Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Road to a Successful Safety Process

A successful safety program is founded on associate engagement, leadership commitment and continuous improvement of safety methodologies. At least this is what works for Milliken & Co., says its director of business development and marketing Phil McIntyre, at this year's International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago. He discusses the nine keys to a successful and sustainable safety process.
  1. Leadership expectations and communication. The best safety message a leader can give is "we don't want anyone to get hurt." Rather than making a case to workers that “it makes business sense to improve safety," this message shows workers that you actually care about their safety and health. 
  2. Measurements and review. Measure and review safety mechanisms. 
  3. Organization structure. Organizations should have subject matter expertise and code/compliance/auditing capability. The attitude that "I" own the safety process is critical as well. 
  4. Reporting. The organization's agenda should start with safety. Make it a top priority in reporting.
  5. Standardization. McIntyre asks: How do you have a global, diverse, multifaceted company where individuals have the autonomy to make changes and change safety while staying tethered to standardization? This is a challenge each organization must learn to overcome. With the exception of some flexibility, organizations should remain standardized in their safety efforts. 
  6. Time and dollar commitment. Invest in safety before incidents occur.
  7. Education. Train! Train! Train! Companies should institute training modules, code and compliance guidelines and other educational programs. 
  8. Case management. If an incident at Milliken, a manager goes with the associate to the hospital. Management is on the scene from the moment an injury occurs until it is resolved. 
  9. Awareness activities. Install activities, programs and even attitudes that continually keep the workers engaged. 
According to McIntyre, Milliken cost-avoided $17.1 million in net income loss per year just by being a safe company. That's a pretty powerful argument to make to upper management, he says.