Safety+ Session Demonstrates Path to Employee Engagement

The exercise showed the presenters' point clearly: When managers allow employees to collaborate and strategize, they will find and use a successful solution. But putting pressure on employees to perform, with no input or collaboration allowed, is less likely to succeed.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- An Aug. 29 workshop at the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association's Safety+ symposium here did a fine job of showing how employee engagement can be built, step by step, through a series of recognition campaigns. Maureen Roxbury, VPP coordinator for the CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co., Hanford, Wash., took the lead for a team of employees from the company who presented the "Employee Evolved Safety Campaigns" workshop, which featured a mock safety committee that bickered at first but developed into a supportive, engaged team, as well as an exercise where two groups selected from the audience stood in circles and tried to follow complicated rules while passing a ball successfully to everyone in the circle.

The exercise showed the presenters' point clearly: When managers allow employees to collaborate and strategize, they will find and use a successful solution. But putting pressure on employees to perform, with no input or collaboration allowed, is less likely to succeed.

The presenters stressed that "Target Zero," a mantra for some companies, is a slogan, not a methodology. They explained that their own company uses Safety Blackout/Bingo cards, for both office and field staffers, to engage employees in safety programs and in recognizing hazards. One anti-texting campaign awarded little "JUST" "DRV" bands that would fit the thumbs of employees and their driving-age children, to remind the wearer immediately not to text while behind the wheel.

Near the end of the workshop, Roxbury and a colleague presented CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co.'s own recent safety results: 877 days since its last OSHA recordable injury, and a steady reduction in deficiencies logged from 2015-16 to the current 2017-18.

The company received the Department of Energy's VPP Innovation Award this week for stabilizing a hazardous waste storage tunnel at the Hanford Site after the tunnel's partial collapse in 2017. The company also received the Legacy of Stars award, which is given to companies that obtain the VPP Star of Excellence in four successive years.

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