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Logistics Safety

How Do You Create a Culture of Safety in Your Logistics Operation?

Alex Stark | October 27, 2016

Watch this video and think about how it makes you feel.

Tough stuff.

The reasons why this accident occurred are numerous. Isolating any one cause is pointless. The main takeaway is that, at this facility, people were not prioritizing safety. It was not a workplace where a culture of safety existed. 

Now ask yourself: How is safety regarded in your company’s logistics operations?

Is the emphasis on compliance? Or, is safety truly embedded in your operations and culture?

Too often, companies just go through the motions when it comes to safety training and communications. The mandated safety classes are held and documented. Hackneyed safety slogans are seen on posters and banners throughout warehouses, hallways, and freight terminals. A guest speaker may be hired once in a while to encourage a greater focus on safety.

But associates understand when these efforts are merely robotic responses to an OSHA requirement. To succeed in driving down safety incidents, you need to create a genuine culture of safety where associates feel accountable for safety and are empowered to deliver on safety goals.

That doesn’t happen overnight, and building such a culture requires a whole lot more than pithy safety slogans. 

Here are some basic principles on which to build a culture of safety in your organization, taken from years of improving safety every day at Kane Is Able.

  1. CEO support. First and foremost, there has to be support from the CEO, voiced loudly and often. Without that, fostering a safety culture is a very tall order. At KANE, the first thing our CEO mentions in any address to associates is safety. We expect our managers to do the same.
  2. Measurement and accountability. You can’t fix what you can’t measure, so it’s important to keep track of metrics such as Days Without Incident. Share these results widely to enhance the feeling of shared responsibility for improving safety performance.
  3. Celebration of success. Strive for exceptional performance, but don’t take it for granted. At KANE, we recently achieved 90 Days Without Incident at all facilities across the country. We celebrated with free lunches for associates at all the DCs.
  4. Safety audits that are collaborative, not confrontational. It’s critical that safety audits are not perceived as rote exercises to fulfill a regulatory requirement. Don’t be the person walking around, head down, ticking boxes on an audit checklist. Engage associates at the local facility during the audit process, ask about what’s working and what isn’t, solicit ideas. Illustrate that you are not “big brother” there to issue a safety grade, but that you are invested in working with the local team to improve performance. 
  5. Relentless safety training. The majority of slips, trips, falls, sprains and strains – which together constitute the most common injuries at work in logistics facilities – are caused by bad practice or lack of awareness. A culture of safety must include consistent training to reinforce established procedures.

For more on how to create a culture of safety in a logistics environment, read eBook: How to Improve Logistics Safety Performance in Your Operations.

KANE Culture Video