Wake up, get out of bed, drag the comb across my head…Many workdays begin the same, but a day in the life of a safety manager includes continuous blend of vigilance and compassion.
For Tru Vue’s safety manager, Bob Kozak, his workday begins before he arrives at his desk. He checks emails, texts and calls on his mobile before leaving his home. Once on site, he takes time to meet with anyone who stops to ask a question or share an idea. When he makes it to his office, he checks messages again and tends to any unfinished work.
At 8 a.m., Kozak participates in the Managing Daily Improvements Meeting, where Tru Vue’s production staff reviews safety, maintenance, quality control, as well as production charts, HR notifications and a daily Lean manufacturing quiz.
At 8:15 a.m., Kozak attends the Staff Meeting where Production Action issues are discussed and addressed. On Tuesdays, these meetings include Management of Change topics, such as continuous improvement ideas. On Thursdays, environmental topics are featured.
By 9 a.m., Kozak follows up on any actions required by the earlier meetings and messages.
Depending on the day, Kozak will conduct inspections or review inspection reports submitted by the production staff, safety committee or inspection team for compliance. “Periodically, I will receive a call on the radio, page or phone call to talk to someone about something that is safety related or important to them, which means it’s important to me,” says Kozak.
He elaborates, “There is always an area, topic or program that needs to be addressed or updated. Safety never remains constant. A safety program is a living breathing entity that lives within each person in the facility and constantly evolves. And, I evolve with it. There never is just a status quo in a safety program.”
Four to fives times a month, Kozak conducts safety meetings for each of the shifts. For example, April’s topics included severe weather evacuations such as tornadoes; first aid training for CPR, strokes and wound treatments; and a safety protocol review for L-Buck storage racks. Team members complete written quizzes to demonstrate their knowledge and earn safety credit points. With Tru Vue’s “Count Me in for Safety” program, staff can earn points through safety meetings and actions, which may be applied toward payroll or gift certificates.
In other months, safety meetings may be more specific, such as participating in the 10-hour OSHA Outreach Training Program for which Kozak is an authorized instructor. After successfully completing the course, team members receive a card from OSHA, which needs to be renewed every three years. This year was the third time Kozak delivered the training and presented 69 team members with their cards. He adds, “Our plant and office team members take great pride in earning this recognition.”
Kozak shares, “The greatest moment in my career was being at Tru Vue when our team was first admitted into OSHA SHARP [Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program]. I felt that we have always put an enormous amount of effort into our safety program and wondered how much more would it take for us to meet the OSHA SHARP requirements. Well, it really wasn’t all that much at all. And we earned it.”
He continues, “The second time Tru Vue received SHARP recognition, I was excited because some people might say it was a fluke that you received it to begin with. When we received it the third time, which it is valid this time for three years instead of two, it was just earth shaking to me and to the team. We have an outstanding team. No matter how many curveballs or strikes come our way, we just pick ourselves up and keep moving forward each day and making a difference – sometimes a step and sometimes by leap and bounds.”
Although SHARP is valid for three years, at least once a year, Tru Vue invites OSHA to visit, tour and inspect the facility. “All of our team members really enjoy when OSHA comes out,” says Kozak. “We’ve have been doing this for so long that OSHA is part of the Tru Vue safety team at McCook. Isn’t that great?”
This year, Kozak was the one invited by the OSHA manager to visit their team. Kozak was asked to present on Tru Vue’s safety program and was expecting a modest classroom setting. Instead, he entered an auditorium of attendees and was introduced as representing one of the safest manufacturing facilities in the State of Illinois. Kozak admits, “You could have knocked me over with a feather after what the OSHA Manager said about Tru Vue and I gave a round of applause to them for making it possible.”
As Kozak continually states, it is a team effort that makes safety possible. For him, this surpasses professional boundaries. He explains, “I have a personal philosophy that the facility has to be safe enough for my family – meaning my mom, wife or children – to work here. And I believe that the families of our teammates deserve to know that when their loved ones come to work at Tru Vue that they are working for a company that places a lot of value on the contribution that their loved ones make to the team at Tru Vue.”
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This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.