Bunting-DuBois Celebrates 8 Years Without a Lost Time Accident
by Veronica Zuccarello
For a manufacturing facility, even a relatively small facility like Bunting-DuBois, it is truly an incredible accomplishment to go eight years without a lost time accident. Lost time accidents are serious issues for companies of all sizes. OSHA defines this as an on-the-job accident that results in an employee’s absence for a minimum of one full work day—not including the day on which the accident took place. The most severe consequence of this type of accident is that one of our employees was injured, but other consequences of lost time accidents can include lost profits, damage to equipment, and fines or other penalties.
“I have always believed in the triangle concept of safety. At the bottom of the triangle are minor scrapes, cuts, and near misses,” explains Don Lindstrom, General Manager of Bunting-DuBois. “In the middle of the triangle are more serious events: forks from a forklift damaging equipment; maybe a fall or strained back; and even a doctor’s visit from a minor accident. At the top of the triangle, there is a serious accident that causes a major injury to an employee or damage to equipment. The theory is that if you have a large number of events that happen at the bottom and middle of the triangle, then you will eventually have a lost time accident or serious accident. But, if you can minimize the number of events at the bottom or middle of the triangle, then you can reduce your risk of having a serious accident,”
Here are some of the ways that Bunting-DuBois is actively minimizing serious lost-time accidents:
On-Going Management Attention and Surveillance: We are not content to simply let things stay as they are. Just as we are committed to constantly improving our custom magnets and magnetic assemblies, we are equally committed to improving our on-site safety. By actively monitoring our work environment, we find ourselves making some type of safety improvement nearly every week.
Quick Response to Unsafe Acts or Conditions: When we see a problem, we quickly address it. We are constantly listening to our employees and when we are alerted of an unsafe behavior or an unsafe working condition, we take immediate steps to resolve the problem and eliminate the risk of harm.
Thinking about Safety on New Projects: We literally put safety first. When we are starting work on a new custom magnet and magnetic assemblies project, such as the recent automation room we added into our facility, we make building in safety features (such as kick plates on the mezzanine) among our very first priorities. We refuse to have our employees work in a new environment or on a new project unless we are certain that all of the appropriate safety measures have been put in place.
Continuously Improving “Housekeeping”: Through 5S events and continuing to improve our workplace organization, we are able to minimize risk while simultaneously improving our productivity.
Addressing Minor Issues before They Become Major Issues: This is self-explanatory, but a simple example is seeing a minor problem, such as a box that was hastily set down in the wrong place, and immediately moving it to its correct place. This prevents an accident such as a trip or fall from occurring in the future.
Accommodating Employee Health Restrictions: Our employees are valuable to us, and we do not want to take any action that will put them at risk. If, for example, an employee was told by their doctor not to lift boxes over 40 pounds, we will make sure that the employee is never put in a position where they will be asked to do so. We also encourage general wellness measures, such as taking regular breaks to stretch and properly hydrate.
Regularly Celebrate Safety Milestones: By talking about safety on a regular basis, we keep it at the front of our minds. Celebrating safety milestones helps motivate employees to maintain healthy, safe habits and behaviors, and we make sure to address safety as the final topic of every Town Hall Meeting. By taking a single second to remind people of safety, we prevent them from the accidents that can occur in a single second as well.
There may be a little bit of luck involved in maintaining a great safety record, but we’ve found the best way to stay safe is by consciously practicing safe habits. We are excited to be celebrating eight years of no lost-time accidents, and hope to celebrate many more.