At Boise Cascade, we all are responsible for encouraging a safety culture to improve behavior and performance in the workplace. We share accountability to encourage our peers to value safe work practices and safety programs in a positive, proactive way.
We strongly believe in communicating knowledge that we have gained by posting articles on our intranet, sending emails, and developing location-specific newsletters. These allow us each to participate in seeing how we are performing, discussing lessons learned, and sharing meaningful and relatable stories. We use these to recognize safety milestones at facilities and acknowledge employees who have made outstanding contributions to safety.
We share best practices and lessons learned with other facilities to promote effective workplace safety. More importantly, we coach, mentor, and watch out for each other throughout the day.
Highlight story: courage to care
Because we believe helping others stay safe is an extension of caring about people, we encourage our employees to think, act, and be safe in all areas of our lives. Recently, an employee’s commitment to safety awareness and willingness to take action saved a life.
Boise Cascade truck driver for our Building Materials Distribution business unit, Bob Statler, was on his way down a service road in Marion, Ohio at 5:30 am when he noticed a semi-truck parked near the Owens Corning warehouse with its lights off.
Suddenly, Bob noticed flames coming from underneath the truck and quickly realized there could be someone inside at that early hour. He stopped and blew his horn several times. When there was no response, he then climbed on the truck and began pounding on the window. By this time, the flames were coming up over the hood.
It turns out that there was a driver asleep in the bunk, and Bob was able to wake him up and help him climb out just before the truck became engulfed in flames. The truck was a total loss, but Bob’s quick thinking and fast action saved this man’s life.
“I can’t even choose the appropriate words to express thanks and recognition to Bob, other than it took incredible courage and heroism. The bottom line is that Bob saved that driver’s life and to think about what that meant for the driver’s family leaves me believing there can be no better feeling for a human being.” ~ Keith Moore, BMD Safety Manager.
Understanding potential risks
Across all of Boise Cascade, we report all near misses to collect information, identify trends, correct current problems, and prevent future incidents and injuries from happening. Our use of pre-task analysis through hazard identification and observation checklists is a standard we’ve achieved across our organization.
We use Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) for routine tasks, and for non-routine conditions, we identify work hazards and assess risk through pre-task hazard assessments. Employees can report hazardous or unsafe situations by:
- using the “all-in-one card.”
- completing a Risk, Assess Hazards, Develop Safe Plan, Act, and Report (RADAR) form.
- talking to a supervisor.
- discussing with a safety committee member.
- reporting to a safety or HR representative.
We also provide a CARE Line, which provides employees a confidential way to report unsafe, unethical, or illegal activity any time of day or night. We have an open-door policy that encourages employees to speak with their supervisor, local HR representative, or management about any work-related issues, suggestions, or ideas—safety related or otherwise. But, for any occasion when an employee is uncomfortable with those options, the CARE Line offers a risk-free way to ask a question or report a concern.
Our commitment is to empower employees to stop work if they believe circumstances are unsafe and protect employees who take cautionary action. This commitment received one of the highest satisfaction ratings in our most recent employee survey.
Today, we collect the completed number of pre-task and RADAR forms in our safety management system. In some locations, the forms themselves are still on paper so we are in the analysis phase of a project to incorporate the use of tablets for employees in the field, on the operational floor, or in a distribution yard to facilitate completing these forms electronically. By making pre-task safety analysis fast, easy and intuitive, our workers develop the inherent hazard awareness that is core to a world-class safety culture.
In our mill operations, we conduct daily safety meetings to discuss changes and potential hazards on our worksite. The following actions are some of the best practices integral to the daily work at those locations:
- Complete a pre-task hazard assessment or review a job safety analysis (JSA) before starting a task.
- Practice a “four second reset” to stop and think about the safety aspect of a task before we start.
- Manage “zone of control” on the worksite where potential hazards are identified, eliminated, or controlled.
- Maintain good housekeeping and organization in work areas.
- Report any perceived hazards on the worksite.
- Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the task.
Training and Education
Establishing a strong safety culture is not enough unless we make an effort to maintain and enhance it. A low number of incidents does not guarantee future success. Continuous safety vigilance is the backbone of a strong safety culture and a truly safe workplace.
From new hires to executive officers, all of our employees are given the tools and training to help understand how to do their jobs safely and to foster personal accountability, including holding others to same standard of safety.
Newly hired employees get their first safety training as part of orientation. Ongoing training activities for all employees are managed locally and vary by facility with some occurring quarterly, annually, or at least every two years. Whenever there is a revision to a safety plan or policy, we provide training regardless of its typical schedule.
To continue a focus on leveraging best practices and learnings across the company that will enhance safety performance, we are working towards a single-source repository: a document management system that allows users to easily access safety-related material including policies, procedures, job hazard analysis, and training presentations through our intranet portal.