At Manor Tool, we have actively sought to make safety a priority for not only management but every employee here, from production staff to company executives. By embracing a culture of safety and empowering all personnel to take ownership in the creation of a safe work environment, we have not only received numerous safety awards, but more importantly have had 1348 consecutive accident free days as of August, 2014.
This achievement has been accomplished by employing a comprehensive multi-level safety program that is comprised of multiple committees who work in conjunction with one another to proactively monitor and correct any potential hazards before an accident occurs.
Manor Tool’s First Level of Safety – Safety Management Team
The first level of our safety program is made up of the safety management team, which includes the president, vice president, general manager, maintenance staff, safety director and union representation, as well as an observer from the production floor. This team is responsible for the overall structure and content of the safety program.
By incorporating personnel from all levels of the organization, the safety management team is able to effectively match the needs on the plant floor with the expectations of management in accordance with the latest industry standards and government regulations. This team also meets with WCTI, the Workers Compensation Trust of Illinois, on a quarterly basis to discuss the efficacy of various safety policies and explore new ideas with other like-minded manufacturers.
Manor Tool’s Second Level of Safety – Safety Champion Team
The second level of our safety program is the Safety Champion team. This team consists of volunteers from the production department, including the machine shop and tool room, who provide a strong presence on the shop floor. This team is uniquely positioned to constantly monitor the production area and report back any issues that are found.
An important aspect of our safety program, and one of the reasons we have been so successful is that the reporting of safety related issues is not done for the purpose of disciplinary action. All reporting is done with the sole purpose of continually refining and improving equipment, procedures, and policies to eliminate risks as they are found.
For example, if cutting oil is spilled on the floor, it is not only critical that it be promptly cleaned up, but it should be reported to determine whether this is a frequent problem that may warrant an engineering change in regards to the operating process. Additionally, when reminders to wear safety glasses or not to use the air hose to blow debris off clothing come from peers, they are typically more effective than when given by someone else. The Safety Champion team meets every six weeks and the safety director acts as the liaison between the two safety teams.
Manor Tool’s Third Level of Safety – Monthly Company Walk-Thru
The third level of our safety program includes a monthly meeting between one supervisor and two employees during which a company walkthrough is performed. During the walkthrough, the group uses an established document to record any instances in which safety could be improved.
This may include anything from adding more robust guarding to machinery to employees not wearing proper hearing protection or incorrectly stacked dies. Based on the notes taken during the walkthrough, a report is written, and corrective actions, such as modifications to current policies and procedures, are taken.
Manor Tool’s Fourth Level of Safety – OSHA Consultation
As a fourth level of safety, we utilize the consultation services that are available from OSHA to provide an outside perspective regarding various hazards present in the workplace. OSHA offers noise monitoring that provides us with valuable information in relation to our hearing conservation program, as well as industrial hygienists who are able to analyze the presence of airborne pollutants in the work environment.
Industrial hygienists are able to observe specific jobs to determine whether workers are at risk from any chemicals or pollutants present. After OSHA provides us with this information, policies can be updated to correct any hazards that were found during the inspection. OSHA also reviews our safety records, documentation, and procedures for compliance with the newest available workplace safety standards. By seeing OSHA as a partner in safety, rather than as an enemy that simply must be “dealt with,” we have been able to take advantage of many of the professional services they offer and improve the quality of the work environment for our employees.
When it comes to safety precautions on industrial equipment, we have found there is a significant difference between simply meeting regulations and actively protecting the safety of operators. To ensure that every piece of machinery meets our rigorous safety standards, each piece of equipment has been assigned a spreadsheet that documents its safety features, such as dual air controls, dual palm buttons, break monitors, sensors, and guarding. After each piece of equipment was audited and cataloged, the equipment manufacturers were contacted to determine the optimal safety features for each piece of equipment.
As an example of our dedication to equipment safety, when purchasing a specific punch press that is designed to eject parts, we were given the option of selecting either a light curtain or barrier guards.
While the light curtain did prevent the operator from placing their hands in the press during the machine cycle, it did not protect against the parts that were ejected. At Manor Tool, we do not place a cost on the safety of our workers, and as such, chose the higher cost barrier guard for the press.
When workers see that management places this level of priority on their safety, it affects the way they see safety in the workplace. Rather than a set of burdensome rules that are reviewed every six months, safety becomes a real priority.
Since we have implemented these tools as part of our safety program overhaul, the results have been dramatic. If someone were to walk onto the job floor without safety glasses, they would be reminded by any number of people on the floor to put on their glasses.
Safety is not simply the responsibility of the safety director, or the general manager; it is the responsibility of every staff member from the front office to the tool room. By instilling this level of accountability, we have been able to provide a safe workplace where workers can take pride in the work they do.
In recognition of this dedication and the results it has achieved, we have received Trade Association safety awards for sixteen consecutive years, as well as additional WCTI awards for providing a safe workplace and promoting safety among our staff.