Culture Principles in Action: Safety at Commercial and Industrial
At the Commercial and Industrial (C&I) division of CoolSys, the number one objective for 2023 is to build a strong Safety culture. With the first quarter of 2023 in the books, they are off to a good start.
In the most recent month of April, C&I experienced just four recordable accidents, down from nine in the month of March. That may seem like a significant drop-and it is-but it’s really just a start from the C&I perspective.
“We will never be satisfied until we get down to zero recordable accidents in any given month,” said Corrie Prunuske, President, C&I. “But we are happy with our progress.”
Corrie pointed to a recent example of the kind of action that makes recordable accident numbers drop.
The CoolSys Lockout/Tagout Policy requires all technicians to disconnect and isolate all energized equipment prior to performing maintenance or servicing on equipment. Technician Todd Bollinger was working at a customer site when the customer began pressuring him to violate the Lockout/Tagout Policy and to work on the equipment, exposing him to live electrical energy. Rather than putting himself at risk, Todd followed the Stop Work Authority process, and explained to the customer that he could not work on energized equipment. As a result, the customer had his own employee to service the equipment.
Todd’s supervisor, Service Manager Kyle Taff, along with Regional Director Jason Edwards visited the customer to discuss what happened. Jason and Kyle, along with Todd, worked with the customer, setting expectations for us to work safely at their stores. They successfully communicated the urgency and seriousness of the safety issue to the customer, and after learning more about the policy, the customer apologized for his behavior and pledged to not jeopardize anyone’s safety again.
While the issue was resolved-safely-the resolution did not come easily. Todd felt uncomfortable stopping work, but he knew he was doing the right thing.
“Despite all the pressure from the customer and expectations from us as a company to get a first time fix, Todd did the right thing,” Jason said. “Our techs are in this position every day of their careers and they don’t want to let the customer or the company down.”
“I want all of our technicians to believe in their gut feelings that tell them what they are doing is unsafe,” added Zach Bates, Director, Environmental Health and Safety. “Those who act on these beliefs will be rewarded by going home safely at the end of the day.”
At CoolSys, our technicians receive regular training, and whatever the content of the training course, safety remains a priority. With safety always in mind, Corrie summed up the situation simply.
“It’s hard to say no when a customer pressures us to just get something done,” she said. “But nothing is more important than safety, for our employees and customers. This is exactly what a strong safety culture looks like!”