Manufacturers of all sizes are making safety a core value. We couldn’t applaud this trend more. We talk to ranking leadership every day who share with us that accident prevention is a top safety concern. The most obvious reason is the protection of human life and limb, but many also see the value in instilling these practices as a part of company culture because of the by-product of increased pride in work across the company.
We know we’d all love to eliminate accidents completely, but we have to work our way there. To start, we can focus on changing our mindset and putting a greater emphasis on safety. To help you continue your journey to safety here are five points for consideration. We hope they are helpful as you create and maintain an environment that protects your company’s best asset – the employees.
1. Overconfidence at Work
While confidence on the job seems like a positive attribute for a great employee, consider starting your next safety meeting about the role overconfidence can play in a preventable injury.
“Our industry is full of a lot of tough guys who might, in a reactive moment, go up against a 4,000-pound bundle of steel. The reality is that they are going to lose that battle,” says Jack Quinn, Quality Assurance/Safety Manager at our Boyd Metals Joplin facility. “Reaching for something from a poor position or not using the right equipment for loading should never be done. We have cranes and lift trucks to do certain jobs for employee safety reasons.”
2. Knowing Industry Specific OSHA Regulations
The US Department of Labor has major concerns with worker safety and OSHA regulations are the standards. Everyone in this industry has a keen interest in these standards, but specifics about metalworking should be a regular topic at any safety meeting. While it may be impossible to keep up with each one, here are a few to make sure to cover in your next safety meeting:
- Metalworking Fluids: Safety and Health Best Practices Manual
- Lock-out Tag-Out Procedures for Equipment Safety
- Controlling Hazardous Fume and Gases during Welding
3. Cleanliness is Next to “Safety-ness”
Many manufacturing facilities have opted to implement the “5S” workplace organizational and housekeeping methodology to create a more lean and efficient workplace. This strategy can eliminate wasted time and effort in your workplace, but the improvements that it provides to your saftey may be even more beneficial in the long run. The 5 points of this plan are as follows:
- Set in order
In order to properly sort and shine the lighting must be adequate. In order to set in order and standardize co-workers must be held in proper accountability to the system. A team that sustains this kind of system is a team that shows pride in their work. All of these contribute toward accident prevention far beyond the efficiency gained.
4. Inspect what you Expect
A monthly safety walk-through can be an enlightening experience for any manager or supervisor. A few tips can make these efforts more effective:
- Schedule these monthly, but not on a predictable schedule. Attention should be made to different shifts within the company to inspect different crews at work at same workstations if possible.
- Allow for multiple supervisors to handle each inspection. Having a new set of eyes on the same problem can make all the difference. Consider even having supervisors from different departments exchange inspections.
- Be sure to provide a comprehensive checklist so those involved know what they are looking for and provide enough space to encourage additional comments and suggestions for improvement.
5. Make it Real with Real Follow-through
There is no sense in completing a comprehensive inspection calendar if the reports are not presented and discussed. Make sure that the inspection checklists include a requirement for the findings to be presented and discussed. At that meeting, establish clear next steps to addressing items identified for improvement. Proper corrective actions should require (at least) the following:
- Due dates
- Documentation including photos
- Incident review with employees involved
While we all are pulled in multiple directions with deadlines, it is critical to remember that safety should be everyone’s number one job.
At Boyd Metals, we care about our clients far beyond their profitability. If you have a safety mindset you’d like to share, feel free to comment below and contribute to the betterment of our industry.
Boyd Metals is a regional cornerstone of the metal service industry. With our commitment to being a one-stop source for all things metal, we deliver time-saving stocking, sourcing and delivery solutions in Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. All four of our locations are managed locally with an effective and efficient structure that drives innovation and meets customer needs. We strive to honor all employees, clients and vendors with the highest level of integrity, honesty and service. To the clients of Boyd Metals we provide more than a fair price and a great value. We deliver versatility and responsiveness, allowing our customers to maintain focus on their own products and customers. Find out why so many partner with Boyd Metals and experience the Boyd difference for yourself.