Lately there has been great interest by smaller lumber manufacturing
companies in developing safer operations. The purpose of this
Wood Products Note is to help these saw mills develop their
own safety program. As a course of action, it is suggested that
the mills management team sit down as a group and view the video
Thumbs Up for Sawmill Safety1. After viewing
the video, the management team should discuss developing their
own safety program, keeping the following points in mind:
1. Importance of Safety - Review your past safety
record, look at your losses, both in human and financial terms.
Regarding financial losses, examine lost productivity, increased
insurance premiums, and the increasing problems of locating and
keeping good labor.
2. Set Your Goals - A goal of zero accidents should
3. Set Your Standards - How do you expect your management
team and employees to act in order to reach your goal of zero
accidents? What type of personal protection equipment are employees
expected to wear? By setting standards, accidents will be avoided.
For instance, many employees would not wear safety glasses if
given the choice. The reasoning is, "I know when to
protect my eyes." But, then, why do we have problems with
mill workers getting particles in their eyes? To set your standards
to be within ever changing legal safety requirements, use your
state's occupational safety organization, trade association, and
insurance company as information sources.
4. Get the Word Out - Educate your employees as
to what your standards are. Use safety meetings, one-on-one contact
by supervisors with employees, newsletters, and bulletin boards.
You may wish to show new employees the video Thumbs Up for
Sawmill Safety; then discuss your specific standards. The
new employee should be given a written copy of the safety rules.
5. Lead by Example - Your employees do basically
what they see, not what they read or hear. If you do not follow
your own standards, don't expect your employees to follow them
either. Also, we, as management, tend to say, "accidents
will not happen to me." By adhering to our own standards,
we will help prove this statement true.
6. Enforce Standards - If you make standards and
don't enforce them, you will not see a change in the accident
7. Try to Use Positive Reinforcement - Reward employees
for not having accidents. Some firms use safety prizes such as
hats or jackets; others use cash awards. Having an award program,
such as offering an award to employees each accident free month,
encourages positive peer pressure for a safer working environment.