“Safety is always a critical priority for everyone at DIS-TRAN,” says Tom Malo, DIS-TRAN’s Quality Assurance, and Safety Manager. “It’s ingrained in our quality control efforts, our work practices, and our company culture. Safe work is high-quality work” In fact, thanks to our dedication to workplace safety, no DIS-TRAN employee has suffered a reportable accident since February 2013 –meaning not one of our people has gotten hurt, missed work, or had to go to the clinic – in 4.5 years and over 600,000-man hours. We’re very pleased with that achievement – and so is the National Safety Council, which has recognized DIS-TRAN with its Perfect Record Award.
But that kind of award-winning safety record doesn’t happen by accident! It takes daily and ongoing effort to maintain and enforce safe work practices and environments:
Daily: “We have a short meeting to discuss safety practices relevant to that day’s workload,”explains Tom. “If we have a lot of material loading and unloading, for example,we might talk about the best practices for using the fork truck. Or if it's going to be 100⁰F today, we need to make sure everyone is taking the appropriate breaks, drinking fluids, and reviewing indicators of heat exhaustion.”
Weekly: Twice a week DIS-TRAN also holds more in-depth safety meetings that cover subjects that directly affect personnel on the floor, like welding safety, fork lift safety,etc.
Monthly: We conduct comprehensive safety audits, both internally ourselves and through an external vendor to provide impartial third-party feedback.
“Safety is an all-hands-on-board effort,” says Tom. “People on shop floor all participate in the safety audits we do each month, to get their input and feedback, as well as getting them to recognize or identify hazards. The whole team is fully involved.”
To that end, about half our shop staff is already OSHA-10 certified, trained by experts authorized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to become “more knowledgeable about workplace hazards.”Every team member is expected to be certified by the end of the year. Tom himself is OSHA-30 certified.
Our success with safety practices communicates to our customers that we do not cut corners but instead work hard to make sure our work is done right. This also has the positive effect of reassuring customers about any potential liability concerns. For example, as we work on more and more factory-built substations, liability issues can come into play as we assemble these substations for customers. We’ve even had customers come to the facility themselves to ensure DIS-TRAN is meeting safety regulations.
“As our customers look at our safety record and see that we have no accidents,” says Tom, “it tells them that we have a well-organized safety program that looks beyond just complying with regulations to doing everything we can to ensure our people don't get hurt.”