Safety culture produces results

BATAVIA, OH  — Clermont County’s emphasis on employee safety has led to a significant decline in claims — from 71 in 2018 to 33 last year.

“Safety Coordinator Gary Caudill and I feel strongly that the decrease is due to the safety culture that has been renewed in the county in the past few years,” said Terri Brandenburg, Human Resources coordinator.  “We feel that the employees are thinking before they act. We’re committing to getting ourselves and our co-workers home safely. As these numbers are coming down, we feel that the morale is coming up in our workforce.”

Caudill said that developing a strong safety culture has the single greatest impact on accident reduction of any process. For this single reason, developing this culture should be the top priority for all Clermont County supervisors and employees, he added.

To truly create lasting change, organizations must create an environment in which safety is more than just a box to be checked but is an attitude that makes up the very foundation of Clermont County’s safety program and is upheld by everyone from frontline workers to senior management.

It is also extremely important that everyone is on the same page with the safety practices, which is why it is equally as important to talk as it is to listen.

“You need to talk to set out what the initial goals are,” Caudill said. “But you also need to listen to make sure that all ideas are heard and incorporated.”

Here are some ways that Clermont County has worked to improve safety in the workplace:

Senior management and supervisor support: The Board of Clermont County Commissioners and supervisors are committed in supporting safety for Clermont County employees.

Training programs: The safety training programs offered at Clermont County are performed for both office and field operations. Examples include, CPR, First Aid, AED, Arc Flash, Competent Person, Office Ergonomics, Trench and Excavation Safety and many more.

Monthly Tool Box Talks: A Toolbox Talk is an informal safety meeting. Toolbox talks focus on safety aspects related to the specific job at hand. These meetings are normally 10-15 minutes, and cover topics such as workplace and office hazards and safe work practices.

Employee New Hire Orientation: Accident statistics show that new employees are much more likely to sustain on-the- job injuries than more experienced workers. Therefore, it is essential that new employees receive a detailed safety orientation in order to provide them with the knowledge and skills needed to perform their jobs safely and prevent accidents.

“We as a team will continue to strive for fewer and fewer incidents until we have none,” Brandenburg said. “Zero is our goal. We have a fantastic team at Clermont County. We feel that we will be able to achieve this goal.”

Caudill added: “One of the big things is our communication around the county with our supervision and the support, especially from the Administration Building. We are getting out and doing one-on-one with all of the workers and employees. This has helped tremendously. I think the investigations of the incidents that did occur gives our employees the knowledge that we do care and that we are concerned about reaching our Target Zero.”