A corporate safety director once told me about the challenges he faces in regard to employee buy-ins and working in the ice and snow.
He has used our ice cleats in the past with good success. More recently, his company started a new safety initiative: ZERO winter slip, trip and fall incidents. This can be hard goal to reach (but not impossible).
After our discussion, he realized that just buying traction aids and making them available to everyone was good, but not good enough to achieve his goal. Things needed to change.
This safety director also realized that if his employees had a choice to wear the traction aids or not wear them (aka Voluntary or Mandatory), most were choosing not to. His data from years past and his incident rate confirmed this.
Now, he believes he’s getting closer to achieving ZERO winter slips and falls because of his new mindset: He is mandating the employees to wear the traction aids. Now, this is where he thought our conversation was going to end.
But I reminded him that he may move his current program from “good” to “better,” but it will not help him achieve ZERO. He was not happy to hear this, answering me with a rather loud, “Prove me wrong!”
I replied with one word... Training.
I admit, the next 90 seconds included some awkward silence, but then he came back with, “$@#... I never thought of that.”
Based on my experience, training is often the key ingredient missing from winter traction aid safety programs.
Think about it. You may be assuming that every one of your employees has all the knowledge you do, but in reality, they haven’t had the conversations you have. Chances are, they will not know exactly what to do with the cleats you chose and bought for them. And they also won’t know what NOT to do when wearing them.
The advice I gave the safety director was to make sure all of the ice cleats and traction aids come with training videos to share with the people who will actually wear the equipment. Employees learn visually and seeing the traction aids in action will help. I also suggested that traction aid training posters be on display for each option. Posters greatly help the visual awareness of your winter safety campaign.
Finally, I stressed the importance of traction aid education for his staff.
The most successfully run traction aids programs educate their people in small, medium and large groups. Why? So everyone understands the pros and cons, as well as the importance of using the traction aids correctly to achieve a corporate goal. It’s a message that needs to be delivered repeatedly. This is never a “one and done” effort.
So, my question to you is simple: Do you want to settle for a decent traction aids program – or would you like to shoot for ZERO?
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Bill Coyne is the VP of Sales for Winter Walking. He has been helping organizations across a wide variety of business sectors eliminate workplace slips and falls incidents in ice and snow for over 15 years. Email Bill firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.winterwalking.com for additional helpful information and resources.