Special Topics in Safety Management

Announcing Our Latest Safety Standout Award Winners!

The EHS Daily Advisor Safety Standout Awards recognize companies and safety professionals who excel in making their workplaces safe, and this round of awards was all about safety culture. Read on to meet our award winners, who will be recognized at the upcoming Safety Culture 2018 event!

Safety professionals

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These awards are sponsored by SafeStart, the most successful safety training process in the world for developing personal, 24/7 safety skills, proven to reduce injuries by 50% on average. SafeStart has trained over 3 million people at more than 3,000 companies and 10,000 sites in over 60 countries and is available in 32 languages.

Join us in celebrating these safety-conscious companies when they accept their awards at a ceremony during the Safety Culture 2018 event in Atlanta, Georgia, taking place September 12-14, 2018!

Best Overall Safety Culture Award: King’s Seafood Company

King's SeafoodKing’s Seafood Company is privately held and has been “Delivering Great Seafood to America” for over 70 years. The organization owns and operates 21 restaurants, and this year marks the 10th Anniversary of King’s Seafood Distribution, the company’s exclusive seafood processing and distribution operation, which enables it to offer products of superior quality, freshness, and value.

The EHS Daily Advisor Editorial Board was very impressed by King’s Seafood Company’s application—it was clear that their organization went above and beyond when it came to creating a strong safety culture. In their application materials, they demonstrated that their safety program is equitable to all other company objectives and that safety is a top priority and often interwoven with other company initiatives.

King’s Seafood explained that over a year ago, they decided to shift from a “reactive, compliance-based” safety program to a “proactive, culture-based” program. Even before this shift, the program was already successful—so why would they change it? As the company stated in its application:

“Because it could be better! That’s exactly what we did, and the results we saw were astounding, making our already successful program better than ever. Safety is a multi-layered approach in our organization that has support from everyone that works here. We combine training, education, feedback, analytics, best practices, compliance, audits, incentives, leadership, hourly crew, and management into the program.

“Our safety culture is cyclical. Our crew members are required to report all incidents, even those where no injury occurred. The restaurants document and investigate all incidents, retrain on all preventable incidents, and send the detailed investigation form to Home Office. Home Office tracks and analyzes the information received and provides overall direction back to the restaurants as a whole and on an individual level. The restaurants are responsible for developing their own safety culture and action plans to ensure their operations are safe and prevent injuries before they occur.”

King’s Seafood’s home office is located in Costa Mesa, California, and supports all restaurant operations in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas—and the business is growing! The organization’s seven restaurant concepts currently include the Water Grill (5 locations), King’s Fish House (11 locations), Pier Burger, 555 East, Lou & Mickey’s, Fish Camp, and Meat On Ocean.

Accepting the award for King’s Seafood are Jillian Bell and Tyler Thomas.

Jillian BellAs a Human Resources Manager, Jillian Bell develops meaningful partnerships that help drive more, better, or different business solutions. In addition to supporting her business partners, Jillian’s role encompasses the design, development and implementation of safety and risk management programs directed into equitable programs noticed at all levels of the organization.  Jillian’s approach is collaborative and focused on ensuring the organization is focused on optimizing business results.  Jillian holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR).
Tyler ThomasTyler Thomas, PHRca, is a Human Resources Generalist for King’s Seafood Company. As an HR professional in the hospitality industry he has developed, implemented, and administered a wide array of safety and risk management programs. Tyler is a current member of the Food Industry Risk Management Association (FIRMA) and a student member of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). He holds an A.S. degree in Business Administration and is currently pursuing his B.S. in Business Management from Brigham Young University–Idaho.

Best Safety Committee: Valero Renewables–Albion

ValeroValero Renewables–Albion is located in Albion, Nebraska, about 50 miles southwest of Norfolk. The biorefinery sits on 107 acres and started ethanol production in October 2007. Valero purchased the plant in April 2009. The facility uses a dry-grind production method and state-of-the-art technology to maintain industry-leading standards in production, safety, product quality, and environmental stewardship. The Albion plant annually processes approximately 47 million bushels of corn into approximately 135 million gallons of denatured ethanol and 355,000 tons of distiller’s grains co-products. The biorefinery employs approximately 65 full-time personnel.

The Valero Albion safety committee is comprised completely of non-management personnel. Currently, there are fourteen members, selected on a voluntary basis and representing all departments of the facility for a continuous term of one year. When the end of the term is reached, the representative will find a replacement to fulfill their roles, and all terms are staggered for rotation to maintain the integrity of the committee.

The Editorial Board was impressed by not only the excellent structure, obvious team spirit, and diverse functions described by Valero Albion’s safety committee, but also their unique ways of promoting safety engagement among workers. Their application stated:

“The Valero Albion Safety Committee is one of the key vehicles for promoting employee engagement at our facility. The safety committee has done an excellent job at making safety fun, which always increases the likelihood of employee buy-in. A couple of years ago, the Safety Committee launched a program called A-lotto Safety. This program allows members of the committee to hand out lottery-style scratch tickets to other facility employees when observing positive safety behaviors.

“Another effective way the safety committee promotes engagement is filming safety videos that star members of the committee, as well as other site employees, as the main actors. All employees enjoy watching a video that is produced by a familiar face, and once again, if safety is also fun, employees are much more likely to engage and remember it.”

Valero Renewable Fuels Company LLC was formed as a subsidiary of Valero Energy Corporation in spring 2009 when it purchased seven ethanol production facilities. Now with 11 plants, Valero has total annual production capacity of 1.45 billion gallons, making it one of the largest ethanol producers in the nation.

