Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ideas for the Management on Safety

While I was the Plant Manager of a company with over 1200 Employees working 3 shifts, I learned a lot about people. It's easy to be in that position and lose touch with your indirect reports, so here are a few ideas that I think really work. Now you don't need to have 1200 people working under you to initiate these Idea's So, give one or all of them a try and let us know how you made out.

I made sure to get to the floor as often as possible, slowing walking around each department. As I later found out, this was frightening to the employees whom many were Hispanic. So Lesson Learned - It's advantageous to explain to your department heads and their reports that you will be coming through and not to be concerned. I am sure many of the thought Yeah right! but Actions Speak Louder Than Words. Here are some actions that worked well.
1. Never, NEVER come into a department and reprimand, or bring up any issue unless there is a safety issue that must be address right then and there. Don't over react!
2. Talk to the supervisor of the area and then the lead personally - get their input before the shift and find an employee in the department they would like to acknowledge. Mix it up, don't hit the same department on the same day or time for all matters. Make a point to get the leaders consent, Acknowledge the employee and tell them why you wanted to meet them. Don't be afraid to ask them if they would like to come off the floor and join you for a cup of coffee.
When you do get off the floor make sure to be sincer and talk about off work topics, like what they like to do when they are not at work. Tell them something about you that makes you happy. I always told them about my Wife and Son. It helped create a bond that I share with many of them today. (When I hear from them usually the question after how are you is how is Ellen and Kyle?)
There are many other things you can do and I will add more in time but I found this to be one that helped create a bond, took away fear and helped us all gain momentim on Safety in the work place.
3. Empowerment - Empower the employees to be safe, to create a safe work place and to train others. They will want to do these for you if you build a good foundation. Asking is a great way to Empower - Telling is another form of dictatorship.
4. Make a point to communicate with a few employees in each department every day. If you using the arm band technique I blogged about earlier - than Here! Here!.. Find the Red band and welcome them. They will feel wonderful. Trust me. When you see the yellow band - ask them where there muster station is in the event of an emergency. If they don't remember don't be upset - they are most likely nervous. ask the leader if you can show them both the primary and alternate evacuation route to their muster station.
5. While your walking around, take mental notes of areas of concern. Don't bring out a notebook - it will intimidate the employees. If you see something of concern that cant wait - get the supervisor and lead together and address the problem. As with any critical safety issue (take action immediately do wait to follow these suggestions. let wisdom, experience and commonsense be your guide)
5. Now you might be thinking that all this touchy feely stuff is for the birds, but seriously it's about building a foundation. Your Staff will want to go the extra mile and when your dealing with a factory or workplace with employees, you want them to do the right thing. I take it personally if someone is injured and you should too. Regardless of the circumstance - I have heard and I am sure you may have as well, "well they didn't operator the machine properly so they deserved it" WHAT!!!!! No one deserve to get injured. So Make Them Part Of The Solution.
8. Put up a Near Miss/Near Hit Box - and put forms the staff can use right next to it, Encourage participation. I realized very quickly that we had a rash of near miss slip and falls due to water on the floor from a few process in our plant. Had we not been told, we might have had a few injuries before we figured out we had a problem. The problem was corrected and the reports stopped and thankfully we did not have any reportable incidents.
In Summary
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. Acknowledge and React to employee concerns before you have an injury. BUILD A FOUNDATION - if your a leader at any level - you can build a foundation. This will greatly help you with more than just safety. EMPOWERMENT let the employees drive. and Lastly Communication - up and down the chain. Don't just have an open door policy. Have an open floor policy. Get the Executive's out of the office and onto the floor. If they don't have time - well your working for the wrong person.

No comments:

Post a Comment