OSI's New Approach to Safety in North America Drives Results
Back in 2015, OSI set a goal to implement an integrated health and safety (H&S) system at all of our global facilities by 2025. Beyond aligning around common safety indicators, the goal has been pushing facilities to elevate their standards and rethink their approach to safety. Leading the charge for OSI North America is Jim Swanson, the region's Environment, Health and Safety Director, who tapped more than 25 years of safety experience to recently overhaul OSI North America's approach to keeping our workers safe.
The overhaul began in 2020 with the introduction of a new key safety metric called the Safety Performance Rating (SPR). Unlike injury rates, a traditional safety metric focuses on past accidents, so Jim wanted to shift the focus to injury and accident prevention.
"The Safety Performance Rating is heavily focused on activity completion — that's where the war is won," he said. "Injury rates look to the past and you can't change them. This new metric empowers supervisors and their teams who manage the preventative activities under their control."
The rating rewards supervisors for accident prevention activities, such as giving safety talks to their teams, training them, and doing walkthroughs to make sure employees are carrying out their jobs as safely as possible. It accounts for injuries, near-misses, and other historical data too, but these indicators don't dominate the new formula.
Jim explains that the new formula is designed to motivate supervisors by giving them more control over the criteria used to evaluate them. Motivated supervisors, in turn, can better empower the largest group of people at any North America facility: the hourly employees whose safety is fundamental to OSI.
Beyond tying metrics to the completion of best practices, OSI Leadership also implemented a bonus system that rewards supervisors with high safety rating numbers performance.
"What gets measured gets done, what gets rewarded gets done first," he said.
Safety Performance Improvement Plans and Data Platforms
As part of the overhaul, Jim has also asked facility leadership to develop H&S performance improvement plans that includes risk reduction activities and capital projects, such as machinery or infrastructure in need of repairs, and what it would take to address them. The goal is to ensure that the risks are addressed in the short term by the facility management, while senior leadership plans the financial commitments necessary to implement a permanent solution.
The H&S Program overhaul also included dashboards and databases to help make the analysis and communication of safety metrics easier and more transparent to all levels within OSI. Ensuring that all levels of employees understand the goals and objectives is critical to the success of OSI and the H&S program. Having an easy to understand snapshot of where each facility stands and what each supervisor needs to do to reach their own safety targets is a powerful tool that drives success.
"The idea is to make everything as easy as possible," he said.
The new focus on incident and injury prevention that started in late 2020 already appears to be paying off. In 2021 Safety Activities were completed at a rate of 97.37% (Jan-Dec) and so far through June 2022 the rate has risen to 99.34%, whereas IFR has dropped from 3.56 to 2.48 during the same time period. The safety rating has risen from 92.63 in 2021 to 96.25 through June 2022, which shows the hard work and dedication of the entire workforce is producing results.
"There's still room for improvement," Jim said, "but what we've seen so far has shown us that the formula works and that it's making OSI facilities in North America safer than ever by educating and empowering all levels of employees.”