In regularly occurring, action-packed events called ‘Safety Blitzes’, employees at Greif Inc. in Tonawanda, NY are taking charge of safety improvements. With the full participative support of their Plant Manager, Dan Healy, this cooperative effort between union and management is having a major impact.
Getting Things Done
Once preparations have been made for a preselected area, members of the Safety Committee launch the Blitz. An entire day is dedicated to improvement activities progressing as shown below:
Employees’ direct concerns are addressed whenever possible. Typical event accomplishments include making and painting machine guards, cleaning, organizing, and performing minor maintenance work.
The Union at Greif, working together with Management, has been key in ensuring that safety activities, including the Blitzes, are effective. They took responsibility, in their contract, for providing engaged Safety Committee members including the Union President, David Pettigrew.
In an environment where past perception surveys showed that employees were not sufficiently engaged, the Blitzes have effectively spurred employee involvement. Seeing real change occur, employees make requests for future Blitzes and proceed to work with the Committee to achieve results. Likewise, Committee members look forward to addressing issues that make a big difference to employees and safety performance.
Having completed about 10 in the last year, Safety Blitzes will continue at Greif. As an opportunity to engage employees it also serves to get the Safety Committee out of the conference room and into hands-on situations. It allows a break from the normal routine while performing this highly visible work. The message is clear according to Dan Healy, “The Safety Committee is important.”
Founded in 1877, Greif, Inc., headquartered in Delaware, Ohio, is a manufacturer of industrial packaging and containers. By 1980, the company had about 100 manufacturing facilities in the United States. In 2014, the company ranked 566 on the Fortune 1000.