Magazine article Occupational Hazards


Magazine article Occupational Hazards


Article excerpt

In the 1997 Champions of Safety competition, five entries earned the title Finalist.

These individuals, teams and work forces were chosen based on their commitment to occupational safety and health, their involvement in and development of programs, and/or their efforts to advance the practice of safety, occupational health or industrial hygiene.

Meet the 1997 Champions of Safety Finalists:

Employees, Boise Cascade Corrugated Container Plant, Nampa, Idaho

The 130 employees at Boise Cascade's Nampa facility manage, support and drive a behavioral safety program called SAIL (Safety Awareness Saves Lives). The program focuses on: how they perform their jobs; the choices they have as they perform job tasks; and the positive benefits of tasks which are performed safely and correctly.

Before the introduction of SAIL, the Nampa facility had a dismal safety record. In 1993, the incident rate at the Nampa facility was more than double the average for all Boise Cascade facilities. That year, management decided some changes were needed, and implemented SAIL.

Under the SAIL program (developed with the guidance of consultant Behavioral Science Technology), employees are trained to observe each other and log both safe and unsafe behaviors. The employee being observed is given immediate feedback, with an emphasis placed on good safety behavior. Unsafe behaviors are also discussed, along with the correct work practices which should be followed and any hazards which should be abated.

Information from the observations is fed into a database and tabulated. The safety committee at the facility analyzes the data and targets areas for improvement.

The program has been both successful and popular with employees. The number of observations jumped from 25 in November 1993, to well over 100 a month in 1997. Incident rates, which were at 14 per 200,000 hours worked in 1993, dropped to 2.2 by 1996 and are expected to fall further in 1997. Lost workdays dropped from a high of 146 in 1993 to zero in 1995 and 1996, and are expected to be zero again this year.

The culture at the facility is changing as well. Employees routinely examine their behavior and perform job tasks in a safe manner.

"These behaviors don't just stay in the workplace," claim SAIL facilitators Chad Robinson and Steve Wilson and Safety Director Chris Benger. Employees are taking their safer behavior home with them. "No matter where they go or what they do, they are always thinking about safety."

Corporate Safety and Health, Pitney Bowes Inc., Stamford, Conn.

The goal of Pitney Bowes' (PB) safety and health programs is accident prevention through comprehensive safety systems, training and communication. With that in mind, three programs in particular stood out for the Champions of Safety judges when reviewing the application of Corporate Safety and Health (CS&H).

An aggressive accident reporting program was launched by the company four years ago. It included efforts to redesign and improve the investigation reporting document. Then, the department made arrangements with the company's insurance carrier for managers and supervisors to report all accidents directly to the carrier via a 24-hour hotline.

Armed with that information, CS&H is able to manage and generate OSHA 200 logs for every PB location. This provides uniform data collection and dissemination while freeing up site personnel to handle field responsibilities. All of the information is available in the insurance carrier's database and is accessible to the CS&H staff as soon as it is entered.

A significant number of PB employees drive as part of their job, so CS&H created a corporate-wide Motor Vehicle Safety Program. The company performs driving record checks on new hires in designated driving job codes. High-risk drivers are not hired for those jobs. Employees in these codes receive a handbook on motor vehicle safety and a car wallet, which allows them to keep pertinent driving information, such as licenses, insurance cards and a vehicle accident report, readily available. …

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