We’re safe; we’ve had no machine safety accidents for a long time
All too often I hear or read about a companies’ great safety record only to read on about a major incident or accident and the devastating human and/or business impacts that occur. One central place to stay current regarding safety in general as well as specific incidents is OSHA’s twice monthly email report titled OSHA Quick Takes.
All too often I hear or read about a companies’ great safety record only to read on about a major incident or accident and the devastating human and/or business impacts that occur. One central place to stay current regarding safety in general as well as specific incidents is OSHA’s twice monthly email report titled OSHA Quick Takes. Here, you’ll be able to get some exposure to what’s going on in the big world regarding machine safety and draw some comparisons to your own situation.
I suggest you take some time to look under the covers at your own machine safety environment and draw some conclusions. Ask yourself, are you accident free because of your stellar safety program or because you’ve always found a chair to sit in when the music stops?
In my opinion, over the course of forty plus years of experience, I can’t tell you about all the companies I’ve seen that are luckily accident free. Luck will not speed the recovery of an injured employee or reduce the cost of an accident which goes directly to the bottom line. Luck is not a good strategy on which to base your business. Instead, I suggest that your goal should be best in class. It’s one thing to be proud of an accident free safety record but ask yourself if your record is the result of your companies’ safety culture and integrated safety program.
A great safety culture within a company will most often be one that exhibits safety as a shared value from top to bottom. A great test to see if the “shared value” concept is present is to ask the question – Is it OK for an employee to stop the machine or shut down the process if he or she sees an unsafe condition? If the answer to this question is yes, then there’s a very strong likelihood that this company has a robust safety culture in my opinion.
What is the safety culture like at your company? What are your concerns? Is your company playing musical chairs with machine safety? A frequent question I’m asked by HS&E colleagues is, “How can I get top management to actively participate in the shared value of machine safety?”
One of the “Best in Class” companies reports – “Our employee’s value reporting learning events. It gives us an opportunity to identify hazards, evaluate risk, perform root cause analysis and implement corrective actions, BEFORE someone is injured.” (Georgia Pacific, Rockwell Automation - Safety Automation Forum, 2010)
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