The GOOD, BAD & UGLY

Posted: July 25, 2012 in Safety Culture, Workers Compensation
Tags: , ,

I visited three manufacturing sites yesterday with a co-worker, workers compensation insurance broker, and workers compensation insurance representative.   It was intended to be a quick visit at each site due to time constraints.   All three manufacturing sites are within the same company.

The GOOD – Plant #1 was neat, orderly, and overall the visit went well.   There were a couple of ergonomic items that the insurance representative pointed out related to hand tools.   The facility leader embraced what they had to say and even asked for suggestions on a “problem job” that he identified.    Overall it was a very productive visit that lasted 40 minutes.

The BAD and UGLY – Plant #2 was very clean, neat and orderly – not much else that was good to report.   We entered the facility and were not required to sign in so we could be accounted for in case of an emergency (per policy) .  The facility leader did not comply with PPE requirements when we entered the production area (per policy).   We observed a maintenance tech working on a machine with the guards removed while the machine was not Locked Out (per policy).   We looked at dock doors that had no fall protection (per policy).   Overall, it was a very embarrassing visit that lasted 30 minutes.

Also the BAD and UGLY – Plant #3 was not clean, not orderly and nothing else that was good to report.   The facility leader at this location wants to do a good job but in my opinion lacks leadership skills.   Again, we entered the facility and were not required to sign in (per policy) nor were we asked to wear high visibility vests (per policy).   The worst thing we saw that day happened at this facility.  A customer was parked in the building being loaded.  The customer was wearing shorts, tennis shoes, tank top, no safety glasses, and no hardhat (per policy).   The load was moved one foot over his head via crane!   I asked the facility leader about this and he said that he didn’t want to upset the customer by asking him to comply with the safety rules!  I could write a novel related to other observations at this facility but I want to give you a quick impression of the visit.   Overall, it was another embarrassing visit that lasted 30 minutes.

Here is some additional background items relating to these three facilities.   All three of these facilities report to the same operations leader.   All three of these facility leaders have been responsible for safety at their location for at least 2 years.   All three of these facilities follow the same safety policies and procedures.  All three of these facilities attend monthly safety calls.

So this brings us to the obvious question – why do we see such a difference between these facilities?   In my opinion, the one word answer is Leadership!   More specifically it is the lack of leadership by the Operations Leader as well as a lack of leadership of Facility Leader #2 and #3.   The Operations Leader has created a culture, through lack of leadership, that allows Facility Leader #2 and #3 to be out of compliance with the safety policies and procedures.   Facility Leader #2 and #3 choose not to follow the safety policy and procedures because there has been not adverse consequences by the Operations Leader.    Culture and support play such a large role in any safety program.

The next day I called the Operations Leader and spent more time discussing my observations and concerns then we spent actually visiting these facilities.   For the safety program to be successful, the Operations Leader must support the program and he must be a leader and address the issues with his subordinates.

I addressed the issue with the responsible individual – what would you have done?

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

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