Six Tips To Make Safety Everyone's Business

Rich Widdowson, vice president of Safety, Real Estate & Environment for the Schneider Electric North American Operating division, shares six tips for elevating safety to the highest visibility in an organization, based upon his experience driving safety for the manufacturing arm of this electrical components and automation supplier.

Rich Widdowson, VP of Safety, Real Estate & Environment for Schneider Electric North America
Rich Widdowson, VP of Safety, Real Estate & Environment for Schneider Electric North America

1. Drive safety through top management commitment. The chief executive officer and his staff must be vocal about the importance of safety.

2. Reduce hazards in the workplace. Work on electrical and ergonomic compliance training. Have personal protective equipment available.

3. Provide job-related safety training. Provide employees a good orientation not just for safety, but also for how to do the job without putting themselves at risk. Teach how the machine works. Get them to think about how not to put themselves at risk. Focus on states of mind, such as if they are rushed, tired, angry or complacent. They need to recognize when they are starting to feel one of these emotions, and tell themselves to stop before they get hurt. Encourage them to take this training home and practice it. Get safe habits instilled in everyone.

4. Perform safety audits. Ensure that programs and practices are being done. Things change, so everyone’s eyes must be focused on the safety goal.

5. Keep safety awareness in front of everyone, every day. Start-of-workday stretching or exercise programs, as one example, can provide supervisors with a chance to talk to the crew about safety, among other topics.

6. Launch awards and recognition programs. Ask anyone at the plant how long it has been since there was a doctor’s case accident. They should know. If the plant has gone 30 days without injury, perhaps give everyone a free drink in the cafeteria. For 60 or 90 days, perhaps a free lunch. Have senior management recognize people, teams and plants.

To view the Feature Article, "How to Achieve a Competent Workforce for Safety", go to
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