Special Topics in Safety Management

Same Old, Same Old Safety Ideas? Think Again!

Read about a VPP worksite that is succeeding in making employees safer by innovating.

More and more workplaces are using inventive worker protection strategies to get the job done. One of these is Cintas® Corporation. Even if your business doesn’t rent uniforms from Cintas, you’ve likely seen the company’s trucks delivering clothing, restroom supplies, first-aid and safety materials, paper shredding services, cleaning products, and other items, which Cintas supplies to over 1 million businesses.

Innovative programs like the Cintas Maintenance Safety Certificate play an important role in keeping employees safe. The corporate safety and engineering departments collaborated to create a rigorous certificate program for all Cintas maintenance personnel. It addresses high-risk maintenance work like working around energized equipment and working at elevations.

The program features a specially developed training module and study guide. In order to be certified, participants must be evaluated by a panel that includes representatives from safety and engineering. They are required to perform a hands-on demonstration of their ability to respond safely to a particular condition.

Other Inventive Strategies

  • The company uses a fatality prevention audit that goes beyond compliance to eliminate behaviors and activities that can lead to fatalities. Members of the corporate safety team travel to Cintas sites around the country to conduct these audits.

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  • An Industrial Athlete program helps protect employees and drivers by reducing the need for material handling. The program teaches proper lifting and moving techniques, emphasizing good nutrition and balancing work and rest.
  • A Wash Alley Safety System shuts off all hazardous motion when anyone enters the area where washers and dryers operate and prevents unauthorized access.
  • The company’s annual Partner Safety Day celebrates the Cintas safety commitment and helps keep safety top of mind for all employees.
  • All senior managers are required to take a Management Safety Leadership Skills Course.
  • Employees can nominate and win recognition for safety best practices implemented at their facilities.
  • Cintas has 20-plus sites already in the OSHA VPP and dozens of others making their way through the pipeline.
  • Cintas has partnered with ASSE to create an annual Safety Management Innovation Award.

Safety Vision

The company’s safety vision is to:

  • Ensure every Cintas location is injury-free
  • Ensure every Cintas partner is engaged in continuously improving safety
  • Establish Cintas as a widely recognized world leader in safety and health performance

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Involvement OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs has played a big part in the Cintas Safety transformation, says Cintas OSHA VPP manager Kristyn Grow. “About 10 years ago, our executives wanted to accelerate the company’s progress on our safety journey.” she says. That step led to pursuing the ambitious VPP application process.

The first Cintas facility was accepted into VPP in 2010. Today, 21 locations have earned the prestigious VPP Star recognition.