Focusing on Safety

Those of us in the hardwood lumber industry know how important employee safety is. We are constantly trying to find ways to keep our teammates safe and secure in our sawmills and concentration yards.  Of course a 100% accident free work environment is everyone’s goal but sometimes mishaps do occur. That’s why constant attention should be placed on workplace safety awareness. 

For us, here are a few best practices we find helpful to create the safest work environment for our employees.

Regular Safety Audits - Conducting regular safety audits at the facility can help identify potential hazards and ensure that all employees are following established safety protocols. This will help to ensure that the workplace is safe for everyone. During these audits dig deep. Try to identify potential problems before they become serious issues, correct them and use them as learning opportunities with your team to reduce the chances of future problems.

Implement Effective Training Programs - Providing effective training programs to employees can help them understand how to work safely and reduce the risks of accidents. This includes training on how to use machinery properly, how to use personal protective equipment, and other safety topics. In addition, also implement safety practices and procedures to protect the manufacturing equipment your team uses to prevent potential hazards or malfunctions. Regularly inspect, service, and maintain things like safety equipment, electrical circuits, and other areas of the facility. In this area we have found that standardizing annual safety training for all employees to be a large benefit because it gives us an opportunity to ensure all employees have the knowledge and training to perform their job duties in a safe manner.

Establish Clear Rules and Regulations - Know the work rules! It is important that employees know the work rules and safety protocols for their facility's workplace. Establishing and regularly communicating clear rules and regulations to employees can help them understand how to work safely and follow established safety training protocols. When done correctly, this helps create a standard safety culture that reduces the risk of accidents, injuries, and fatalities. One specific tactic we have found helpful was to develop and utilize a safety manual that encompasses standardized safety policies for all locations. This has helped to have consistent safety rules and policies across the entire business.

Monitor Conditions Regularly - Employees need to always be on the look-out. Consider it a team responsibility! Everyone should feel comfortable to monitor the conditions at the manufacturing facility regularly and help identify potential problems before they become serious issues. If they see something encourage them to say something. Fixing the issue before it becomes a problem is always the best plan of attack. And this includes monitoring things like machinery, tools, protective gear, and environmental factors that may impact employee safety.

We believe creating a culture of safety and well-being in the workplace is essential for success. That pertains to all our sawmill and concentration yards. By utilizing some of these best practices you will be well on your way to doing so.  What other steps do you like to take to keep your employees safe? Let us know. We would welcome the conversation!

Tony C.
The Baillie Group
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