In past entries, I’ve mentioned the success Skinner Diesel has experienced in improving their workplace safety. They have worked with CALMC for several years through the Safety Always program. CALMC conducted a workplace climate assessment, used the results to design and conduct safety committee training, and has facilitated the committee. The commitment and hard work of the committee paid off with a significant reduction in the accident rate, benefiting employees with a safer workplace and the company with reduced expenses.
Their work has now been recognized in a national industry publication, Truck Parts and Service magazine. The cover story of their April 2011 issue highlights companies that have made improvements in safety, including skinner Diesel. “Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset” recognizes the great work of the safety committee at Skinner.
Some excerpts from the article:
There is no greater asset to a service operation than its technicians. Tools, equipment and parts are necessities, but without a good technician nothing gets done. That’s why proper technician safety should be a top priority.
Safety committees and workplace safety meetings are providing major dividends at Skinner Diesel in Columbus, Ohio.
Keeping technicians safe in the workplace is key to a productive aftermarket garage. Skinner Diesel uses a quarterly safety committee meeting to address safety issues and promote proper workplace safety techniques.
General Manager Mike Skinner started a safety committee several years ago, and the group currently meets quarterly. As a repair garage and parts distributor, Skinner Diesel is always at risk for technician injuries. Luckily, Skinner says, the safety committee has effectively eliminated them.
“They’ve created such a culture change around here,” he says. “When we started holding meetings, they were monthly and now we’re just doing them quarterly. People know now if something isn’t safe, or isn’t being done the way it should be, that it’s going to be addressed. You don’t want to be the one guy doing things wrong in a situation like that.”
Skinner says the safety committee is made up of one person from each shop department (brakes and tires, paint, trailers, etc.), and most meetings focus on current safety issues or potential environmental improvements. Sometimes, committee members will walk through departments they don’t work in to check on safety practices and offer recommendations.
Skinner says committee members always are welcome to bring up new safety ideas, and he says most workplace changes are prompted by committee member recommendations.
At Skinner Diesel, safety is the result of consistency. Each department has guidelines to follow, and Skinner says the technicians follow them religiously. Since instituting the quarterly safety committee meetings and bringing technician safety to the forefront, Skinner’s employees have practically eliminated injuries.
Skinner Diesel recently saw its safety practices pay off with an impressive streak of 100,000 man hours without time lost to a workshop accident.
The company went more than 100,000 man hours without injuries in the shop from 2009 through this year, and the only injuries since have been three stitches to a finger and a freak accident that injured an employee’s toe. Skinner says both injuries were minor.
“We have 55 people working here, and we managed to go almost 13 months without having any time lost to an injury,” Skinner says. “That was fantastic for our entire company.”
Especially with Skinner’s location in Ohio, where laws require all businesses to have worker’s comp insurance through the state and not private companies — which eliminates the freedom to shop for the best rates. Skinner says it could be a major detriment to his business if his premiums were to go up, so every month without a claim is a moral (and fiscal) victory.
“If you ran a shop and had a lot of claims, (the state) would literally put you out of the business,” Skinner says. “We’re already paying enough as it is with a good rating, but if you had a bad rating you’d be looking at an addition of $15 to $20 or more out of every $100 (earned) to insurance premiums. No one can afford that. We know if our guys work safely and we stay safe, we’ll stay in business the next year.”
The entire article is available online at:
To learn more about Safety Always and how it can help your business, contact CALMC.