Accepting the award for Valero Renewables-Albion is Michael Pugh.

Michael PughMichael Pugh is an HSE specialist at the Valero Renewables–Albion ethanol plant in Albion, Nebraska, ensuring processes and procedures are implemented to comply with federal, state, and local regulations on health, safety, and environmental matters. He has been with the plant for 10 years, serving also as a shift supervisor and an energy center operator during that time. Prior to joining Valero, Pugh received specialized training in leadership and infantry patrolling with the United States Marine Corps, and served four years as a Marine infantry manager.


Exceptional Progress Award: Smith & Nephew

smith&nephewSmith & Nephew supports healthcare professionals in more than 100 countries in their daily efforts to improve the lives of their patients. This is accomplished by taking a pioneering approach to the design of their advanced medical products and services, by securing wider access to their diverse technologies for more customers globally, and by enabling better outcomes for patients and healthcare systems.

The Editorial Board saw that the progress that Smith & Nephew has made in recent years with their safety efforts was undeniable. They noted that their greatest challenge was a familiar one for safety pros—ownership. Their application materials described a culture where, as recently as the end of 2014, a “not my problem” atmosphere that viewed safety as a cost center and production inconvenience had left them with an injury rate that reflected such attitudes—a Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) of 1.59.

Clearly, something had to change, and the safety team at Smith & Nephew was up to the task. Their application materials stated:

“The most visible mechanisms employed to nurture change are our engagement efforts. Initially employees were asked to commit to safety by inquiring if they would be the ones to “drop the ball” with the “Don’t Drop the Ball” program. Once we had the commitment, Smith & Nephew then taught employees to identify near misses by rewarding them with lapel pins and giving out monthly awards … Engineers, office workers, maintenance, managers, and housekeeping were all encouraged to commit, participate, and improve the work environment. We continually maintain employee engagement programs and frequently develop new ones to keep attention and interest high.

“Our less obvious efforts have focused on program development, training, and accountability. As our programs were established and employees received more and better training, an audit process was put in place. With the auditing and near-miss data came transparent and focused metrics … At the end of 2017, the TRIR was 0.48. Our recordable injuries were down nearly 75%. Our culture was shifting. We were getting buy-in. There was ownership.”

Smith & Nephew is a leader in the following arenas:

Accepting the award for Smith & Nephew is Billy Powell.

Billy PowellBilly Powell has worked in various aspects of manufacturing for 30 years. As the Safety Manager at Smith & Nephew in Memphis, Tennessee, for the past four years, Billy has used his unique, successful, and passionate safety techniques and message across Memphis to help lead the team to safety success.

Moving Beyond Compliance Award: City of Minneapolis Risk Management and Safety Committee

MinneapolisMinneapolis is a vibrant world-class city with a flourishing economy, the city’s largest employment sectors being health care and social assistance, professional and technical assistance, educational service, finance and insurance, and accommodation and food service. With 21 accredited colleges and universities in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area and four ABA-accredited law schools, the city’s highly educated workforce continues to be a driving force of a strong economy. The University of Minnesota’s highly acclaimed medical school and the city’s seven hospitals have made Minneapolis a leader in the medical field. Minneapolis is also the county seat of Hennepin County, and along with the City of Saint Paul and 180 other cities and townships in seven counties, the Twin-Cities region makes up the 16th largest metropolitan area in the United States, encompassing nearly 3,000 square miles.

What stood out to the Editorial Board the most in the City of Minneapolis’s application was the Risk Management and Safety Committee’s efforts to promote safe behaviors in areas that affect safety both on and off the job. In particular, their recognition of the need for a distracted driving policy led to a team effort that included more than 15 labor unions and resulted in the training of more than 1500 city employees.

The City of Minneapolis also has shown a great effort toward understanding and addressing human factors in their safety programs, taking a serious look at ergonomic assessment in safety, and creating a comprehensive motor vehicle accident reduction plan. They have truly moved beyond compliance! Their application materials highlighted several key efforts of their Risk Management and Safety Committee:

“We are seeing a huge difference in drivers’ behavior, because they know that they are the most important asset for their families and they need to be going home safe every day—this is the message we used during our training. Before the policy and training, we used to get several calls from the general public about improper driving behaviors of city employees. Through our employees’ critical thinking and different behaviors, we are making a difference in safety.

“We work together to provide value-added information to all employees. For example, we provide monthly free ergonomics training (this is not mandatory under Federal or State law)—the city administration and safety committee believe in providing all needed information to employees so that they can make the right decision. All of our 4000+ employees have access to a web page 24/7 where they can report issues, safety concerns, near misses, and injuries. These reports will go to the supervisor, and he or she will deal with the issue in real time, thanks to technology improvements.”

The City of Minneapolis is fully committed to the safety and security of its employees. The goal of the Safety Committee is to develop a structure and define accountability for loss prevention and safety and create a loss prevention culture through expectation, open communication, and training. The Safety Committee also strives to maintain a written safety system that defines various programs, policies, procedures.


Please join us in congratulating all of our Safety Standout Award winners on their well-deserved recognition as leaders in the safety field!

There’s still time to register for Safety Culture 2018 to help us celebrate the accomplishments of these organizations and professionals in person. In addition to our awards ceremony, there will be a wide variety of educational speakers, excellent sponsors, an opening keynote from E. Scott Geller and closing keynote from Shawn Galloway, plus opportunities to network and other activities designed to help you build the best possible safety culture at your organization. Register today—seats are filling up fast!

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