Today on The Think Tank: an open letter from Safety Director Charles Hineman to the Fisher Tank team. Charles (a.k.a. "CJ") writes about how safety becomes a part of a company's culture and what that means for the organization as a whole. Fisher Tank Company recently celebrated one full year with no OSHA recordables. We're proud of that milestone, but we recognize that in the tank construction industry, as with any industry, safety has to be at the forefront every single day.
What is a Good Safety Culture?
(photo right: a Fisher Tank Company Field Foreman tests out a safety harness during a demonstration at a recent Fisher Tank Foremen's Meeting & Training Session.)
A question about safety culture once came up during a safety meeting, “What is the definition of a good Safety Culture?” Several different answers were offered: “It means no one gets hurt,” “No OSHA violations,” “Good safety audits,” “Management involvement”, etc… All of these are really good answers, and to be honest it’s a huge accomplishment to get one or two answers let alone five or six! But the response given that best answered the question was: “A good safety culture is when members of the organization make the right decisions when no one is watching.” For this tank builder, a strong safety culture is vital to our success. No one in the tank construction industry can succeed without an excellent safety record and a total commitment to safety at every level.
Safety in Tank Construction Requires a Safety Mindset
This past February, Fisher Tank Company achieved a tremendous milestone: we completed an entire year without having an OSHA recordable injury. Every one of us should be proud of this achievement. Every day we are cutting and rolling and blasting and painting steel plates in our fabrication shops and constructing and repairing field erected welded steel tanks on jobsites all over the U.S. Every project involves dangerous work and requires active safety. (See some of our favorite tips for tank safety here.) Achieving safety milestones like 365 days without a recordable incident would not be possible without having the right attitudes, beliefs, and values throughout every level of the organization. Our safety cutlure is the backbone of the work we do.
Safety Requires Day In/Day Out Attention by Every Employee
(photo right: employees of Fisher Tank Company's Leesville, SC, fabrication facility live out our safety culture every single day. Here they're modeling our exclusive 2017 Safety Achievement Award Fisher Tank Beanies!)
Achieving a good safety culture, along with milestones like this, does not just happen overnight. And while it takes years to achieve good safety culture, that same safety culture can be broken very quickly. Every level of the organization needs to stay vigilant in promoting high safety expectations, proper preplanning, continuous education and training, and personal accountability. But back to the response given to the original question: “How do you act when you’re driving alone in the car and you get that phone call or text? What do you do when the load on the hook is just over the capacity of load chart? Do you take the time to report that near miss if no one else saw it? Are you completing your inspections and safety paper work with integrity? Do you take the extra the time to get the right tool or piece of equipment needed to safely do the job? “ Safety is not passive, and keeping one another safe takes effort every day. See our Safety Saboteur blog post to assess your own safety habits.
Whatever the scenario or situation, every person at every level must make the right decision, because our safety culture is based on our combined efforts, attitudes, and values toward Fisher Tank’s safety program. We are happy to recognize our accomplishments, but the job isn’t done yet. In an ever-changing industry, each day presents new challenges and obstacles. We have to rise to these challenges and continue to improve and evolve our safety program. Safety, Quality, Productivity...And In That Order.
Here's to another 365 days of safe work as we fabricate, construct, repair and paint welded steel storage tanks in 2017!
Charles "C.J." Hineman, Safety Director
Fisher Tank Company
Pictured: CJ Hineman, Safety Director, & Mike Szelak, President & CEO. CJ started his Fisher Tank career as a college intern in our Safety Department. We're celebrating his 10th anniversary with Fisher this month. Congratulations, CJ!