On last week’s Supervisor call, we discussed practices on how to make safety relevant and intentional. For most of us on reading this article, we think of safety on a larger scale. How many accidents did we have in a month or a year? What is our EMR? What is our incident and severity rate? How much do accidents cost? But for an hourly employee, these can be intangible pieces of information. Ford Stinson, the District Manager in Shreveport, spoke about how his district makes safety relevant and intentional with his hourly employees by using a mix of ownership, information retention, accountability and incentive.
Monday Morning Safety Topic
One of the practices in place is an attempt to add as much value as possible during the Monday morning safety topic. Employees are asked questions concerning the topic and individuals are selected to define and give examples of SQE. In many districts, like Florida, different employees are asked to actually present the safety topic to the rest of the district. These practices are all efforts to increase the retention of information for the employees, create an ownership of safety and present SQE via different employees.
Incentive and Discipline
As we mentioned earlier, it’s difficult for an hourly employee to think about safety on a large scale, so how do we make it relevant? Edko has changed its incentive program from a year-end safety bonus to a gift card-based program to create instant gratification for observations of good, safe work practices. Ford has taken this concept to a different level. If his crews can make it a whole month without an accident, his supervisors have a cookout (burgers, fish fry, etc.,) making district safety a collective effort, not just an individual effort. In contrast, if an unreported accident is discovered, the employee is immediately terminated. As a result, his employees have been more forthcoming with any and all types of incidents (small scrapes, cuts, scratches on vehicles,) and to date, are still accident free.
The thoughts being presented in this article are certainly not being suggested as a one-size-fits-all solution for all of our districts, but what this information should do is stir up thoughts to improve communication and safety within your district.