Making Safety a “Big Deal” in the Workplace
From the moment they walk in the door, new employees at Tripp Plastics are advised in clear terms of the plant’s commitment to safety. During orientation they are presented with a policy statement that explains what’s expected from employees, and workers are asked to commit to “maintaining habits and attitudes that protect them and other employees.”
Tripp provides contract thermoforming, machining, engraving, and engineering services, primarily for the gaming industry.
The emphasis on safety is carried through everything that goes on in the 125-employee plant. For example:
- The facility uses only state-of-the-art equipment with the latest safeguards.
- Only experienced candidates are hired to operate machinery.
- There’s a safety checklist for every piece of equipment, and it must be completed and signed by the employee using the equipment.
- Supervisors maintain a matrix that describes which employees are allowed to use which pieces of equipment.
- Periodic recertification is required.
- Safety committee members pair up and perform an informal walkthrough of the workplace before each committee meeting.
- Once a month the safety committee conducts a surprise audit of one department.
It All Adds Up
Additional high-value safety strategies employed by Tripp’s safety management include:
- Watch where you step. The manufacturing floor is marked off with yellow striping. All areas within the striping can be entered only by employees wearing appropriate PPE.
- Got a license for that? All forklift operators must earn a certification license. Operators are recertified every 3 years, as OSHA requires.
- Spread the word. Electronic messages about safety are posted on computers where line employees clock in and out. Safety is also a regular feature of the company’s internal newsletter.
- Ask for help. Tripp frequently turns to the Nevada OSHA state consultation division for assistance. The facility also joined OSHA’s SHARP program 2 years ago and was a pre-SHARP site for several years before joining.
- Interfacing and networking with other safety professionals facing similar challenges is invaluable when examining your current best practices. Discussing the elements of your program that work, or don’t work, can lead to new insights and ideas that improve safety across the board.
- OSHA Eyes Workplace Safety for Temporary Workers (insurancejournal.com)
- Top 5 Safety Tips Every Business Owner Should Know (score.org)
- OSHA Plans ‘Safety Stand Down’ in Southern States (wtvy.com)
- Jefferson sawmill cited by OSHA for workplace safety violations (bangordailynews.com)