when that did not appear to be a problem at this facility.   So I asked him: “Why would you spend time and money creating a video about gloves when that does not appear to be a problem at this facility?”   His reply: “It was easy”.    I asked: “What do you mean?”   He replied: “Making a video on gloves was easy – we don’t have cuts”.   I had to ask: “Then why do it?”   He replied: “It was easy”.  You see where this is going – right?   So I decided to approach it differently and I asked: “Wouldn’t it have been a better use of time and money to make a video that addresses one of the top things that injures people?”   He replied: “No, making a video about gloves was easy”.

Even though something is easy – we should spend our time, energy and money tackling problems that have the largest impact.   Spending time doing something easy means that we are not spending time solving a problem that has a larger benefit to the organization.   I tried to explain this to the production manager in France but I couldn’t get through to him.   I hope I can get through to you.

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

What is it that makes people care?  Since the beginning of June, we have experienced an abnormal number of accidents – nothing serious – just minor accidents.   As anybody related to safety knows – this is a barometer of potentially larger accidents.   I am deeply concerned about where this is heading but NOBODY SEEMS TO CARE!   Why?  Is it because we are having the best safety year in the history of the company?   Is it because these accidents are relatively minor?  Is it that everyone has shed responsibility for safety and thinks the guy administering the program is responsible?   Is it all of the above?

I don’t like the direction this is heading.   We (as in all of us) have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment.   It is not acceptable for anybody to get injured – no matter how minor.   I take this responsibility very seriously.   So, what am I going to do?   I am going to put forth an effort to make people care – I can’t accept that NOBODY SEEMS TO CARE!   Our TCIR is at 1.5 and our LTIR is at 0.4.   These are considered by many to be world class.   This is considered by me to be 1.5 and 0.4 too high.   We have a belief that we are very good in terms of safety and I think we have taken our eye off the ball.

How am I going to make people care and get everyone focused again?   Communication, communication, communication!   We need to keep everyone thinking about safety at all times.   We need to ensure that everyone understands that it is not acceptable to take risks or disregard safety rules.   We need to ensure that the leaders of our business embrace safety and support the environment which allows for all employees to embrace safety.    I am taking immediate steps to heighten safety awareness and over communicate.

I am going to wipe out the NOBODY SEEMS TO CARE attitude – what about you?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

About a week ago, I heard a Chinese proverb that directly relates to safety training.   The proverb says “Tell me and I will forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I will understand”.   How many safety meetings have you been at where somebody lectures and everyone else daydreams?   Occasionally, the presenter will have a visual display or example – this makes it mildly interesting.   When you are DIRECTLY INVOLVED in the safety training – the chances of you understanding and applying the knowledge is increased substantially.

How do we DIRECTLY INVOLVE all employees in the safety program?   We have some of our employees serve on an active safety committee that performs self assessments of the workplace.  We have some of our employees analyze specific jobs and identify potential hazards that might exist (JHA/JSP analysis).  We have some of our employees first aid certified by the American Red Cross.   We have some of our employees present the safety topic of the week and be responsible for training.  We have some of our employee’s film specific topics for a future safety training film.  I can keep going on and on with ideas on how to DIRECTLY INVOLVE all employees in the safety program.

So why don’t we DIRECTLY INVOLVE our employees in the safety program?   It takes work!   It’s easy to go through the motions and conduct a weekly safety meeting just because it’s a corporate requirement.   It’s not so easy to empower and employee to research the topic and challenge the employee to bring facility specific examples to present at the weekly safety meeting.   It’s easy to cut and paste a JHA/JSP from a similar job and apply it to another job.   It’s not so easy to empower an employee or a group of employees to identify every potential risk/hazard on a specific job and identify the mitigating controls that are in place to protect the employee.   It’s easy to check the boxes on an inspection form.  It’s not so easy to challenge the safety committee to find a hazard that nobody else has ever identified.   All of this takes work.   In my opinion, this benefit and payoff far outweigh the work!

I am going to DIRECTLY INVOLVE employees in our safety program – what about you?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

I read an article over the weekend which I completely support:  The State of GEORGIA is revoking unemployment benefits for failed drug tests.   Bravo Georgia!   Why not make it a Federal law for all government benefits and mandate each State to adopt such program?

A group of people are fighting the stance that Georgia is taking.  They claim that the unemployment benefits are meant to keep families afloat during times of economic hardship and the position that Georgia has taken is viewed as an unreasonable burden on budgets.   Isn’t using illegal drugs also an unreasonable burden on budgets?   Couldn’t the money used to purchase illegal drugs be used to keep their family afloat during times of economic hardship?

Georgia is not the first State to try this: “That logic also has been used to support drug tests for welfare recipients.  A similar law in Florida has for now been blocked by a federal judge who cited constitutional concerns.”

It looks like the State of Georgia has figured out how to make this work.   Individuals using drugs are making themselves ineligible and thus unavailable to work – one of the required terms for unemployment eligibility.

I applaud Georgia for taking a stance and doing something about a growing problem.   What stance are you going to take?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434