A new banner will soon hang above the factory floor of Snap-on Equipment announcing the company’s accomplishment of five years without a lost-time accident.
The Conway assembly plant reached this milestone Aug. 21 by not having an employee miss a day of work due to a work-related illness or injury since 2008.
“It’s not about setting records, we’re more interested in having our associates come in to work and leaving the same way they come in,” Randy Spencer, operations manager, said.
Scott Champlin, resource and service manager, said this manufacturing milestone is a collective effort by all the people that work at Snap-on Equipment.
Both Spencer and Champlin have had to make calls over the years to spouses and loved ones for employees who have been severely injured at work, some having lost body parts.
“Our objective is to never have to make those kinds of phone calls again,” Champlin said.
The last lost time accident occurred in 2008, when an employee missed several days of work after experiencing an assembly related laceration on the factory floor.
Spencer said the Conway plant has been able to keep all employees working in a safe environment because the people of Snap-on Equipment have adapted to a “culture of safety.”
Everywhere employees look, they’re reminded that safety comes first, from safety posters on the walls to the constant beeping of forklifts in the warehouse.
The culture of safety is reinforced by regularly scheduled fire and severe weather drills and quarterly safety training for all employees as part of the company’s certified safe associate training program.
Snap-on also shares best practices between facilities to try to prevent future accidents.
“If there is an accident at another Snap-on facility, we look at that accident, what was the root cause and we try to make improvements to stay ahead of it,” Champlin said.
Employees play a critical role in this achievement. “It’s a great workforce,” Champlin said. “They look out for each other.”
Employees do not have to get a manager or supervisor when they witness a safety concern. They are encouraged to address it quickly and directly.
“If they observe someone doing an unsafe act, they’re not afraid to speak up because we empower our people to take action with safety,” Champlin said.
The Snap-on location in Conway is an electronics assembly plant that specializes in collision instrumentation and automotive wheel services. Employees do not participate in some of the more dangerous manufacturing tasks such as fabricating or welding.
“We used to do all of that here, but we’ve made process improvements where we don’t do that anymore,” Champlin said.
The facility does ship out all its products to locations as far as China, so employees participate in shipping and forklift activity.
Safety really starts with housecleaning, Spencer said. Snap-on has implemented a program known as 6S. The six S’s stand for: Sort, Stabilize, Scrub, Standardize, Sustain and Safety.
“It means there is a place for everything,” Champlin said. “You’re not going to have a palette sitting in the middle of the floor that could be a trip hazard.”
On top of other responsibilities, Luveta Moore is the 6S coordinator. She inspects work areas and works with supervisors to maintain a clean work environment.
“She’s passionate about it,” Champlin said. “She believes a clean work environment equals a safe work environment.”
Bruce Bailey, safety facilitator, runs the safety and ergonomics team. He’s also responsible for safety reporting and accident information. He coordinates the training and safety drills that keep all employees informed.
Champlin and Spencer said they know they’re not responsible for setting this record. It is because of the Luveta Moores and Bruce Baileys who work at the Conway factory.
“Our goal is to never have a lost time accident again, so we don’t have a short term version of that,” Champlin said. “It’s an ongoing thing we’re not going to declare victory.”
Snap-on does take time to pat themselves on the back and show appreciation to their employees. The morning after the five year milestone, the company catered breakfast.
Champlin said he’s planning to “step up the menu” at the next quarterly luncheon, and he’s putting together gift bags for employees.
(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1215. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)