The key to success in any manufacturing loss prevention program is its actual implementation on the production floor. Department supervision is the main mechanism by which the loss prevention policy and procedures are implemented.
The attitude of individual workers toward the company loss prevention program is dependent upon the attitude of their supervisor. The supervisor’s actions in directing the work are the critical link in delivering success. If supervisors are given clear responsibilities for job site safety, and are held accountable through a performance review and reward system, the likelihood of accidents will be reduced helping to achieve greater construction quality, productivity, and worker safety. Safe operations are practiced on the production floor, not in the home office. Effective loss prevention programs are a result of the involvement and commitment of all members of the manufacturing team, from the chief executive officer to the worker in the plant. However, in accomplishing the desired objectives, supervisors play the most critical role. As the principal representative of management seen daily by the workers performing the actual manufacturing work, a supervisor has direct control of the activities of the workers. The supervisor must be thoroughly familiar with the duties and responsibilities of all parties involved in the loss prevention program. Supervisors must understand the economic impact of accidents and incidents. The supervisor who understands the mechanics of direct and indirect accident costs, as well as overhead implications for workers compensation and other insurance coverages, is in a better position to make intelligent decisions in directing the work activities. Increasing the awareness of the individual workers on the impact of their actions can greatly affect the business results. It is also essential that the manager who has overall responsibility for production, quality, budgeting, and scheduling be held principally accountable for plant wide safety.
The Supervisor is the primary project leader and must be held accountable for the project’s safety performance. They must also be the principal implementers of the company loss prevention policy and procedures. The key roles and related responsibilities are outlined below:
Knowledge – Have the knowledge to carry out all the training, site inspections, accident investigation, and recordkeeping roles defined below. Understand the principles of loss prevention as well as the company policies and procedures. Have a thorough understanding of the operations and hazards expected, controls to be used, company policies and legal safety standards which apply to the hazard.
Department Safety Compliance – Must be given full authority to require workers of all levels in the plant to comply with the established work rules and other applicable loss prevention procedures. They must also follow proper pre-job and pre-task planning procedures and establish specific elements of the loss prevention program.
Department Inspection – Continually check the plant to determine the level of implementation of loss prevention procedures and to assess the practices and site conditions. Any unsatisfactory conditions should be promptly reported and corrected. Check the plant frequently to determine if the proper procedures are being followed. Be sure that potential hazards are being safeguarded against and that no new hazards have developed. This includes verifying that personal protective equipment is being worn and used properly and that all other equipment is well guarded and being properly used.
Communication – Hold periodic group meetings and weekly tool box talks and promote other means of communications with workers to ensure awareness of plant safety. Reward outstanding performance and promote feedback and involvement of the workers in the loss prevention program. Communication must flow back to senior management to advise of areas where help is needed and areas where there was superior performance.
Recordkeeping – Maintain department performance records, training, inspections, investigations, statistics and other means to assess the level of implementation. Take corrective action for potential problem areas. Report and record the performance of the work crew and any problems with the implementation of any element of the loss prevention program.
Worker Training – Determine the level of knowledge and job requirements of each individual worker. If there is a gap, it is up to the department supervisor to assure the proper training or support is provided and maintained. Give special attention to new or inexperienced workers since they are most “at risk” on the job site. Conduct periodic safety training sessions (e.g., tool box meetings) to familiarize crew members with safety performance indicators, lessons learned from previous accidents and other pertinent information which will promote work safety.
Accident Investigation – Require that all injuries and incidents be promptly reported and fully investigated to prevent future accidents. As the most knowledgeable individual working with the crew, the supervisor is in the best position to determine what went wrong, why it happened and how future occurrences can be prevented. This information must be shared with management so that recordkeeping requirements can be met, as well as benefits derived from the insight gained through the investigation.
Goal Setting – Participate with upper management in the development of supervisor’s safety goals. Some measurable goals include experience modification reduction, incidence rates or days away from work reduction, training goals, inspection goals, and budgeting goals.
Accountability and Performance Measurement – Safety programs and safety success require active, motivated and knowledgeable supervisors. In order to measure the level of performance, periodic reviews should be undertaken to identify weaknesses and strengths of each department supervisor in carrying out his or her safety roles and responsibilities. An action plan to address areas for improvement should be outlined during the review and then monitored throughout the year. Feedback consistent with the level of achievement towards reaching the action plan expectations should be provided. The following is a suggested review process to evaluate and hold the department supervisors accountable for safety at the job site. This should be tailored to comply with your company or plant specific safety program. Each supervisor should be given this score card when hired so that they understand what is expected. If the bargaining agreement disallows a formal performance review, the form could be used as a management guide to evaluate the individual followed by an informal meeting with the supervisor to address strengths and weaknesses.