Question: Our maintenance department has the highest lost-time and recordable-accident rates in the plant for the past two years, and the situation isn’t getting better. What actions should I be taking to improve our safety record?
Answer: By the nature of the work, maintenance personnel face a higher probability of accidents. Welding, cutting, milling and assembly/disassembly are activities far more prone to accidents than turning equipment on and off, filing papers and filling out reports. That said, with good leadership, there is no good reason an employee should be put in harm’s way. There are three key components to any safety program: Leadership, Education, and Celebration/Correction.
Ideally, safety compliance is a priority concern for the entire organization. Even if it isn't, the department leader has to be capable of and committed to developing and living a safety culture within his or her area. This starts with a genuine concern about the well-being of each and every employee. If the leader is simply reacting to what senior management requires, the results will be diluted. Employees are very perceptive when it comes to gauging the sincerity of intentions. If those intentions are perceived to be insincere, people will not follow them.