Workforce Safety and Health Initiatives are on the Rise

Posted by Leslie Miiller
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To counter the rise of injuries and deaths that stretch across heavy-duty industries, both on-road and off-road, initiatives that aim to promote workforce health and safety are being adopted countrywide.

There has been a nearly 10% rise in motor-vehicle-related fatalities this year, according to the National Safety Council. In heavy-duty industries, companies are taking measures to ensure that best practices and a culture of safety are being implemented and adhered to from top leadership to management to employees and operators.

Waste Management Mission to ZeroIn 2001, Waste Management (WM) launched Mission to Zero (M2Z), a zero tolerance initiative for unsafe employee behavior that successfully resulted in a decrease in incidents. But management eventually realized that more efforts were needed to increase buy-in and implementation of the safety culture, and M2Z Back to Basics was launched last year. This time, field leaders companywide—those expected to execute the program—helped define the safety-culture changes.

Jeff Martin, Vice President of Safety at WM, says that leveraging responsibility with recognition incites employees into supporting successful and safe operations. Through re-training, coaching and role-playing, WM employees are now able to recognize the contributing factors with any safety failure.

Martin stresses the importance of keeping the main goal of safety in focus, and not getting lost in the details: “Focusing on the fundamentals and continuously promoting knowledge and awareness, while constructively coaching and resetting expectations with employees” has made WM’s safety-culture changes successful.

The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) responded to the alarming rates of injury, accident and fatality data released last fall by the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics by laying the groundwork for a new and unprecedented approach to safety culture in the waste management industry.

National Waste & Recycling Safety Stand DownAt an industry-wide Safety Summit this past March, industry leaders outlined a measurable and actionable strategic plan to reduce fatalities, injuries and accidents. The goals include: a zero fatality rate and significant reduction in accidents; measuring progress against specific goals using real-time data; sharing of best practices between all NWRA members; continuing industry initiatives that address safety deficiencies; furthering targeted legislation; addressing distracted driving interference from the public; creating new safety training and development programs at the local level; and targeted ways to address specific causes of incidents, including the Stand Down program.

MINExpo 2016, which took place earlier this year in Las Vegas, showcased the latest technologies to help refine the safety culture of mining. These technologies use the CORESafety system, which is a partnership led by the members of the National Mining Association.

CORESafety is an approach to mining safety and health to prevent accidents before they happen using a management system that involves leadership, management and assurance. Its objective is to have zero fatalities and a 50 percent reduction in mining’s injury rate within five years. Companies that have adopted CORESafety practices have seen fatalities drop by 45% during a recent three-year period, and major declines in injury rates.

Industrial Minerals Association-North American MineFitThe Industrial Minerals Association - North America(IMA-NA), in partnership with PentaFit LLC, has also established a corporate wellness initiative, called MineFit, to assist its members with targeted interventions for the improvement of safety and miner well-being.

MineFit differs from “typical” corporate wellness programs that are usually generically designed to apply to any industry rather than a specific population with unique needs. These “blanket” programs are typically ineffective and yield inconsistent results. In fact, recent data from the Centers of Disease Control show that 85% of all medical spending in 2010 went to treat chronic, preventable diseases. In fact, half of all adults have one or more chronic conditions that can be either improved upon or prevented with simple, targeted techniques.

The MineFit program is designed specifically to be preemptive in nature, with proper nutrition and physical activity practices tailored to fit the needs of the industrial minerals industry. At its core, MineFit treats mineworkers as athletes, people who are body aware, understand teamwork, and know how to focus and execute when it is “game time.” People with this mindset succeed when they are physically and mentally healthy and are empowered with the knowledge and resources necessary to perform at their best.

The MineFit process identifies specific needs one at a time, develops educational materials and suggested interventions based on these needs, and uses various methods, practices, and media to disseminate the materials to the workforce.  

While none of these health and safety initiatives are mandatory yet in the U.S., they are successfully improving work performance and saving lives across the country. Plus, companywide buy-in of safety cultures provides a cohesiveness that reduces risk and increases productivity. Workers are safe and healthy because the company is safe and healthy and vice versa. It’s a true win-win.

Contact us to learn more about how to keep your team and fleet safe. 

Contact a  Safety Specialist

Topics: Worksite Safety, Waste Safety, Mining Safety

Who We Are

PRECO Electronics is a global technology provider that improves safety for operators, worksites, and the public. The effectiveness of our object detection radar systems is unmatched in heavy duty vehicle industries.

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