A lack of communication
Despite its best efforts, a renowned food producer failed to limit the number of incidents and accidents at work. Following an in-depth discussion with the safety coordinator, it became clear that EBS Services could come up with a suitable solution.
An initial audit of the functional safety (machinery and equipment) and the staff safety levels revealed that communication was a major issue. When changing shifts, for example, the new team was not given sufficient information on specific processes and the status/condition of certain machines. Moreover, some machines were not properly switched off and insulated, which had already resulted in bodily injuries on several occasions.
Our engineer spent two weeks at the company for a full immersion into the production process, literally and figuratively. This allowed him to get a good insight into the operations on site. His first conclusion was that there was indeed a safety policy in place, but it lacked efficiency. Following this full immersion, we once again sat around the table with the safety coordinator and the management.
We clearly elaborated the procedure to switch the machinery on and off and displayed it on site. We also assigned specific tasks to specific persons: who is allowed to switch certain machines on and off, who can repair the machines, which testing procedure should be followed when starting up an installation etc.?
A better handover
The machines’ power supply was also sealed with a lock to prevent them from switching on unexpectedly and/or unintentionally, which limited the associated risks. The keys to the various locks were safely stored in a dedicated, closed cabinet. All staff members were thoroughly informed of the new procedures. We also carried our risk analyses in consultation with the machinery producers to determine who can carry out maintenance and/or repair tasks in-house and under which circumstances.
As an incentive for the team to implement these new safety measures, we proposed to introduce a bonus system. The safety levels are now assessed twice a year. If no incidents occurred in the previous six months, all employees can expect a bonus. The system works perfectly and has motivated the entire staff base.
To encourage a better communication between employees on subsequent shifts, we also implemented a more efficient handover procedure. All in all, this was a small effort with a great outcome. The thorough analysis carried out by EBS and the measures introduced following this intervention lowered the number of incidents by a whopping 80% in the first year!