Employees of Flexco recently celebrated two years without a lost time accident, an important safety milestone, with a company lunch. More than 250 workers at the Downers Grove corporate headquarters enjoyed a meal after working two years without a work-related accident.
In addition to the company’s internal celebration, the Workers’ Compensation Trust of Illinois presented the No Lost Time Award for 2009 and the Award for Safety Excellence to Flexco at its annual meeting in early May.
Employee participation key to safety
The corporate headquarters at Flexco includes both office space and a manufacturing plant, requiring the safety program to address a wide-variety of possible hazards. To ensure the success of the safety program, Flexco enlists the help of more than 70 employees for the “Gator Guard” safety awareness team, department safety contacts, and other safety groups.
“We work in an inherently unsafe environment and just saying that we have a safety program is not enough,” said Kevin Dunne, general manager of Downers Grove operations at Flexco. “To build a corporate culture of safety, we need management commitment, recognition, and heavy involvement. We have to live it each and every day.”
When a new employee begins working at Flexco, safety procedures are stressed during training as they tour the plant, watch safety videos, and are introduced to the safety contact in his/her area of the building. Dunne and his team work hard to ensure that training is taken seriously.
“We need to be conscious of the way we are communicating our safety processes and procedures to make sure they are sound and understood,” Dunne said.
Flexco encourages office employees to tour the plant and plant employees to tour the office in order to raise the levels of safety awareness for both groups. Awareness is one of the most important parts of the Flexco safety program.
Another important part of the program is incident investigation. The incident investigation team’s mission is to determine the root cause of the incident so that it can be eliminated, prevented, and minimized through corrective action.
“The team asks for honest feedback from the affected employee and their supervisor on the sequence of events, cause of the incident, and proposed solutions,” said Sarah Jungels, human resources trainer and member of the Gator Guard safety awareness team. “The goal for the investigation is to have a collaborative outcome in a non-confrontational session.”
Focusing on office and plant safety
Every month, the Gator Guard safety awareness team publishes an e-newsletter detailing safety focuses for that month. Along with common plant hazards, office safety is also highlighted, with subjects such as electricity and ergonomics at the forefront of office safety.
“People don’t realize that sitting at a desk all day can be hazardous to your health, so we encourage them to get up and walk around,” Dunne said, “These kinds of things need to be in everyone’s heads day in and day out.”
In 2008 and 2009, Flexco was also selected as one of Chicago’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For. Flexco is a privately-owned company that has been in business for more than 100 years, enhancing belt conveyor productivity for several industries with a variety of products and services.