Safety programs go beyond dollars and cents

by Dan Malovany
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Gonnella Baking Co.
If an incident occurs at Gonnella Baking, assistant managers meet with all employees on their next shift to discuss what happened and find ways to keep it from occurring again.

Like a stoplight at a busy intersection, employees can’t miss it as they enter one of Gonnella Baking’s three facilities. The light shines bright red if the operation had a lost-time injury, yellow if someone required first aid, and green if everyone made it home safe and sound.

“When you walk into the door to one of our bakeries, you know if anything has happened during the past 24 hours,” explained Liz Marcucci, corporate safety director for the Schaumburg, Ill.-based company.

If there is an incident, assistant managers then meet with all employees on their next shift to discuss what happened and find ways to keep it from occurring again.

“Employees need to know how many loaves it costs for one injury, and we let them know,” she noted. “They then can understand how many hours they have to work to take care of one injury.”

That dollars-and-cents approach is pretty straightforward. The insurance company calculates how much money comes out of the company’s reserve. Gonnella then translates that figure into terms people understand.

“When you have to tell everyone that they have to work three weeks to pay for one person’s injury that required two visits to the doctor, it hits home harder,” she said.

The heart of a safety program, however, goes beyond dollars and cents.

“Our employees are like family members,” Ms. Marcucci said. “Our job is to make sure they come in and leave safely every day. If we save money doing that, it’s a bonus.”

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