July-August 2016

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32 PalletCentral • July-August 2016 ebster's Dictionary has the word, "safety" listed as a noun. It's defined as "the condition of being safe from undergoing or causing hurt, injury or loss." Safety is not a thing or an activity. Safety is your desired outcome. Safety is a byproduct of an activity people engaged in while performing their daily work. It is no longer enough for your company to simply have safety rules. The pallet companies of today should work to foster a safety environment, starting at the top of the company and continuing all the way down. Seeing safety as an adversary, like lumbermen did 30 years ago, isn't going to help you run the profitable company you need to today. According to Dodge Data & Analytics' 2016 SmartMarket report on safety, "A safety culture helps to ensure wider adoption of safety practices and allows companies to better reap the benefits of their safety investments." In a strong safety culture, everyone feels responsible for safety and pursues it on a daily basis; employees go beyond "the call of duty" to identify unsafe conditions and behaviors, and intervene to correct them. For instance, in a strong safety culture any worker would feel comfortable walking up to the plant manager or CEO and reminding him or her to wear safety glasses. This type of behavior would not be viewed as forward or over-zealous but would be valued by the organization and rewarded. Likewise, coworkers routinely look out for one another and point out unsafe behaviors to each other. Creating a safety culture takes time. It is frequently a multi-year process. A series of continuous process improvement steps are followed in order to create a safety culture. Employer and employee commitment are hallmarks of a true safety culture where safety is an integral part of daily operations. A company at the beginning of the road toward developing a safety culture may exhibit a level of safety awareness, consisting of safety posters and warning signs. As more time and commitment are devoted, a company will begin to address physical hazards and may develop safety recognition programs, create safety committees, and start incentive programs. Top management support of a safety culture often results in acquiring a safety director, providing resources for incident investigations, and safety training. Further progress toward a true safety culture uses accountability systems. These systems establish safety goals, measure safety activities, and charge costs back to the units that incur them. Ultimately, safety becomes everyone's responsibility, not just the safety director's. Safety becomes a value of the organization and is an integral part of operations. Management and employees are committed and involved in preventing losses. Over time the norms and beliefs of the organization shift focus from eliminating hazards to eliminating unsafe behaviors and building systems that proactively improve safety and health conditions. Employee safety and doing something the right way Lowering Your Company's Worker's Compensation Cost: Build a Safety Culture Guest editorial by Christopher W. Call, CIC, CWCA BUSINESS W

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