The aggregate industry has a longstanding reputation as being dangerous.
There’s a reality to that perception. Our machinery is powerful. It exerts high amounts of force. It’s complex. These factors create a work environment where injuries can occur. Certainly, incidents are more likely to happen onsite at a crushing company than in an office full of cubicles.
But while the physical nature of crushing makes incidents possible, a focus on safety can make them uncommon.
At Mellott, we strive to create a safe work environment that minimizes the risk of incidents. Over the years, we’ve developed a focus on safety that’s become foundational to our organization and improved our operations. The benefits include increased efficiency, fewer lost hours, and, most importantly, healthy employees.
Here’s the backstory on how we’ve come to champion safety and a look at our strategies in minimizing incidents today.
The Origins of Safety
It’s fair to say that our company’s intense focus on safety originated within our manufacturing unit.
20 years ago, safety standards were less stringent across the industry. It was generally believed that rock crushing was a dangerous job and it was assumed that it would remain that way. There were standards in place and safety was occasionally enforced, but it wasn’t built into operations or championed as foundational. As a result, companies faced more incidents than today.
Our manufacturing team saw this as an opportunity for improvement.
The team introduced initiatives that targeted specific safety improvements and metrics, including integrated audits and detailed reviews. Perhaps most importantly, the team made safety a critical component of its culture, with programs that actively engaged employees and facilitated ownership in results.
As the processes improved and incidents declined, the mindset spread through the company. Today, a foundational approach to safety is built into everything we do.
The success of safety in any company ultimately depends on employee engagement.
The manufacturing unit at Mellott realized this and created initiatives that empowered employees to positively impact workplace safety.
Some of these include:
Safety squad leader appointments. Safety squad leaders are responsible for auditing their areas and championing safety initiatives. Employees are best equipped to recognize areas where safety could be improved. Squad leaders work with their teams to oversee repairs and projects.
Ownership of processes. Safety squad leaders assume ownership for regular safety processes like daily site audits, monthly reviews, and reports.
Recognition. Success in safety is recognized and championed internally with a variety of accolades and awards. This encourages employees to participate and ensures that safety is a high priority.
Integrated Safety Procedures
Safety procedures are intentionally integrated into all components of operations. In general, safety procedures follow a consistent cadence:
Daily audits. Our safety squad leaders conduct daily safety audits of their areas every day before beginning work. Any safety concerns are documented, reported, and remedied.
Monthly audits. We conduct detailed monthly audits of equipment and work areas. In manufacturing, common areas of review include overhead cranes and jibs, chains and slings, First Aid cabinets and supplies, any other lifting devices, and more. Again, safety concerns are documented, reported, and remedied.
Quarterly recognition. On an annual basis, outstanding completed safety projects and safety performances are recognized with prizes and awards.
Annual documentation. On an annual basis, incidents are compiled and documented to show safety performance over time.
Today, safety is a company-wide focus – and as it has become foundational in our approach, incidents have decreased.
After safety initiatives were implemented, during one three-year stretch in the 2000s the company had no incidents in the manufacturing department resulting in lost time for employees. So far in 2019, incidents that require medical treatment remain 78% below their rate of occurrence in 2000.
That’s even more impressive considering our propensity to report incidents: at Mellott, everything is documented. Our policy is to err on the side of caution and ensure proper medical treatment is obtained (rather than attempting to prolong “incident free” time periods by failing to treat situations appropriately).
The bottom line is that safety is foundational to our organization – from manufacturing, to contract crushing, to everywhere in between.
Want to Learn More?
The crushing industry has a reputation for physical danger, but at Mellott, we believe safety is foundational to our work. That’s why it’s the first word in our company’s tagline: Safety, Integrity, Commitment, Respect & Excellence.
Those principles go together to create work where our employees and clients can thrive.