At our cold forming facility in Saegertown, PA, a pledge has been made to keep safety in the forefront of everything done plant-wide. This is evidenced with a second round of Safety Basics training, Safety Basics certifications, and fork truck trainer certifications. Saegertown is working tirelessly to identify safety concerns and thwart them.

Safety Basics Classes Continue
The week of November 9, 2015 marked the second Safety Basics class. There were seven participants comprised of members from management and leaders throughout the business. Total employees that have been through Safety Basics training is thirteen. The group shared the feeling that their eyes have been opened to the world concerning safety. They spent time discussing the House of Excellence where it was explained that safety is the mortar that holds the house together. Topics discussed included: slip, trip and fall, electrical hazards, accident investigation, and LOTOTO, to name a few. It was discovered that a gotchya stick is useful to determine if guarding is appropriate for a given machine; and the class went to the Gemba.

After day one’s Gemba walk, they returned surprised at everything that was identified. On day two’s Gemba walk, they protested that there wasn’t enough time as they got caught up in “Just Do Its.” And on day three’s Gemba walk, they were allotted double the time, and returned realizing that maybe Heinrich isn’t so crazy—as they again desired more time and found many items!

Herbert Heinrich was an industrial safety pioneer in the 1930’s. He is the father of the theory behind behavior-based safety. Through his study of work place incidents and unsafe behaviors, the class discovered that for every major accident occurring, the probability of 3,000 un-reported, unsafe or risky behaviors exists.  They all thought at first, “He certainly must be crazy!” The more time spent touring the plant, the more evident it became that Heinrich was a wise man with the data to back up his theory.

Gemba walks were inspirational. The class could see great things going on. They stopped and talked to operators and asked questions to confirm standards.  They discovered that employees are very engaged concerning safety. They saw clean work areas, and people doing the right things.

The class discussed the Red Safety Tag Program at Saegertown. In 2015, Saegertown had entered 544 cards, each with a separate safety concern. Of the 544 cards, 411 were remedied and closed and the rest were being addressed.

Several times during the class, someone was heard saying, “Last night when I couldn’t sleep, I was thinking about…” and someone would recall a condition they knew existed in the plant. Many incidents were easily remedied on the spot, and it was equally remarkable the size of the parking lot on day four. There is a lot of work ahead and, in the spirit of continuous improvement, there may always be a lot of work ahead.  At the end of the day, everyone must go home safe!

Safety Basics Certifications
Three of Saegertown’s associates received their Safety Basics certifications. These individuals completed a PDCA project that focused on the pedestal grinders used in the plant. The team wanted to make sure that all employees operating the grinder were aware of the proper procedure for operating and setting the guards on the grinder wheel. They researched the best practice for safely setting up the equipment then created a standard to make sure it was implemented with visual aids at all of the grinders throughout the shop. Once this was in place, a certified associate made sure that everyone was aware of the standard by relaying it in a presentation at quarterly all-associates meetings. This project was a great example of what can be done when safety becomes an integral part of a company’s DNA. The certified associates did a great job and Saegertown is very proud of their accomplishments.

The final Safety Basics certification recipient was the General Manager who became the first GM at Saegertown to receive this certification. This sends a very important message to employees that safety is paramount at the Saegertown facility, and reinforces the safety initiative.

Saegertown has also been concentrating on the development of fork truck trainers and recertifying current fork truck operators. Certified associates have been busy in the EHS journey. They completed a fork truck trainer’s certification class at the Erie Manufacturing and Business Association qualifying them to train and grant licenses to other Saegertown plant employees. They completed four certification classes at the Saegertown plant and have been working one-on-one with individuals giving recertification driving tests.

Employees at Saegertown amazed everyone once given the challenge to make a pledge for safety. It’s exciting to see what they’ll do next. A slogan that the groups developed coming out of safety basics is, “I’ve Learned to See.” This mindset is rapidly developing throughout the Saegertown workforce and the facility is seeing what a difference it makes.