Mr. Colon was the winner of the Safety raffle for the month of June. Arnaldo was recently featured in the Centerline magazine for spotting and reporting various unsafe conditions at one of MK Industries’ work sites and is part of the “Top Five Reporting Craftsmen”:
NEAR MISS: NEW PROGRAM TO PUT MORE EYES ON SAFETY:
by Shane Seara
A shipfitter was using a come-along to fit up a bulkhead and chose to attach it to a padeye. As the shipfitter cranked the come-along,the padeye broke loose and the come-along sprang back, barely missing the employee’s head.
These and other “near miss” scenarios have played out countless times in the shipyard. Most of the time, the employee catches his or her breath and makes a mental note, “That was a close one. I’d better not try that again.” But then the information isn’t passed along.
Now a new program called Near Miss is being unveiled across the shipyard by the Safety department to report and abate incidents even before they become close calls. Safety defines a near miss as: “An unplanned event that did not result in injury,illness or damage – but had the potential to do so.”
The Near Miss Program allows employees to take action when they spot an unsafe condition, fix it or report it to somebody who can and then write a report on a Near Miss form. The pilot to the program included six superintendents, seven general foremen, 11 foremen and 185 craftsmen. The group reported 258 Near Miss incidents. David Glynn, director, Environmental Health and Safety, called together the foremen and craftsmen who collected the most reports to congratulate them on a successful pilot.
“You have really been the backbone of the Near Miss process,” Glynn said. “We started slowly with a small group on purpose.This group has been that core group to get us kicked off and running.And I believe that it’s been a huge success already with more to come.” Glynn also thanked Operations for their support of the program. We have tried in the past to implement a number of initiatives, but always,the best success comes when we partner with Operations,” said Glynn. “And you have actively engaged with us and we truly appreciate it. Together, Safety and Operations can accomplish a lot.”
Damita Caldwell,director,Project Management, and her team, including project managers Kenya Cowan and Bobby Lamb,coordinated the program. “The amount of information that’s coming in is great,” said Caldwell. “You guys do this all day, every day. You are preventing issues or problems all day. To actually document something just takes a little bit more time and effort,but makes a world of difference.”
Safety Manager Johnny Pope informed the pilot group that the program would be expanded across the shipyard this year. “I’m really excited because of all of the eyes that are on safety now,” Pope said. “I’ve been doing this a long time, and at one time safety was the Safety department’s responsibility and ours alone. I see the turn now. People realize that safety is everybody ‘s responsibility. That’s powerful and we will definitely see results from it. You have truly become safety advocates for this company. Your enthusiasm has been remarkable. As we go for ward, think about how this will play out w hen you have 7,000 safety leads out in the shipyard.”
Foremen whose crews turned in the most reports included Sheetmetal foremen Terry Cheatwood with 36 reports, Michael Creal (30), Richard Mann (26), Karla Brune (17) and Daniel Wierson (16). “The training that fore men and crews of shipbuilders received will help us prevent accidents,” said Brune. “Whenever you have an accident,it’s not only bad for that person and their family;it brings down the morale in the entire crew. “The practice of Near Miss goes beyond a simple form. “Not only do they fill out the Near Miss forms, but they correct the safety issues along with filling out the form,” Cheatwood said. “Line control, for instance,they don’t walk by a mess if they can hang it up and tie it up.Then the safety issue is gone.”
And the foremen are excited about having the program spread to more employees. Wierson said: “Like Johnny Pope was saying,the more this gets routine and the more people get involved; when you have 7,000 eyes looking at it and working together on the same page, it’s going to make everything a lot safer.”
The Top Five Reporting Craftsme n included jo iner Stephen Downey (13), pipefitter Arnaldo Colon (13) (pictured here), electrician Scott Winstead (11), shipfitter Ty Cotton (11) and joiner Eric Tripp (9). “I want everybody to be safe at work. It ‘s the right thing to do,” Colon said. Tripp added, “We’re here with our co-workers more than our regular families. It ‘s important that we all go home safe together. “Cotton said the instructor- led training gave them conf idence to report issues without fear of reprisal.
Winstead said, “The training makes you more aware. For instance,I’ve reported a lot of untagged cut cable. At the end of the day, you just want to go home safe and you want your coworkers to be safe too. “Yelissa Sanchez, Colon’s forema n, was also at the event. She is determined to have a safe work environment because she lost a member of her carpool to an industrial accident several years ago. “Losing my friend, my ride, my neighbor, I realized how important it was to work safely,” Sanchez said. “If somebody had only stopped my friend, he would be alive and safe with his family.”