Safety on the Brain

#USAMfgHour Recap for January 16, 2020

This week’s #USAMfgHour Twitter chat was led by Phil Mendelowitz (@witzshared) and covered a topic of great importance to manufacturers across the country: safety.

After brief introductions by this week’s participants, Phil kicked off the discussion by asking “Does your company currently have an active safety committee?”  The responses were varied, with only a few people saying “Yes” and many sharing that they have another safety structure in place. Several participants mentioned having an employee in charge of managing safety, but that it is generally up to everyone to work as a team to see that policies are adhered to.  Some companies on the chat even bring their policies to life by giving their employee’s hands on experiences working fire extinguishers and following other safety protocols.

Phil’s second question asked participants how often they hold safety meetings.  Some participants said they’ve never or rarely met about safety while others shared about their consistent meetings.  One participant, SecoTools (@SecoToolsUS) chimed in and stated that it has regular safety meetings plus one safety overview before every corporate meeting to ensure everyone knows evacuation procedures and is mentally able to participate.  In the end, Phil stated, “Monthly is the best to have a full in-depth meeting. You can pick one topic like LOTO or Confined space. Then follow up with a weekly tailgate and on really busy days start with a huddle. Communication is the best way to know everyone is on the same page.”

Communication really is key, as is, it seems, company culture.  Damon Pistulka (@dpistulka) emphasized that, “Creating a culture where others feel comfortable tapping you on the shoulder and helping is necessary.”  This comment received resounding accolades from the participants, who agreed wholeheartedly that safety is in the hands of everyone at the company and that people shouldn’t be afraid to offer their help in promoting it or in reporting violations of safety policies.  And, when management doesn’t fix concerns, that calling OSHA at 1-800-321-6742 is an option.

Question three asked how often participants have emergency evacuation or fire drills.  Sadly the responses were essentially, “Not as often as we should.” Some people admitted to not having one in years while others stated they’ve only had them from time to time.  A few participants mentioned not being a part of safety drills because they work from home. However, Phil responded that they should still have procedures in place for an emergency evacuation and to practice them frequently.  As NJMEP (@NJMEP) states, “Safety is vital, everywhere. At home, visiting a manufacturing facility, or working on the shop floor, safety needs to be considered.”

The final question of the chat asked for participant’s opinions on the use of headphones while on the shop floor or operating machinery such as forklifts.  Unlike the last three questions, there was no variation in responses, with a resounding “NO!” being the overall consensus of the participants. While many people stated they are too much of a distraction to be safe, Luis Montalvo (@mont610) from Service Caster Corporation (@SERVICECASTER) mentioned that OSHA actually discourages their use because they prevent the wearer from receiving auditory cues about the environment and can cause hearing damage.  The mention about auditory cues resulted in side discussion among several participants about being mindful in their workplaces in order to help promote safety, as people often go about their days on autopilot, not thinking about potential dangers.

Overall, Nesbit Marketing (@NesbitMarketing) summed up this week’s chat nicely, stating the big takeaways were “Make those #safety meetings a priority, run drills, and no headphones in #industrial or #manufacturing environments.” 

Next week’s #USAMfgHour chat will feature Ruby Rusine (@SocialSMktg) and her take on marketing a manufacturing services or goods business.  The chat will take place on Thursday 1/23 at 2 pm Eastern / 1 pm Central over on Twitter. In the meantime, be sure to visit Phil’s website ( and connect with us on LinkedIn to network and discuss all things manufacturing.  

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