As for Safety, 'It Drives Down'
Here's a company with the right approach.
- By Jerry Laws
- Sep 01, 2006
SUCCEEDING at safety is easy, if you follow the formula used by
managers and workers at Louisiana-Pacific Corp.'s Engineered Wood
Products plant in Golden, British Columbia, to achieve 1 million hours
without a recordable injury on June 19, 2006.
"What I've told other plants at other companies is, the first thing
they need to have is the commitment from their company--the very top,"
said Bryce Piggot, plant manager. "We can all say 'I don't want anybody
to get hurt,' but our bosses expect that nobody's going to get hurt. So it drives down."
There you have it: the key to safety excellence, free of charge. But
it isn't that simple, said Piggot and Lee Jesse, the plant's safety
manager and a 24-year employee. The Golden plant has a full panoply of
hazards, 350 hourly employees (425 total), and is unionized. Core
elements of its safety success include peer-to-peer training, highly
trained first aiders, zero-tolerance enforcement of lockout/tagout,
entanglement and safety eyewear policies, a good return-to-work
program, and more, they told me.
The plant's SEE Observation program (See, Evaluate, and Educate)
requires supervisors to observe and document at least two at-risk or
safe behaviors each day, so they are correcting or praising work
behaviors as they happen. Its housekeeping is top notch. Piggot said
the hazard near-miss reporting program also is important; people who
report hazards are involved in fixing them, such as one worker who
created new signage to make the plant's fire extinguishers easier to
find. Safety outreach from the plant touches schools through bike
rodeos and the community through an annual safety fair.
"We're doing everything we can to engage and involve the employees
more and more and more," Piggot summarized. "I think success breeds
more success. In the beginning there are expectations that are set, and
you work hard through the bumps of people getting used to new rules.
You get a very functional safety team, a very engaged safety team. And
from that, you plan on doing as much as you can to engage the floor
workers. And then, slowly but surely, you get all these little things
that just come together. All of a sudden, your first aids have started
to go down. Your serious near misses are reducing in number. I believe
that people become more and more aware of what we've accomplished, and
that causes a constant awareness to make sure they're working safely
because they don't want to be the next injury."
Piggot's previous job was at a sawmill. "I came from the old school,
thinking: 'We're going to safety ourselves right onto the bread line.'
But at both plants I've been at, productivity is actually up," he said.
"We're asking people, 'Do not take shortcuts, don't worry about
production. You worry about safety of you and the others around you
first.' And productivity in every department is actually up."
This column appeared in the September 2006 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.
This article originally appeared in the September 2006 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.
Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.