June is recognized as National Safety Month as a way for employers to set aside time and resources to focus on workplace safety. For Polydeck, workplace safety is fundamental to our culture and is part of our Mission Statement. As a company that regards its employees as its most valuable asset, we consider it the highest responsibility to provide and maintain a safe and welcoming work environment. We’re committed to achieving zero incidents and this month, we’re proud to share some of the ways we have succeeded in achieving the ultimate in workplace safety.
We have a zero-incident safety goal at Polydeck. Zero incidents simply means eliminating events that result in injury, property damage, or lost work time. Achieving a zero-incident safety environment is predominantly dependent on culture. While processes, policies, technology, and mechanisms all contribute to a safer workplace, true safety excellence comes down to every team member’s decision making – which is dictated by our collective attitude toward safety. An attitude and culture of safety is something that each Polydeck team member, whether at our main plant in Spartanburg SC, in our plant in Santiago, Chile or on our Sales Team that’s spread across the world, must commit to and work toward each day on the job. Some examples of how we distribute ownership of safety is by involving our employees in safety audits, hazard analysis tasks, safety champion programs and more. We provide training and opportunities for employees to engage in the company’s safety culture on a regular basis.
Our Sales Team is particularly excited to report zero incidents in 2021 thus far. In addition, our Sales Team members undergo annual MSHA training as part of their commitment to our safety standards. Ron Bennett, Polydeck’s Field Safety Manager, is dedicated to making sure that our Sales Team, who frequent customer sites and are traveling often, are being trained and participate in weekly safety talks distributed across the company. Bennett is also working towards getting all forklift operators at our Distribution Centers OSHA certifications. “Training and being aware of your surroundings are the key to being safe,” Bennett says.
We focus on small, yet impactful changes with total support from our leadership team.
By incorporating “Safety Always” language into our Mission Statement, safety is a tangible focus for the company. Metrics have been put in place to ensure our safety focus is measurable and “wins” are celebrated collectively. In the past 6 months under the direction of our new Director of Operations, Todd Nalepka, we have advanced our safety culture by focusing on initiatives that fall within four main pillars of safety. The pillars we have identified are Setting Expectations, Ensuring Fundamentals, Leading by Example, and Accountability.
Robbie Miller, Environmental, Health, and Safety Manager for Polydeck recalls a standout initiative involving a safety video presentation of Charlie Morecraft’s “Remember Charlie” to production employees. “Charlie’s story was powerful, emotional, and helped change people’s attitude toward safety. This has served as a reminder of why we work safe,” said Miller. Each employee was asked to view the video and make a personal safety pledge in response. The pledges are posted in the canteen at Polydeck headquarters as a reminder of the people counting on each employee, both at work and away from work.
Safety is not something achieved with a simple statement or poster. According to Nalepka, “Achieving safety excellence requires unwavering commitment and constant focus from every team member at Polydeck. While processes & behaviors matter deeply toward advancing our safety environment, the ultimate shift in culture comes with courage. The most impactful ignitors for us to lead with courage are to be continuously reminded of “Our Why” and to respectfully challenge one another. Our stories are all unique. Our motivational factors vary. Our ambitions and hope for the future are different. But deep down inside, “Our Why’s” have much commonality – we strive for excellence in safety to return home to loved ones, enable our team to live fulfilling lives, and navigate our working careers in a healthy manner so we can maximize a joyful retirement. In the simplest form, that’s why workplace safety matters.”
Earlier this year, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce recognized our efforts to create and maintain a safe workplace by naming us a 2020 Safety Award Winner . While our efforts are never about winning an award, it is the ultimate honor to receive this recognition and be counted among other companies in South Carolina who are leading the charge in safety culture.
In addition to our internal focus on a safe workplace for our employees, Polydeck is proud to offer solutions that increase safety for our customers on their job sites. Wire cloth solutions that require lengthy operational shutdowns, cranes and/or full teams can now be replaced by longer wearing, lighter, easier-to-change modular screen media. Safety and efficiency go hand in hand, and our customers are experiencing both with our revolutionary screen media solutions.
It may sound cliché to say that every month is safety month at Polydeck, but it’s true. It’s proven in our corporate mantra of “Together Strong,” which is the demonstration of our belief that providing high quality products and caring for people are the bedrock of our success. If caring for people is at our core, then safety is non-negotiable. We are fully committed to providing the safest workplace possible for our employees, partners, and vendors, and continuing to innovate to provide products and solutions that improve the safety of our customer’s workplaces as well. Together safe. Together strong.