In a past issue, I wrote about the importance of management being directly involved in “waking up the employees” to start the week off in the correct direction. My management style carries a mindset like that of a surgeon. I like to evaluate a problem when it occurs and dig into reasons it may have happened and come up with solutions so that it will not happen again. If we act like a mother and father and simply put a band-aid on an incident, sure the bleeding stops temporarily, but the problem will occur again until we get to the root of the problem. I have many tips and tricks I use to prevent Monday from being a “go through the motions” type of day.
Management Under Fire
Never do I agree with a manager constantly putting out fires. We all know this business creates circumstances that even the veteran manager may have never seen, but that cannot be used as an excuse. It is very important that my managers act like surgeons to correct the issues at hand, and then follow up to create a way to keep the occurrence from happening again. In the beginning of my takeover as a manager, I was faced with a lot of “well that’s the way we have always done it” answers to questions when I constantly asked “why”? If you can look at something in your operation that has the “always done it that way” answer, odds are there is potentially a growing opportunity for failure. Safety is everyone’s job; the waste industry is a moving target.
Failure will swallow those that do not adapt and adjust to the changing business culture over time. My challenge to you is to prevent injuries, incidents, and accidents from occurring by asking questions and coming up with safer more profitable ways to do things before something bad occurs. If a manager implements safe practices in the workplace, he does not have to manage under fire, and profits are soon to follow.
After reviewing our safety record year after year, I started to notice many trends. Seventy percent of our incidents, near misses, accidents or injuries occurred on a Monday. Using this fact, I set out to correct these numbers. What I started to develop were a set of policies and procedures I require my managers to follow. One of these is face-to-face contact with each employee. Go up to them, ask them about their weekend, shake their hand, look them in the eyes, notice and note their posture and demeanor. Ask yourself a series of questions. Do I smell alcohol? Do I sense malnutrition? Is my employee wearing all PPE? Is his/her attitude in the correct status to work safe through the day? How is their posture? These simple questions can save lives. Be prepared to send those not ready to work home, do not turn a blind eye to anything your gut tells you does not seem correct. Having an extensive employee handbook that defines what is expected of your employees is key to enforcing these questions. Everyone should be on the same page upon being hired to promote an environment that does not tolerate subpar work.
Change is Not By Accident
By implementing a hands-on management style, we saw our Monday incident record decline year after year not only on Mondays but also on other days as well. There is no magic potion to prevent accidents from occurring. Addressing accidents or near misses immediately seems to be a solid plan. Addressing an issue days later serves no purpose to correcting a problem. Take action once all facts are gathered and create a plan to prevention. Remember to always keep an open mind. Like I have said before, we all learn from each other. Right, wrong, or indifferent, looking at an issue from numerous vantage points always seems to reveal a solution to any problem we may be facing. | WA
John Paglia, III is a 4th generation garbage man. Before he climbed the ranks to become Florida Express Environmental’s (Ocala, FL) General Manager, he had a successful career in college and professional athletics. John has been around the garbage industry since his car seat days. Currently, John is focused on growing his company and offering the highest level of customer service and prolonging the world we live in today. John wakes up every day knowing the impact professional haulers have on their community is far greater than most realize. He can be reached at (352) 629-4349, e-mail John3@floridaexpress. us or visit www.floridaexpress.us.