B&D Manufacturing celebrates safety milestone
One million hours, no lost time injuries
Sudbury mining supplier B&D Manufacturing lives and breathes safety. The company manufactures Super Jacks, Tire Handlers and Swing Shift Changers for safely performing maintenance on haul trucks and shovels used in surface mining operations.
It also has a line of aluminum products such as wheel chocks, stairs and platforms for securing heavy equipment and safely working at heights.
Safety is embedded in B&D’s culture – so much so that its 140 employees recently celebrated one million man hours of work without a lost time injury.
“We make sure that work can be executed safely,” said Mike Murphy, the company’s health and safety manager. “If it can’t be executed safely, it doesn’t get executed.”
Murphy attributes the company’s achievement to across the board buy-in and reinforcement from supervision. Monthly safety meetings are held with each department to go over accident ratios and strategies for mitigation and prevention.
“The talks are geared to the scope of work, so if a crew is doing hoisting and rigging, we’ll focus on pre-inspecting your slings, using appropriate hardware and barricading your area,” said Murphy.
“We also go over the suggestions we receive in our safety suggestion box. We get a lot of them. Some are small, some are big, but at the end of the day, they all contribute to continuous improvement.”
One of the biggest challenges to overcome is complacency, said Murphy. “A lot of times people become complacent when they do the same task day after day, so it’s important to constantly reinforce awareness.”
On the other hand, there are some tasks that aren’t regularly performed, requiring refresher training to go over safety procedures that might otherwise be overlooked.
“You can have the best health and safety program in the world, but if your employees don’t follow it and your supervisors don’t enforce it, it’s not going to be much good,” said Murphy, who worked as a steeplejack and underwater welder prior to joining B&D.
Safety training begins when a new employee, sub-contractor or vendor walks into B&D’s state-of-the- art, 46,000-square foot production facility.
“We point out the assembly areas if there’s a need to evacuate the building,” said Murphy. “We identify areas to avoid, show them the tag board and point out the travelways. All of our safety protocols are communicated to them, so they can safely be in our building without being exposed inadvertently to unknown hazards.”
Achieving one million hours without a lost time injury is only possible if there’s a good return-to-work program, said Murphy.
“When an employee is injured, leaves the workplace and doesn’t come back the next day, it’s considered a lost time injury, but if the employee is able to continue doing meaningful work, it’s not considered a lost time injury.”
Keeping employees safe when working on customer sites is the responsibility of field machining manager Pascal Brisson.
“It’s dynamic. You never know from one day to the next where you’re going to end up or what risks you’re going to be facing,” said Brisson. “You can be in a shutdown situation and walk from one end of the plant to the other and be exposed to 25 different hazards.”
Each shift in field services begins with a toolbox talk.
“We talk about the hazards associated with the tasks to be accomplished that day and what we need to be aware of,” said Brisson.
A process hazard review is completed, signed by each member of the crew and posted. If something comes up in the middle of a project or there’s a variance in scope, the work stops, a non-routine task is added to the process hazard review and everyone signs off again.
“It’s not just about absolving ourselves of labiality,” said Brisson. “We want to make sure our employees are aware of the hazards and taking them seriously.”
Brisson has seen a major shift in attitudes toward safety.
“Years ago, it was more about the schedule,” he said. “Now, the culture and the mentality have flipped over. We have learned that if you take care of the safety, the schedule will follow. At the end of the day, everybody wants to return home safely.”
Working in the field is especially challenging because “you’re working with a lot of different contractors in the same area,” said B&D general manager André Rioux. “Not only do you have to work safely yourself. You also have to be aware of what’s happening around you.”
The safety conscious culture isn’t limited to B&D, noted Brisson. It permeates the entire Sudbury Basin.
“You can see it during a shutdown because you have people working above you, beside you, next to you and around you, yet the communication and respect for each other’s well being is excellent,” B&D Manufacturing has been entered in the 2014 Canada’s Safest Employers competition, the results of which were to be announced at the end of August.