"No job or task is that important that we cannot take the time to do it safely."
Complete Logistics has a strong focus on health and safety best practice. Our health and safety culture are led internally by employees and proactive reporting is encouraged to ensure accidents are prevented if at all possible.
Complete Logistics has developed a Quality, Safety Health and Environment management system (QSHEMS) which is a Staying Safe at Work programme. The programme takes a holistic approach to safety.
CLL has also developed an in-house training module addressing safe operational procedures to prevent workplace injuries.
Complete Logistics Limited has had great success in reducing the number of workplace injuries and other incidents in the 9 years of existence. We’re not perfect, and there’s always room for improvement. But we feel we’re getting something right when it comes to logistics safety, and we’d like to share some of our tactics, strategies and findings from our journey, as well as observations gained from the wider logistics industry.
The accidents experienced in the logistics industry carry a hefty price tag both personally and for the company in terms of insurance costs, lost time, productivity dips and other negative consequences of injuries.
Here at Complete Logistics Limited, we reckon there are four initiatives that can make the most difference in moving your Recordable Incident Rate (RIR) down and reaping the health and economic rewards of doing so.
Establishing a culture of safety starts at the top. At Complete Logistics Limited, safety is, if anything, over-communicated. Literally every time our MD, Silas Okitte, speaks, safety is the first thing he mentions. It’s absolutely crucial that C-level executives make it clear that safety is a top priority. Otherwise, all the posters, training and speeches will come across as so much service. The commitment must be real and go from the top down.
It helps, too, that the number one item in our 5-point COMPLETE Code, the foundation of our corporate culture, is “No job or task is that important that we cannot take the time to do it safely.”
As part of establishing a positive safety culture, we look for opportunities to celebrate accomplishments. For instance, we get workers excited about hitting records for incident-free days which we see as an opportunity to build positive energy. As we set targets, the safety group make a clear communication on the expected reward when the targets are achieved and announce each benchmark passed. We celebrate successes as they happen, but we also keep the big picture in mind and share those results as well.
HAVE ASSOCIATES SHARE BEST PRACTICES
All our staff members have a vital part of the process and are given time to talk about what specific things they are doing, individually, to improve safety. We hold group meetings every day where people can share what is working for them.
In order to reassure our colleagues that we’re not here to throw them under the bus, we spend time building personal relationships. We make sure that employees don’t see managers and auditors ONLY during audit time doing audit-type work, but we talk and listen to their concerns. Everyone attend safety meetings and celebrations and we invest time to show how personally invested everyone is in the company’s success.
At COMPLETE, it typically take us a full hour to do a walk-through for any new client, depending on the size of the facility. We regard this as an active period of discovery that’s just the beginning of a safety assessment. It’s a collaborative and interactive process.
WE DON’T TAKE A GENERIC APPROACH
We appreciate that the type of logistics activity can be quite different across different operations, so we don’t take a uniform audit approach. For each site, we establish factors that are most relevant and can be measured. This really helps drill down to the level where positive results start to happen and once we start getting deeper, the audit gets a lot more specific to each operation. Audits may include some generic elements across facilities, but it’s the more detailed, facility-specific elements that offer the best potential to improve best practices and raise safety standards.
There’s a whole universe of accident causes, but the major root causes are attributed to human factors. We therefore train our personnel rigorously to be more conscious of predictable hazards.
To drive down our RIR, we make safety a highly visible element of everyday operations. At COMPLETE, we clearly display our current days without incident metric, as well as other safety and compliance measures. Supervisors take pride in having good performance, and take ownership of these numbers.
This transparency and accountability creates healthy competition between facilities/sites. Our Supervisors want the full team to succeed but, like most of us, they want to win. So we encourage friendly competition among COMPLETE facilities/sites. We’re also careful to make distinctions between facilities for the sake of fairness. We believe that Competition is healthy; it just needs to be fair.
We acknowledge that a good logistics safety program goes way beyond a set of policies, procedures and a training schedule. Our secret sauce is to develop a pervasive, operations-wide culture that understands that safety is simply smart business, and that it applies to absolutely everyone.
That kind of safety culture doesn’t get established in a couple of months, but it takes years to get a mature culture of safety in place. We boast of a strong, proactive and safety-minded MD who is helping us shorten this timeline by constantly reinforcing the importance of safety and the role of each individual employee.
Our ultimate belief is that safe logistics operations don’t happen because of a few hard-working safety managers but meaningful progress happens only when associates, across the organization, embrace safety as a personal responsibility.