When K-Line Trailers Ltd. receives a Topaz award for completing the OSSE Certification at the Safety Pinnacle Awards Gala in April 2018, it will also mark five years of the team working with the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC.
K-Line has been designing and manufacturing custom transport equipment in its Langley facility for 24 years. The company has been successful and its workforce has grown to 170 workers. However, as the business expanded, both injuries and WorkSafeBC orders started to increase. Time-loss days per year as a result were usually in the hundreds. In 2013, the company took its first steps to creating a safer workplace by commissioning a safety GAP analysis.
FIVE YEARS OF REGULAR IMPROVEMENTS
Fast forward five years and K-Line passed their first Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence (OSSE) audit. Richard Cramond, K-Line’s OHS Coordinator says, “The audit was a lot of work for a lot of people, and just about everybody at all levels of the organization worked on this project. By working together, we’ve not only achieved OSSE, we’ve achieved measurable improvements
in safety. Since we started to focus on safety as part of the production process, accidents and injuries have gone way down. In 2017, our time-loss injuries were less than 10% of what they were five years ago. ”
The GAP analysis also connected the Alliance to K-Line. Richard says, “The Alliance advisors met with us monthly to discuss our OSSE progress, answer questions and provide practical advice. Their advisors were terrific. They understood our business and worked with us to create implementable solutions.”
SAFETY BECOMES A CORE VALUE
K-Line consciously chose an incremental approach to improving safety to ensure worker buy-in for the changes. “We focused on gradually improving our safety systems in all departments across the whole company. The joint internal health and safety committee was tremendously valuable during this process. The committee includes representation from management, supervisors and workers — everyone has input. Committee recommendations are almost always implemented by management,” says Richard.
The focus on safety led to shop floor improvements that resulted in faster, safer material movement from one part of the floor to another. With the Safety Committee, K-Line also reconsidered its PPE policy which now gives workers the freedom to choose which PPE options work best for them. Safety isn’t simply about including updates in all weekly department meetings, it is now a core value for the company.
“The recognition of getting the Alliance’s Topaz Award is nice,” said Richard. “The award belongs to all the K-Line workers who have helped create the successful safety program we have.”