Want to know how important safety is at Savage Services? Allen B. Alexander, chairman, CEO and president, often identifies himself as the “chief safety officer” and starts every meeting off with a discussion of safety.
And COO Kirk Aubry has this to say about safety: “At Savage, nothing trumps safety. Safety is much more than an attitude, program, process or priority. Safety is woven through the fabric of our culture. We believe that safety success comes from proactive involvement of each employee. It is such an integral part of everything we do; we cannot separate or isolate it.”
Safety starts at the top, with the Safety Leadership Council. The council, chaired by Aubry, includes the leaders of the business groups and units as well as the company’s safety professionals. Meetings focus on sharing best practices and working together to address EHS issues.
A foundation of the safety process at Savage is the involvement of all employees. A large part of that involvement comes from the Safety Specialist program, where the informal leaders in the operation are selected to attend a 3-day training session to prepare them for additional responsibilities with safety. Safety Specialists are involved in various ongoing activities, including developing job hazard analyses; being involved in the monthy observation and inspection programs; correcting unsafe acts; and more.
As part of employees’ training as Safety Specialists, a group leader teaches a section on empowerment, because it is important for employees to know that they are empowered to be a leader in safety. Having a leader in the company telling employees that they have the authority and power to make change and lead others in safety has had a huge impact on safety, says Safety Director Russ Shinert.
According to him, every employee has the authority to approach others and correct unsafe behavior. An example of how seriously this is taken is the refusal of an hourly employee to perform job tasks until he was assured that a visitor was in a safe position from the work area. At the time, the employee did not know that it was CEO Alexander who was visiting.
Over the last few years, Savage has developed a Lead Safety Specialist training, which also is a 3-day course, and is geared more toward teaching the trainees leadership principles to help them guide their fellow employees in safety. The company now has 766 active Safety Specialists and 169 active Lead Safety Specialists.
As part of Savage’s management program, S7, employees receive a quarterly appraisal, which offers the team members and management an opportunity to communicate safety concerns. The review covers standards and measures used to quantify the level of business practices, with an emphasis on the safety, health and environmental programs the company has in place. The hope is that team members, along with their supervisors, will identify and discuss all problems during the review and make efforts to set goals so that each team member can reach his or her fullest potential, thereby helping the company achieve its goals.
Savage Services accepting their awards at the American Safest Company awards ceremony at The Ritten House in Philadelphia, PA.
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