‘Nobody Gets Hurt’ Is Safety Culture Of Henkels & McCoy

Damage Prevention And Safety
By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | January 2014, Vol. 69 No. 1

“Nobody Gets Hurt” succinctly defines the safety vision of utility contractor Henkels & McCoy and the ultimate goal of the company’s safety initiative programs.

Bill Mattiford, vice president of safety, explains how Henkels & McCoy has built an award-winning safety program.

The success of a safety program begins with sponsorship and the higher the level of sponsorship, the greater the likelihood that it will be effective and successful. At Henkels & McCoy, sponsorship is at the highest level – chief executive officer – who recognizes that it is essential that the company has an effective safety program.

Approaching it academically, said Mattiford, there could be a chart showing the CEO as sponsor, always in charge and ultimately responsible. The chart then could indicate the targets for change or all the employees of the company. The sponsor directs development of programs and instructs the targets how the program is to be implemented. As the targets accept and implement the program, including changes as they are made, they become sustaining sponsors and pass the safety process down the line.

Anywhere along the line where the chain is broken, there is a break in sponsorship that must be addressed. “Grass roots implementation of a safety program can’t work without sponsorship,” Mattiford emphasized.

Developing and initiating an effective safety program in a large company doesn’t happen overnight. It can take years, depending on the size of the organization and its culture.

“To begin,” he said, “it is essential to define what the program is to be, its goals and how they will be put into place and achieved.”

Measuring progress
There must be a benchmark to measure progress toward achieving established goals, Mattiford continued.

“A benchmark could be the standard set by a company recognized as ‘best in class,’ ” he explained. “It could be OSHA recordable data rates for injuries with a goal of ‘zero’ over a specified period of time. Gap analysis can define where a company is in its program and where it wants to go. Employee surveys indicate employee attitudes toward safety with follow-up surveys helping measure changes in attitude as a result of programs adopted.”

Mattiford said Henkels & McCoy’s safety culture, process improvements and learning activities focus on the evolution of leading indicators such as training and safety coaching observations, whose real world value lies in systematic, reproducible and principle-focused initiatives.

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