Coach the questions are: How do we know that associates are applying the information we share with them once they leave the safety training meetings? And, how do we get them to take what we teach back to the work floor or work stations?
This is one of those difficult questions modern day managers and supervisors has to deal with. It is hard to believe you can convince your upper management to take associates away from their work stations and spend non-productive time talking and learning about safety only to find out they did not take the training back to their work station. Even worse they seem to have forgotten the training within a few minutes after walking out of the meeting. It is very frustrating to observe your direct reports during workstation visits, or a walk-through with the boss, standing on the top step of a step ladder, failing to wear their personal protective equipment that you provided for free and trained them to use, failure to follow life safety procedures such as lock-out-tag-out or burning and/or welding hot work permitting, and how about creating distractions or jumping out safety interlocks that can cause a lack of focus that leads to near misses, accidents, major injuries or even deaths.
Daily safety messages, posting on bulletin boards, safety meetings, what if assessments, Take (Talk, Actions, Knowledge, Equipment), JSA's (job safety analysis), daily five minute tool box safety meetings and the other 101 things companies do to help their associates work safely, all have a place in the work place, but they will likely not alone get you the end results you are looking for.
The one common philosophy every associate understands is they have to get the work done properly, and within the time allotted or they will not receive the performance rating needed to sustain their employment. This culture includes every associate from the person that sweeps the floor to the chief executive officer of the company.
So relax managers and supervisors this is not entirely your fault, it is likely something they learned from their fathers and mothers that has been pass down through the generations. But is it really true. Well in many companies it was and still is right up to the point someone gets seriously injured or killed or a major piece of expensive equipment is damaged or destroyed then as the saying goes 'All Hell Breaks Loose.' The finger pointing starts and everybody seems to suddenly become an expert on why this happened or the Monday morning quarterbacks show up with the could of, should of, would of crap that's pretty easy to come up with after the event occurred. In manufacturing the saying 'Hell has No Fiery like a Stop Production Line and in Real Estate Management in a office building full of people when the HVAC is down on a Hot Summer or a Cold Winter DAY.
So how do we teach associates to find the proper blend between getting the work done and applying all of the safety aspects we want them to include in the daily work flow. My experience clearly points to associate Involvement, Ownership, and Tolerance.
Involvement includes documented training, decision making, Incident investigation, workflow participation's, problem solving, root cause analysis, empowerment, Identifying safety concerns and issues before they cause near misses, accident and heaven forbid a injury or harm to one of your associates.
Ownership includes behaviors, attitudes, changes, responsibility, authority to immediately stop the work when safety is a question, listening to others, investment in time and money to identify and eliminate or reduce at risk exposures, a ZERO TOLERANCE RETALIATION POLICY THAT PROTECTS ASSOCIATES WHOM REPORT UNSAFE CONDITIONS OR ACTIONS BY THEIR DIRECT SUPERVISOR OR MANAGER TO THE NEXT LEVEL MANAGEMENT, rewards, incentives, and benefits for those associates who clearly understands that continuous improvement principles include safety, health, wellness and environmental aspects.
Tolerance Includes those short list of rules, policies, and procedures that if violated will result in immediate suspension and/or in many companies termination. This list varies from company to company but usually includes those items that if violated puts associates at risk of being severly injuried or killed.
I wrote 'Safety for Maintenance and Operational Support Services Associates' for companies that want some level or degree of satisfaction that associates are attempting to apply company safety procedures and policies to their day to day work assignments. Spending more than forty years in maintenance, operations, and the services industries I have learned allot from others and have firsthand experiences when things go terribly wrong. I do believe all near misses, accidents and injuries can be avoided by applying a few simple principles. I have firsthand experiences of witnessing companies with terrible safety records and compliance issues becoming excellent companies and setting safety performance records and sharing best practices with other companies, even their competitors.
The at risk exposures for maintenance, construction and services associates are never ending. They are in many cases exposed to a different set of work environments and elements everyday they go to work. The level of awareness of those changing conditions are vital to their safety and welfare. This book is my best attempt to give back to the hard working men and women of America. This is simply an inexpensive tool they can use, at a minimum to return home to their families in as good of shape as they were when they left home to come to work.