We worked with seven different unions on this project, so our worker-friendly approach was important to the heavy truck manufacturer. While many managers are attracted to behavior-based safety systems, many workers see these systems as ‘blame-the-worker’ approaches
Troy, MI (Vocus) March 20, 2008
In today’s business climate where every dollar saved helps, O/E Learning’s revolutionary worker safety system, SafetyIMPACT!, is helping manufacturers to significantly improve workplace safety and lower the costs associated with worker injuries. One of O/E’s greatest success stories has been its recent work with a major manufacturer of heavy trucks.
“SafetyIMPACT! was a perfect fit for this client,” recalls O/E Director of Performance Improvement, Phil LaDuke. “Heavy truck manufacturing as an industry has fairly high costs associated with worker injuries, and this company was no exception.”
O/E worked with the heavy truck manufacturer to change the culture of five manufacturing locations in the U.S. and Canada. The massive undertaking, which required O/E to assign coaches to year-long engagements at each of the locations, would take 18 months to complete and would result in unprecedented improvements in worker safety at the heavy truck manufacturer.
“Each of the locations saw a return on their investment in eight months or less, and some locations saw results that were just staggering,” recounts La Duke, “One plant alone had been trending toward a Workers’ Compensation cost of over $10 million and after implementing SafetyIMPACT!, finished the year at just under $2 million.”
While a portion of that savings is attributable to a lower production rate, even normalized figures show a cost avoidance of over $3 million in less than 8 months of implementation. The locations averaged just over $1 million in savings with some locations going months without a recordable injury—something the location had never done.
The heavy truck manufacturer selected O/E—in part—because of O/E’s role in the creation of Bringing Excellence to Safety Teams (B.E.S.T.) for UAW-Chrysler. The B.E.S.T. process helped to propel UAW-Chrysler North American facilities from having an average worker safety record to being hailed as one of the safest workplaces in North America, in addition to saving millions on the costs associated with worker injuries.
Another important consideration for the heavy truck manufacturer was the worker-friendly philosophy of SafetyIMPACT!. “We worked with seven different unions on this project, so our worker-friendly approach was important to the heavy truck manufacturer. While many managers are attracted to behavior-based safety systems, many workers see these systems as ‘blame-the-worker’ approaches,” explains La Duke. “We describe SafetyIMPACT! as ‘culture-based safety’ rather than ‘behavior-based;’ it may not seem like that big of a difference, but philosophically it’s an important distinction. We use process improvement techniques to change the way people think about the safety of the workplace, and changing the attitudes, in turn, changes the behaviors. We borrowed liberally from the methods and tools that were used to create the quality revolution in the 1980s. SafetyIMPACT! is a data-driven system.”
“While SafetyIMPACT! certainly addresses unsafe behaviors, it does so in a way that’s less behavior modification and more organizational development. We see SafetyIMPACT! as fixing the problem, not the blame. I think there are far too many safety processes out there that treat workplace injuries as primarily the result of carelessness on the part of the injured party—that’s basically the same view companies had about quality defects in the 1970s.”
Interest in SafetyIMPACT! is mounting as executives hear more about SafetyIMPACT! “Anytime you can take millions of dollars out of a facility’s operating costs, you attract a lot of attention,” explains La Duke. “With the rising costs of healthcare and the focus on Operational Excellence, no one can afford to waste money hurting workers. Smart executives see that and are responding to our approach.”
SafetyIMPACT! is a culture-based safety system designed to reduce worker injuries and lower costs through the implementation of six values and four practices common to the world’s safest companies. Central to this system is a proprietary database that records hazards, identifies the root causes of these hazards, and tracks them to correction. The philosophy that is the foundation of SafetyIMPACT! is that all injuries can be prevented by identifying and removing the hazards before workers are injured.
Established in 1984, O/E Learning designs and develops new training and performance improvement programs, as well as converts existing programs to different forms of delivery including Web-based, instructor-led, virtual classroom, CD/DVD, and mobile devices. O/E’s diverse services range from organizational development initiatives to professional certifications in safety, quality, and employee involvement. The privately held company is headquartered in Troy, MI. Leverage Life, a wholly owned subsidiary, is headquartered in Pleasanton, CA and focuses on providing corporate Concierge, Wellness, and Work/Life programs. Learn more about O/E at: http://www.oe.com.