Posted April 9, 2018 by Jim Brennan
It was a typical winter evening in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (USA): cold and windy, with lingering precipitation on the ground. As I left work I stuck my hands deep into my coat pockets and hurried to my car. Looking ahead, I saw a gleam on the parking lot – possibly ice; the evening conditions made it difficult to see the pavement well. The risk of a slip and fall was very real.
But there I was, walking at a brisk pace that made a slip more likely, and with my hands in my pockets instead of ready to help brace against a potential fall. I immediately slowed down, pulled my hands out of my coat pockets and made it safely to my car (and then onto home).
That’s how it is with safety – constant awareness of our actions and our surroundings is key. Even a moment of inattention can lead to an injury that affects not only us, but also our families, our friends and our co-workers. The results can be life-altering.
Safety & Quality First is our top value at Westinghouse. We strive to live that value every day through our work procedures, maintenance and housekeeping, Human Performance tools, coaching, daily safety briefs and other resources. Recently we held a companywide Safety Time Out to engage our teams and share ideas for making our workplaces safer. We’re working across Westinghouse to turn those ideas into actions and continuously improve our safety performance.
The Westinghouse “Quest for Zero” program embodies our goal of achieving zero injuries. It outlines specific steps to help engage all of our teams in safety. Elements of the Quest for Zero include appointing safety advocates to lead teams in identifying risks and hazards right before beginning a task; conducting regular walk-downs of work areas to identify and correct unsafe conditions; and posting progress “thermometers” that show the daily safety performance of our sites and work areas.
It’s no coincidence that safe workplaces also achieve high levels of quality and are very productive, as well. The same behaviors that keep people safe also benefit other aspects of business operations. Performing well in safety helps to set in motion a cycle of success.
The bottom line is that we want our people to return home each day in the same or better condition than they started. That requires a supportive safety environment, and all of us paying attention to safety at all times – including when we’re doing something as seemingly routine as walking through the parking lot at the end of the day.
Senior Vice President, Quality, Safety and Performance Improvement
Westinghouse Electric Company