If I told you that safety is the most important thing door and window manufacturers should prioritize on a daily basis, I certainly wouldn’t be telling you anything new.

We know how important safety is, but it’s always worth a refresher, especially as we enter the final stretch of the busy season. Plant workers have been working hard to fulfill orders quickly all summer, and it’s only natural for some level of fatigue to have set in. That brings me to today’s tip.

Remember the Three Cs of Safety

Everyone loves a good mnemonic device—and while the three Cs of safety might not be a common one, it’s something our team at Quanex sometimes uses when considering safety on the shop floor. Here they are:

Commitment

Who is responsible for safety? It’s not just one person—it’s everyone, from employer to worker.

From the employer perspective, safety can seem like a number—how many OSHA violations we did or didn’t commit in a calendar year. How many accidents occurred on the floor (hopefully, that number is zero). But are we committing to safety for the numbers, or for the people and the families that they support? I hope it’s for the latter, and I think it’s important to sometimes take a step back and recognize that reality.

From a worker perspective, an ongoing focus on safety is a skill. An unsafe decision—whether made hastily or otherwise—affects the people around them. Employers and workers must continue making a commitment to safe working practices and to each other.

Common Sense

Part of that commitment is common sense. We all have a sense of what safe behavior looks like and what it doesn’t look like. Maybe you could cut a corner here or there. Maybe your job that day will be performed more quickly and perhaps it won’t affect you that day.
But with every such action your odds of causing an accident or injury add up. No matter how busy we are, it’s worth taking a step back to ensure we’re acting and working in such a way that safety is prioritized. If we make safety a true part of our culture it will drive accountability to each other and promote good commonsense decision-making that becomes second nature.

Consider the Cost

Another part of making a commitment to safety includes considering the full cycle of people that we impact when making safe—or unsafe—decisions. A shop floor accident can cause injury or worse to the victim. It affects that person’s family. It affects the company, from insurance claims to shut down costs. And especially if it’s a small business, those effects can be catastrophic—affecting other employees and their families.

I hope you find the three Cs of safety useful. To summarize, safety creates a ripple effect. It’s not just today, and not just this action, but what might result weeks, months and even years from the moment those small decisions are made each day.

John Ryba is Technical Services Manager for Quanex.

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