COMMENT: Empower employees to create a culture of safety
In 1996, the National Safety Council declared June National Safety Month, a time to reflect on working conditions across the country and how to create safer environments.
Two decades later, he reminds us every year that safety at work requires a daily commitment on the part of a company and its employees.
At Manheim, safety is a core value and at the heart of everything we do. As workplace concerns are constantly changing, our program follows a model of constant evaluation in order to refine and improve our processes and create a culture of continuous learning and improvement.
Research shows that employees benefit from ongoing security training and regular security skills updates. Our approach includes providing personalized, department-specific training and expanding access by offering the training in a variety of formats for on-demand, mobile and online learning.
For example, from a safety perspective, Manheim’s planning for the industry’s transformation to electric vehicles has included partnering with stakeholders and subject matter experts to develop detailed and specific training and certifications. for use beyond the industry standard.
What we’ve discovered is that a successful approach to workplace safety includes three key elements that can also benefit your business:
1. Engage Employees
Employees play a vital role in creating a proactive safety culture. They are on the front line of how work is done and can provide real-world experience in detecting and preventing risks.
Manheim’s safety culture includes our “Near Miss” initiative which engages all employees to report near misses, helping us identify risk trends and take action to prevent future incidents.
The cornerstone of this program is a two-month Safety Madness Tournament of Champions held each spring. Inspired by the NCAA’s March Madness Men’s Basketball Tournament, this friendly competition pits teams from different auction sites against each other, and this year resulted in 78% of reported risks being corrected or eliminated. Special thanks to our 2022 Final Four teams: Manheim San Diego, Manheim Seattle, Manheim Southern California and Manheim St. Pete.
“Take 2 for Safety” is another initiative aimed at mobilizing employees. Manheim field locations and corporate sites nationwide start each day with a two-minute safety reminder, including seasonal tips such as avoiding slip and falling ice hazards in winter and stay hydrated during the hot summer months. This constant, priority reminder for everyone has been invaluable in building a culture of safety.
2. Current investments
Manheim has invested nearly $10 million in recent years in safety protocols and programs that enable our more than 12,000 team members to take an active role in their own safety. These are a few examples.
A safety assessment tool enables our auctions to address both nationwide safety concerns as well as site-specific issues, creating a culture of continuous improvement. Using this tool, Manheim Albany recently implemented several actions to mitigate risk, including placing flags on employee cars to reduce foot traffic on lots, installing markings auction arenas for stops and speed restrictions, stop signs at high traffic intersections and pedestrian crossing markings.
Our recent investment in weather security technology enables personalized monitoring of conditions for each of our 76 physical locations across the country. In partnership with AccuWeather and Cox Security, site managers receive early warnings of severe weather via text and email, enabling them to react in advance to impending conditions that could impact operations or the safety of our customers and team members.
LotVision, Manheim’s GPS-based vehicle tracking device, directs customers and employees to locate vehicles on auction lots within 10 feet. This investment reduces the need to move vehicles on our grounds and therefore reduces the overall number of incidents involving pedestrians.
Recognition and reward for a job well done responds to a basic human need for recognition and encouragement. Workplace safety experts recommend incorporating this concept into safety programs to encourage positive behavior. At Manheim, we have a quarterly rewards program that rewards team members who go above and beyond to make safety a priority, focus on corrective actions and locations that demonstrate the best safety results.
As a member of the National Auto Auction Association, we also take advantage of the variety of resources they offer to support a safe workplace. Topics ranging from training and certification programs to business continuity planning. To learn more, visit https://www.naaa.com/education_training/training_safety.html.
Investing in a culture of safety that engages employees in the process through ongoing engagement and recognition is a win-win situation for everyone.
Grace Huang is President of Inventory Solutions at Cox Automotive.