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Prior to January 2002, when they evaluated the performance of their over 1000
employees including managers, supervisors and team leaders, the members of the Chaparral Steel's
senior management team (SMT) thought that they excelled in discussing the recommended training,
skills and knowledge needed to produce the product with their employees. For example, the SMT
reiterated the maintenance procedures required for the equipment, the specifications required for
quality, and the skills required in employee performance. But when they reviewed the safety and
health information they offered to their managers, supervisors, and team leaders, the members of the
SMT realized that they communicated only general information. For instance, the SMT stressed that
the employees needed to stay safe and healthy, they showed a safety video each month, and when an
injury occurred, they sought immediate medical attention for the employee. Senior managers agreed
that employee safety and health was never to be compromised; many members of the SMT team stated "in
our work area, safety is number one" and specific written safety and health procedures were a part
of the company's safety program.
THE SOLUTION - THE MASH TRAINING ROOM
In December 2001, the members of the SMT decided that they needed to make some changes in the
company's safety culture as it pertained to safety and health. The decision was based on several
factors including the number of reported injuries and illnesses experienced within the company and a
change in upper management (a newly appointed plant manager). For many years prior to the upper
management change, the company focused on reducing the lost time because of the injuries it
experienced and had formatted its safety and health program around incidents. After the management
change, managers and employees at all levels of Chaparral came to realize that employee safety is
equal in importance to production and quality. Therefore, providing high quality safety and health
training to management and employees was vital to this process.
The goal of this redesigned process was to improve safety and health in the workplace that could
also lead to profits in the bottom line. Training was a key component of the paradigm shift.
Chaparral sent its safety manager and safety coordinators to an OSHA 501 Train-the-Trainer for
General Industry Outreach Program. In addition, Chaparral began using the OSHA Field Inspection
Reference Manualas a starting point for defining some key terms (such as employer and general duty
clause). The SMT made certain that the MASH training program was designed to be flexible enough to
accommodate the constantly changing production priorities at Chaparral Steel.
The cost of the tools issued to each attendee during the MASH training is less than $37; Chaparral
considers this a modest investment that provides tremendous benefits. As a result of the training,
Chaparral now has over 525 of its managers, supervisors and team leaders and hourly employees on all
shifts-that have taken the training program-inspecting guards, electrical outlets and chemical
labels and performing daily general safety and health audits. Chaparral's MASH instructors and
safety professionals refer to this activity as "having added safety eyes in promoting awareness."
During Day 2, the Plant Manager, who is also the Vice President of Operations, discusses management policies, responsibilities and safety and health culture changes at Chaparral Steel. Management accountability is the key component of the MASH program. Topics discussed on Day 2 are:
The SMT at Chaparral knows that MASH is not a groundbreaking program. Large and small companies have been designing their own company-specific training programs for years. According to Chaparral's senior managers, what makes this training successful is that now they ensure and advocate that all company employees have the training, knowledge and tools they need to successfully perform their managerial and production tasks and incorporate safety and health into the company's culture.
In calendar year (CY) 2000, Chaparral had over 170 OSHA recordables with a
frequency of almost 15 in the hourly injury illness rate. In CY 2004, it had under 75 OSHA
recordables with a frequency under 7-an improvement of about 50 percent. Chaparral Steel is
currently on pace for an added 25 percent reduction in recordables in CY 2005.
The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the official position or policy of the U.S. Department of Labor.