Earlier this year, CCI Thermal Technologies Inc. celebrated five-and-a-half years of operating without a lost-time injury. And every six months for the past five years, the company observed these safety milestones, marked by a luncheon and a gift for every employee, to whom the company’s safety achievements are attributed.
“The philosophy that everyone on the floor has is to make sure that everyone goes home safely at the end of the day,” notes Carl Williams, vice-president and general manager at CCI Thermal Technologies, a Canada’s Safest Employers awardee.
CCI Thermal’s 50,000-sq.-ft. Orillia, Ont., plant manufactures electrical heating equipment for a broad range of industrial customers. With over 130 employees, the site’s corporate culture is based on an open line of communication that starts from the very top.
Every year, no less than the president of the company conducts “roundtable” meetings with the employees to discuss their concerns, ideas and suggestions.
“This is an opportunity for employees, at every level, to get an opportunity to sit down with the president … to reach out to our highest level and senior management level to get confirmation or feedback from every level of our organization,” explains Williams.
This annual meeting with the president is just one of several opportunities the company provides to open communication lines between management and employees. Every month, the joint health and safety committee randomly selects an employee and invites him or her to participate in its regular safety meeting. This initiative gives employees a chance to witness the discussions, find out how the committee deals with issues, and voice any concerns they may have.
The Orillia plant runs on three shifts daily, and in each shift there’s a safety committee member. This was purposely done so every employee, regardless of what shift they’re working, is able to communicate their concerns to the committee.
“Every employee has been given free reign to voice any concern, and they know that the issues will be dealt with immediately,” says Tony Burt, the company’s manager of production planning.
Safety is always the first order of the day, particularly in the daily production meeting every morning, Burt says. The company has established a “three-level priority” that governs the plant’s day-to-day operations, with safety at the very top, followed by quality, and the third level of priority is operational issues.
“These meetings give us a pretty good impression and helps us give a consistent message to our staff about the importance of our safety program,” says Williams.
Each employee working at CCI Thermal has undergone an average of nine hours of safety training this past year. They were trained on various safety issues, including WHMIS, heat stress, machine guarding, forklift training and rack safety. There’s a certified trainer on site that conducts fork lift training on all operators. The operators are regularly tested to ensure continued safe operation of the equipment.
The production manager is trained on storage racking safety — a safety issue that’s common in many manufacturing and warehouse plants. CCI Thermal conducts monthly safety inspections of its racking system to ensure that all loads are being stored correctly and safely.
Burt says the company is looking forward to this fall, when CCI Thermal Technologies will again be celebrating another safety milestone — this time it’s six full years without a lost-time injury.