| Winter 2010
Is Your Safety Program Gathering Dust?
Award winner shows you how to clean it up
By David Wylie • senior editor
Sometimes, you can alter your entire message by simply changing one word. Just ask Steve Glidden, director of human resources at Lamb’s Tire and Automotive Centers.
For years, Lamb’s had a safety plan. In 2010, the company decided that wasn’t good enough. So Glidden partnered with John Hicks, Texas Mutual loss prevention consultant, to build a safety program.
“The difference is huge,” said Glidden. “A plan is a bunch of rules in a book. The book usually gets put on a shelf, collects dust and gets forgotten. A program is a proactive, inclusive way to identify hazards and eliminate them.”
That philosophy propelled Lamb’s to its first Texas Mutual safety award this fall. The company was one of about 175 policyholders across the state who earned the award as recognition for preventing workplace accidents.
Lamb’s safety program starts with a thorough hiring process. The company conducts pre-employment drug screens, as well as criminal history and driving record checks. If an applicant has more than three moving violations in a threeyear period, or a DUI or DWI within five years, Glidden doesn’t hire them.
Once Glidden is satisfied he has the right person for the job, it would be easy for him to pat himself on the back and move on to the next task. Fortunately for Lamb’s employees, he does the opposite.
Glidden and the rest of Lamb’s management continuously invest in employees’ safety. The company trains new hires on the safe way to do the job. It also provides regularly scheduled follow-up training that addresses the hazards employees encounter.
The majority of Lamb’s workforce holds maintenance-related positions. Slips, trips and falls, as well as strains and sprains caused by lifting heavy loads, are a constant threat. Glidden arms employees with the information they need to go home injury-free by taking advantage of the newest Texas Mutual® online safety resource: streaming videos.
“I load them on a laptop and project them onto a screen during our safety meetings,” said Glidden. “I love the fact that I can access them when it’s convenient. I don’t have to order them, wait for them to arrive, and then return them.”
Thanks largely to its solid workplace safety record, Lamb’s Tire and Automotive Centers earned its sixth consecutive dividend from Texas Mutual this summer. The money has offset the cost of personal protective equipment and other components of Lamb’s safety program.
Glidden is working with Hicks to improve the program by assembling a safety committee. The committee will include nonmanagement representatives from each of Lamb’s 16 stores. The group will meet regularly to discuss trends in workplace accidents and unsafe behaviors.
“They won’t point fingers,” stresses Glidden. “They will be charged with raising awareness of safety and identifying best practices.”
Glidden recognizes that transforming safety from a shelf document into a living, constantly evolving program can seem daunting. He is quick to point out, however, that any employer can do it if they follow a few simple tips, the most important of which is getting management buy-in.
“If you don’t have it, everything you try to do will be a battle,” cautioned Glidden. “Management has to embrace safety as a value that never gets compromised.”
From there, Glidden recommends that employers draft a brief outline of their accident history. The Texas Mutual® online loss run and claim detail tool empowers employers to review the types of accidents and injuries employees have been exposed to.
After you have identified your problem areas, it is time to tackle them, which bring us to Glidden’s final tip.
“Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use the free tools available to you as a Texas Mutual policyholder,” advised Glidden.
Any policyholder can use the free safety resource center at texasmutual.com. It is home to the streaming videos that Lamb’s employees watch during safety meetings. It also provides access to interactive tools that help policyholders zero in on safety information that meets their unique needs.
For example, if you click on the self assessment tool, you will answer a series of questions based on either your most common accident types or your business operations.
From there, the system will direct you to relevant training resources. Many of the resources are available in English and Spanish.
If you are a member of a group discount program, the safety resource center will automatically direct you to your group’s custom home page. There you will find training materials selected for your group.
“There are unlimited resources. Frankly, I’m not even sure I know about all of them,” laughed Glidden. “From a cost and timesaving standpoint, I can’t put a dollar value on how much Texas Mutual saves me by providing all this great information.”
That’s okay; dollars and cents do not drive Texas Mutual’s initiatives. The company is here to help Lamb’s and its other policyholders control the human and monetary costs of workplace accidents.
“Policyholders like Lamb’s Tire and Automotive Centers make our job easier,” said Steve Bills, Texas Mutual loss prevention services manager. “We’re proud of them and our other safety award winners for helping us ensure people go home healthy at the end of the day.”
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