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Families Are Tied To Safety Success at General Cable

Nov. 14, 2012
At General Cable, employees are asked to consider the consequences of the actions on the job, at home and in their community.
There is a lot of talk about safety being a core value at many companies. At General Cable, the organization operates on the core value that all injuries and illnesses are preventable not only in the workplace, but in associates' private lives. Nothing less is acceptable under the company's "Zero and Beyond" philosophy.

Our 'Zero and Beyond' philosophy engages associates to think and act safely, no matter where they are and what situation they are in. We encourage associates by engaging their hearts and minds," says Amy Townsend, a risk analyst for the company.

Each of the wire and cable manufacturer's facilities can choose the type of "Beyond" event (that includes associates' families) it holds. At least twice a year, these events are held at the manufacturing facilities or off-site, and have included consequence thinking for the whole family, safety coloring contests, free health screenings, safety giveaways and other activities to engage the entire family into thinking about safety. The company also has a Wellness Day, kid safety day at the plants and safety-related giveaways like fire extinguishers and smoke alarms.

General Cable created a hand safety campaign that focused not only on hand and blade safety at the company locations, but for families as well.  The program provides communication and involvement at the local leadership and associate level. Each facility was required to conduct at least one activity with all the associates that requires the use of their hands and to focus on how important hand safety is for all associates, not only at work, but at home as well.

Hand safety was chosen as a focus through a risk assessment process the company uses to identify hazards and unsafe behaviors. Safety auditing, job hazard analysis, safety observations, new process and equipment safety reviews, new chemical assessments, investigation of all incidents (including non-injury) and consequence thinking also are utilized at General Cable. The company has instituted a knife/blade free plan, in which all facilities are working to remove all open-blade cutting devices and replace them with safer tools.

"In the past, we have primarily focused on preventing injury by engineering solutions to inherent risks, such as the elimination of open-blade knife use, reel handling assist devices, revamped machine guards and sound abatement, just to name a few," says Mike Sharkey, director of environmental, health and safety. "While we continue to evaluate engineering solutions to these types of risks, we are also training our associates on consequence thinking to further enhance our safety culture and remind associates to reduce unintended consequences by eliminating unsafe behaviors and acts."

To emphasize the impression that General Cable is a family and that safety is a family value at the company, someone from plant leadership greets employees returning from extended shutdowns or vacation, ensuring their minds are focused on their work and on the elimination of potential distractions. The first meet-and-greet after any kind of break is safety-focused.

"The mindsets of our associates are changing," says Sharkey. "They understand that safety is no accident, and they control outcomes."

General Cable, Highland Heights, KY
Industry:  Manufacture wire and cable
2,992 employees in North America
16 EHS Professionals

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