Probably one of the hardest aspect to manage is increasing productivity without diminishing the focus on safety. The most important faction in an organization is safety. Without a safe environment your processes, team environment, and culture will severely deteriorate. There must be a plan to address any safety item quickly and earnestly. If you ask your employees to work harder and produce more, they must feel secure and safe. They also need to know that there is never a production need that circumvents superior safety practices.
The orchestration of productivity improvement is not one that is simple. First, it requires the dedication and commitment from the top level of the corporation or organization to commit to protecting employees at all costs. Sincerely, no one wants to get injured and management must endorse that safety attitude. From the President of a company to the lowest level of management, there must be a commitment to safety first. A vital part of the success in safety is the recording and mistake proofing of all corrective actions. Reinstruction and holding informational meetings stressing to your team that unsafe practices need to be halted is only the preliminary step. Management must analyze the situations and attempt to make each occurrence impossible to reoccur. There are tremendous technology innovations that can assist in making your facility injury free. Light curtains, dual electronic switches, and lasers are a few hardware improvements that expand all options. However, most injuries could be prevented by simple mechanical augmentation of the processes. One of the unfortunate anomalies of safety is that they usually are a repeat of a previous near miss that has now become serious. A foremost activity is to review all your recorded near misses during the last twenty-four calendar months and assure that the proper corrective actions have been implemented with some level of mistake proofing,
Management must understand that there is always a level of mistake proofing that can be implemented. There are always immediate corrective actions that are put in place after an incident however they are usually just an immediate action that will require follow up actions. There are times that after the initial corrective actions are in place, the focus moves back to production and a re-review of more robust corrective actions fall to the wayside. This cannot happen because a repeat event will deteriorate the workforce’s faith in management and production improvements will become more difficult to attain. Management can eliminate these shortcomings by having a robust safety counsel that reviews all incidents and adopts long term corrective actions with milestones and assigning task leaders. The council must hold people accountable to meet the milestone deadlines and mistake proofing must be a significant focus.
Once employees feel a sense of management support and embracement, they will react and understand that they must produce. Management cannot only take actions that are not all encompassing and robust but must assure that they take actions that evaluate all similar situations within the workplace and expand the corrective action plan throughout. Management will sometimes struggle to get funding for some corrective actions. We must step in the paradigm of the executives who have expending funding for corrective actions that were not effective and we now are asking for more funding to take additional corrective actions. They also may be encountering a facility where profits are not meeting expectations. Therefore, we must present sound corrective action plans that have an advantage to the business and will truly mistake proof reoccurrences. Too many incomplete or inadequate corrective action plans have cost companies monies without eliminating injuries.
Executives and management must keep employees safe not merely for productivity increase but also because we are morally obligation to care for their team members. Management has a responsibility to return employees home safely and, in the condition they came to work. We owe it to the employees and their loved ones to not hurt employees. We must take the moral high ground to protect employees because without them we have nothing.