At Hannay Reels Inc., Safety Is Personal

Nov. 1, 2010
Walk out on the shop floor any day of the work week at Hannay Reels and you might come face to face with Safety and Training Director Mark Saker or President

Walk out on the shop floor any day of the work week at Hannay Reels and you might come face to face with Safety and Training Director Mark Saker or President Roger Hannay. Both do their best to ensure that employees know them and feel comfortable discussing any issue or concern with them.

Hannay Reels, which manufactures hose and cable reels, is the smallest America's Safest Company this year, employing 140 employees on one site in Westerlo, N.Y.

Saker said employees are encouraged to talk to him at any time. To facilitate this process, he spends at least 1 hour on the floor with them every day. The fact that the company owners have employed a full-time safety director at a facility with 140 employees speaks volumes about their dedication to safety, he noted.

“Candidly, there are few processes [at Hannay Reels] that could be described as unique from a safety standpoint,” said Saker. “However, our 68-year-old president walks the floor each time he is in the plant to see how his extended ‘family’ is doing. The employees at Hannay Reels know they are valued and are treated as one of the family.”

Saker said all new hires meet with him before setting foot on the shop floor. They discuss the importance of open communication, and Saker offers clear expectations of what is expected of each employee in terms of safety, such as the reporting of all incidents, no matter how small they seem at the time. The company's high housekeeping standards are discussed, as are the ergonomic practices and engineering controls in place to keep employees injury-free.

“From the very first minute of the very first day, our safety expectations are established,” said Saker. “Upon entering the plant, the new hire can see we mean business in terms of both productivity and safety excellence. From these key elements, trust and a good working environment are established.”

The company, though small, has installed scissor table lifts, quality floor matting, chains and hoists to keep employees safe from ergonomic injuries. Every 2 months, the company shuts down production for a plant safety meeting, which every employee is expected to attend. Employees are provided with any required personal protective equipment, such as hearing and eye protection and even prescription safety glasses.

To reinforce its emphasis on employees as family members, the company, though small, provides two gyms and access to an EAP program, and recently completed a multimillion dollar addition to the facility to eliminate the need for multiple shifts and reliving the potential for family hardships do to shift work challenges.

“Personally, I have worked both in Europe and North America and have never been employed by such a genuinely caring company,” said Saker. “Of course, good safety practices are good business, but at Hannay Reels, it is the genuine concern for the well-being of each and every employee that is the driving force behind the business.”

Watch the personal congratulation video greeting from John DiPaola, VP & Group Publisher, below.

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