Developing a culture of safety for 1,000 days

Eriez' world headquarters in Erie, Penn. is closing in on three years without a day lost due to injury.

05/25/2011


Eriez, which manufactures magentic, vibration, and inspection technology, passed 1,000 days of production without a lost-time injury on May 19. These milestones are recognized within facilities, but the culture that creates such safety records needs to be examined. CFE Media discussed the Eriez safety strategy with Process Safety Manager Tina Meyers, who talked about some of the factors involved in creating and maintaining a safe workplace:

CFE: What’s the key factor in reaching 1,000 consecutive days without a lost time incident?

It truly comes down to the people. Eriez employees have really taken ownership of preventing lost time accidents. They deserve the credit for this remarkable achievement.

CFE: Was there a turning point at Eriez to where safety became a more visible part of the company’s culture? Today, what drives that culture?

A couple of years ago, we made a number of changes designed to better integrate safety in Eriez’ day-to-day operations. We revamped our new employee safety orientation to better emphasize safety and increased safety training for all employees. We also incorporated safety into our health and wellness program and added safety updates to company meetings. To serve as a constant, visual reminder of our safety progress, we mounted a large sign in the plant that clearly displays the number of days our plant has worked without a lost time accident. The safety culture begins with the emphasis the management team puts on safety, but it’s really driven by the employees. Our employees take personal accountability when it comes to safety.

CFE: How do you get effective employee involvement with safety on the plant floor?

We believe that awareness is the most essential aspect of any safety program. By keeping employees informed and continuously reiterating the importance of safety, they become invested in maintaining a safe environment.

CFE: What areas of your safety effort still need attention?

We have done a great job of weaving safety into day-to-day operations, but there is always room for improvement. The management team maintains an ongoing discussion about increasing and improving safety training and new approaches for keeping our employees involved.

CFE: Define safety in a manufacturing environment. How do you and your employees know Eriez is a safe place to work?

A safe manufacturing environment is one in which the potential for danger, risk and injury is minimized as much as possible. We believe the key to reducing danger, risk and injury comes from safety training, education and awareness. Our safety program gives employees the proper knowledge to successfully avoid danger, risk and injury in their work environment. It is our comprehensive safety program and its demonstrated effectiveness that gives Eriez management and employees the confidence that Eriez is a safe place to work.