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looking at hand protection,” he said. “When you’re handling parts manu- ally, you have to figure out the safest way to do it, and we’re always striving for that.” According to Martin, Nacogdoches


is NIBCO’s longest running facility. More than 25 percent of its 260 asso- ciates are inductees into the 25 Year Club, and three were honored recently for 54 years of service. Seven have won Associate Recognition of Excellence Awards for cost savings and productiv- ity solutions they’ve suggested over the past two years. Communication is a vital part of


safety at NIBCO. “It’s an open forum,” said Goo-


dling. “Whenever somebody has an idea, and it can be as informal as tell- ing your manager, we keep a list and we action those ideas. It might not be feasible to implement or it might fall at number 20 instead of a top priority, but we look for the lowest hanging fruit and then circle back to the associ- ates who came up with ideas and let them know it’s still being considered.” One safety initiative that arose


from employee input is the compa- nywide glove program. “An associ- ate said, ‘I know I need to wear the gloves, but my dexterity is limited if I use this type of glove. What else can we do?’ And we brought the glove vendors in,” Goodling explained. “Te glove program has been a great benefit. We want to make sure people have the tools they need to keep them from having any type of accident in the workplace, and we’ve made huge improvements.”


Behavioral Observations and Followup


Te Nacogdoches plant implemented a customized behavioral safety program six years ago, which involves staff observing departments other than their own. Te program includes a five to 10-minute housekeeping and observation period, with a writ- ten paragraph about what was observed. Te observer receives a copy of the job description, the proper PPE and what to


Drawn copper tubing is cut into blanks to be used in forming fittings of various shapes and sizes.


look for. Approximately 70 inspections take place each week followed up with a weekly discussion meeting.


“Management has changed the culture, helping [employees] understand that nothing you do at work, here at NIBCO, is worth getting hurt for, ever. And we’re continuously improving.”—Rex Martin


“You don’t just observe, but you help find a fix for it, which gives everyone accountability and a feel- ing that they helped make improve- ments,” Goodling said. It also helps workers across departments learn the proper way to do things. “It’s helped them drastically reduce their recordables,” he said. One of the first things


this program uncovered was a need to do a lighting study, to help workers see bet- ter and do their jobs more safely. NIBCO has rolled that out to other facilities and changed the lighting. Within the first three years of the observation program


July 2013 MODERN CASTING | 21


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