The general manager leads the monthly management meetings, which include updates on production, accounting, quality and more. At each meeting, Lawson presents information on an OSHA requirement. After filling in managers, he schedules safety education sessions during all three shifts to reach as many employees as possible. Lawson reviews a topic, such as hand safety and the need for nitrile gloves, then provides real-life case studies to reinforce the importance of his message.
“Once employees have a sound understanding and buy-in from the educational sessions, we use toolbox talks to review the key components as they relate to their job,” says Lawson. For instance, he might explain to employees who work with isopropyl alcohol why they don’t want to get it on their hands. “I don’t just tell them they need to use gloves,” says Lawson. “I want them to understand why.” Toolbox talks are scheduled in groups by job function.
In addition, CSC provides separate training for its maintenance team and departments that require specialized training, such as the mix room where resins are blended. It also offers one-on-one education to employees, if necessary.
Lawson’s goal is for safety to become second nature to employees. That often requires changing ingrained behaviors – not an easy task, he admits. Maybe an employee runs a machine without the guard because it’s easier or a maintenance person stands on the top rung to change a light bulb because he doesn’t have a bigger ladder. “Not everyone understands the hazards like safety professionals think they do,” says Lawson. “My job is to promote safe work behaviors and show people there are better ways to do things” Or, in the case of the ladder, simply buy a larger one.
CSC employees have a visual reminder of the importance of safety. A couple years ago, the company placed a large whiteboard with the outline of a body at the entrance to the plant. When an injury occurs, the corresponding body part is colored in – yellow for a first-aid injury and red for a recordable one. A chart next to the body details the injury and date it happened. “When someone walks in and sees that an assembly guy got a splinter in his hand while trimming an automotive side panel, I hope they get to their work area, think about that guy and make safer decisions,” says Lawson.
Fortunately, Lawson is not the company’s sole mouthpiece for safety. CSC, like MFG’s other entities, has a safety team. The six team members, who represent various shifts and departments, promote safety on the floor and encourage safe behaviors. For example, they remind co-workers to wear earplugs and safety glasses. When team members witness an employee taking extra precautions, they hand out a neon green T-shirt – designed by the safety team – that reads “I got caught” on the front and “Doing something safe” on the back.