By: Fara Foster, Director of Communications & Community Engagement and Member of Safety Steering Team
The first wave of the pandemic in early March took everyone by surprise and presented a new layer to our Live Safe Work Safe (LSWS) program. Procuring sanitizing materials alone was a tremendous challenge, not to mention finding creative ways to continue working together while keeping a safe distance from one another.
Our journey to safety excellence may have taken a detour, or even a prolonged pause at a yield sign, but we are still on the road.
We started 2020 strong, with an improved Huddle-Up format that was planned by Continuous Improvement (CI) Team #1 throughout 2019 and rolled out at ATA. In February, our second Continuous Improvement Team was launched. They chose to tackle “Hazard Communications” from the list of concerns noted by our internal employee survey. Just as CI Team #2 was gaining momentum, a new safety concern, COVID-19, took top precedence.
The Safety Steering Team (SST) regrouped on August 18, along with Kevin Ellison of CAT Safety Services. The SST examined what had been accomplished in 2020 and what should be done to continue earlier momentum. Among the highlights were a reduction in the overall number of worksite incidents and the implementation of a COVID-19 program in addition to the above.
The goals were simple: resume pre-COVID momentum and explore new ways to be effective in this different work environment. Given that the premise of the LSWS program is by employees, for employees, the obvious next step is to determine a safe way to regroup CI Team #2 face-to-face (or mask-to-mask).
That will happen on Tuesday, September 29. That team has already defined “what good looks like” with regards to communicating workplace hazards – identifying, correcting and documenting hazards, plus sharing the information throughout our companies. Their next step will be to determine how to implement that process to their respective teams. They will evaluate how well the process works before making any tweaks and introducing company-wide.
COVID may have taken us down a different path, but it strongly reinforces the reason we started this journey. The LSWS mission is to:
Lead the journey to safety excellence, driven by employee ownership, to support our ultimate goal of zero incidents and ensure team members work safely 24/7.
These teams are working to provide new tools designed to educate team members on potential dangers and how to avoid them. It’s up to each of us to take ownership of our own safety, while at work or elsewhere.