Our Values in Action–Safety: Amplifying the Voices of Frontline Operators in Process Safety Management

As we mark the first update of the OSHA Process Safety Management standards in 30 years, it's an opportune moment to realign our focus on a fundamental aspect of process safety management: the inclusion of all voices. At Lone Star, one of our core policies mandates the involvement of production operators in process safety management activities. While we recognize the importance of their voices, the silent message often conveyed is that their voices aren’t always heard or can sometimes be missed. It is very important for this misconception to be rectified.

Safety is built upon a diverse spectrum of voices. As a safety manager, I rely on the expertise of my director with 38 years of experience, the knowledge of supervisors spanning all manufacturing disciplines, the technical expertise of engineers, and the regulatory insights of government officials. However, amidst the fast pace of operations, certain voices can be overlooked, and it's imperative to shine a spotlight on them.

In investigations, hazard analyses, and other interactions, assumptions can lead to oversights. We might assume that supervisors are receptive to operator feedback, or that operators will voice concerns when necessary. However, this isn't always the case.

Management, supervisors, and safety professionals across the entire organization need to ask probing questions: Are employees comfortable asking questions? Do they feel at ease bringing issues to the attention of management? What is the prevailing atmosphere in the workplace? Do employees trust that their concerns will be taken seriously? And ultimately, are we doing everything possible to ensure everyone feels empowered to speak up and be heard?

Employee voices play a crucial role in ensuring workplace safety. When employees feel empowered to voice their safety concerns, it creates a culture of transparency and accountability. Their insights can highlight potential hazards, identify areas for improvement, and contribute to the development of effective safety protocols.

Fortunately, the solution to this problem lies within the hands of our leaders, from supervisors on the production floor to the leadership council shaping the organization's future. Listening is key at all levels of Day & Zimmermann, especially at the front line. Managers: please take the time to truly hear your employees and go a step further by taking action. Inclusivity in our safety processes isn't just a policy or rule; it's a cultural cornerstone at D&Z. Listening to employees fosters trust and engagement, as they feel valued and supported in their work environment. This proactive approach not only enhances safety outcomes but also boosts morale and productivity, creating a win-win situation for both employees and the company.

Providing employees with a voice that is heard, respected, and valued not only enhances safety protocols and alleviates workplace stress but also fosters a more collaborative work culture, ensuring the continued success of Day & Zimmermann.


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