As peak production season is at hand, take steps toward safety

Therese Dunphy

July 18, 2017

The summer production season is well underway. As production increases, so, too, must attention to safety. In 2016, half of the year’s 16 metal/non-metal fatalities were recorded between June 3 and Sept. 21. While 2017 is shaping up to be a safer year, any fatality is one too many. Throughout this issue, we provide information designed to help operators – particularly small producers who don’t have the resources of their larger counterparts – improve safety for their workers.

A commitment to safety should start at the top. Ensuring that safety is a value each and every day empowers workers to stop work activities that place them in harm’s way. It also encourages them to develop long-term resolutions rather than short-term fixes for safety hazards. For example, through CalPortland’s SLAM safety program, employees not only report hazards, but are also encouraged to fix them. Corporate Safety Director Chad Blanchard says this allows an employee to look at a slip, trip, and fall hazard, such as a hose, and quickly roll it up. More importantly, however, it encourages the employee to go beyond a surface fix and implement a lasting solution.

“I like to incentivize employees to think farther down the road,” Blanchard says. “Instead of rolling it up, let’s think of something better. Can we make a hose tray? Can we make a hose reel? Can we do something that makes that job or task easier and that employee safer? If something is easier for an employee, it’s going to be safer for them too.” Operations Illustrated, on page 23, features more insights into successful operator-driven safety initiatives.

At Dolese Bros., a partnership with Cat Safety Services is transforming its approach to safety. Over the last several years, its safety training has evolved from compliance-based to a culture where safety teams comprised of workers from various divisions work together to identify and mitigate safety hazards. Its Catwalk Conversations, short safety talks rather than meetings, are one of the initiatives that have emerged from its work. Read about its approach on page 18.

A current safety hot button revolves around miners working alone in hazardous conditions. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced an initiative on miners who work alone during a conference call earlier this spring. Miners in such conditions in surface mines must be able to communicate, be heard, or be seen. As Peter Almass shares in Rock Law, the easiest way to accomplish this goal is to ensure cell phone coverage throughout your plant. Learn more on page 36.

Whether it’s a Catwalk Conversation or a Tailgate Talk, start your week off right by making sure workers know that safety is a value at your site.

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