February 28, 2019

The Three C’s of Safety

by Joe Erb

Busy season isn’t far off, and with it will come a flurry of activity on the plant floors across the country. An influx of building activity in the spring and summer means more orders, more units to be made and shipped out the door.

It’s around this time every year that I think it’s worth reflecting on why safety is so important, particularly as things heat up on the plant floor. Consider the potentially hazardous situations workers in our industry put themselves in every day. Whether oversized panes of glass moving throughout a plant floor or glazing panels onto a high-rise façade, working safely and following best practices are some of the most important things anyone in our industry can do every day.

Let’s not lose sight of these things as we tackle busy season this year. Here are some important guidelines every glass or window facility should remember:

Common sense. We all have a sense of what safe behavior looks like and what it doesn’t look like.

Maybe you could cut a corner here or there, and maybe your job that day will be performed more quickly. And perhaps it won’t affect you that day. But your odds of causing an accident or injury increase.

No matter how busy we are, it’s worth taking a step back to make sure we’re acting and working in such ways that safety is top priority. If we make safety a true part of our culture, then it will drive accountability to each other and promote good common-sense decision-making that becomes second nature.

Commitment. In order to build that kind of culture, a commitment to safety must be made by everyone throughout an organization—and it starts at the top.

Sometimes for the employer, safety can seem like a number—the number of OSHA violations the organization did or didn’t commit over a calendar year, or how many accidents occurred on the floor (hopefully zero). But our commitment to safety shouldn’t be driven by numbers. Instead, it should be because we’re thinking of the people who make our products and the families they support. I think it’s important to take a step back and think about this every once in a while.

For the plant floor worker, safety is a skill. It’s a skill the organization should be invested in, and it’s a skill all employees should be sharpening every day. Because an employee’s unsafe decision doesn’t just affect that person—it affects the people all around them. We need to make sure both employers and employees are continuing to make that commitment to safe working practices to each other.

Consider the cost. Finally, think about the full cycle of people that we impact when making safe—or unsafe—decisions.

A shop floor accident can cause injury or worse to the victim. It affects that person’s family. It affects the company, from insurance claims to shutdown costs. And especially if it’s a small business, those effects can be catastrophic, affecting other employees and their families.

In short, safety has a ripple effect. It’s not just today, and not just this action, but what might result weeks, months and years from the moment those small decisions are made each day.

Questions or comments? Contact me directly at Joe.Erb@Quanex.com
 

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Posted: February 28, 2019 by Joe Erb Filed under: safety