Category Archives: Safety

Creating a Safe Work Environment

What does a true commitment to safety look like? At DeKALB Molded Plastics, safety is our number one priority, and we are dedicated to creating a safe work environment. From our employees to our guests, we want to guarantee that everyone who steps foot into our facility will leave in the same condition they came in. Our safety policy highlights much of this promise, but truly being dedicated to safety means remaining flexible, making adjustments to our policy as things change.

DeKALB’s Response to COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many workplaces to alter their safety policies, DeKALB has made it our goal to quickly adapt, utilizing the latest CDC guidelines and recommendations, ensuring that we continue to keep our facility as safe as possible. Safety is the responsibility of everyone, and during this unprecedented time, it takes an increased focus to continue to maintain a safe work environment.

Some of the ways DeKALB is staying safe during COVID-19 include:

  • Additional cleaning of common areas, tools and workspace.
  • Face coverings worn at all times when working with other employees. Additionally, new employees are required to wear a mask at all times for their first 14 days.
  • All non-critical business meetings have been canceled or moved to a teleconference. The in-person meetings that do occur will limit the people involved, maintaining safe social distancing practices.
  • Hand sanitizer stations placed in various areas for use between washing hands, at start/end of the shift, and before/after breaks.
  • Limited the visitors in the building and those that do visit must complete and pass a health screening before being allowed to enter.
  • Maintaining social distancing of at least six feet. Throughout our facility, there are visual indicators to highlight proper distance for clocking in and in meetings.

Regardless of the number of safety guidelines and practices that are in place to maintain safety, we believe in constantly working together to promote safe practices throughout the workday.

Continuous Improvement - The DeKALB Way

One differentiating safety measure that DeKALB takes is through our card system. There are two types of cards in our system, green cards and blue cards. Both of these represent coaching, training, or acknowledgment opportunities. The blue cards are given out from peer-to-peer, and typically this is used to thank a team member for doing the right thing, helping a co-worker who may be struggling, or to provide training for a process. The peer review helps us to call out any potential unsafe practices or highlight a job well done. The green cards come from a member of our leadership team and are given to employees to recognize them for their contributions or to explain the importance of a particular job and how the process could be improved.

Nearly everyone has experienced the feeling of their stomach dropping and heart rate steadily rising as their manager is coming straight towards them. This scene typically means that you are in trouble, or you did something incorrectly. At DeKALB, we wanted to create a team-friendly, positive work environment that provides unique opportunities for anyone to take the time to appreciate the dedication and abilities an employee brings to our organization. These cards are effective because they can be a great motivating factor, and they not only help to improve our culture, but they offer the chance for us to coach our employees.

This system helps us continue to deliver the results that our customers expect and supports our on-going commitment to continuous improvement. The cards create an accountability system for all of our employees to do the right thing, keeping everyone safe, and knowledge-sharing opportunities, which help to cultivate a fun energy in the workplace. The goal of these cards is to have four positive interactions for every one negative. DeKALB employees did a great job and finished 2019 with a 3.5-to-1 ratio.

A Full Toolbox of Safety

DeKALB also holds weekly meetings that we call our ‘Safety Toolbox Talk’. These meetings provide the opportunity for supervisors to go over a different topic and refresh everyone on how to stay safe.

Topics that we discuss at these meetings include:

  • Driving a forklift safely
  • How to use a cut glove
  • Proper lifting technique
  • When to use a heat glove

These meetings are typically short and are meant to go over the basics, but have been effective with our staff, as they serve as friendly reminders for safety. The other benefit of these meetings is the opportunity to quickly address any updates or adjustments to safety policies, or how we can improve, pointing to examples that may have been brought up through our card system.

Why Safety is at the Forefront

With our safety policies in place, our card system and our flexibility to adjust to a pandemic, there is a clear expectation at DeKALB - we care about the safety of each of our employees. We want to always make it understood that safety is not an individual responsibility, but it is the duty of every employee at DeKALB Molded Plastics. Our policy reminds our team to observe all safety rules, follow safe work practices, and immediately report injuries or unsafe conditions. When we all join in together, a safer environment is created, which results in a happier and more productive staff. A dedication to safety really is a win-win for everyone.

DeKALB Molded Plastics Committed to Safety

At DeKALB Molded Plastics, we strive to ensure that everyone who enters our facility is entering a safe work environment. As a team planning our 2020 goals, we decided we’re not willing to give up on anyone’s safety. It doesn’t matter if you’re an employee, a customer, a vendor, or a truck driver, our goal remains the same – ZERO! At DeKALB, safety is everyone’s responsibility. We are conscientious not only about our safety but the safety of others around us.

The benefits of maintaining a safe work environment are many, but first and foremost, safety is about the dedication and execution of protecting those within your building. We at DeKALB, want to send our teammates home in the same condition they arrived in.

DeKALB’s strategic focus on a safe work environment boosts employee morale, which in turn, increases productivity, efficiency and profit margins. When our teammates feel like they have a good, safe work environment, they feel like they can make a difference. There are fewer staff absences, less staff turnover and improves the quality of work.

Regardless of the number of safety guidelines and practices that are in place, we believe they won’t do any good if our teammates are not aware and invested in following those guidelines. We at DeKALB embrace the fact that the safest work environment occurs when employees, at all levels of the organization, work together to communicate and adhere to the safety standards defined. Our safety program has been successful because it encourages employees to report unsafe situations and behaviors, promoting safe practices throughout the workday.

Equipment maintenance is important at DeKALB. When equipment is not properly maintained, the work environment can become a hazard, even beyond the risk of malfunctions. Our teammates have been trained and are prepared to know what to look for when a machine is not operating correctly. Our staff is on the lookout for warning signs like vibrations, alarms, leaks and unusual noises. When our equipment is being maintained, we make sure safeguards are in place. Additionally, our staff is cautiously responsible for moving materials in multiple conditions: raw, in-process and finished goods. Inappropriate handling of material can be dangerous, resulting in overexertion and exhaustion, running the risk of equipment failure. Our team values how important it is to physically lift objects the right way, which reduces the risk for strains and sprains or even broken bones.

At DeKALB Molded Plastics, we take safety seriously. When an employee grows complacent with safety, it can become a huge liability to the team member’s wellbeing and the company. We believe that most workplace accidents can be prevented simply by being alert. Heavy machinery and forklifts can especially be dangerous, and that’s why we require our team to be constantly vigilant and consistently aware of their surroundings.

At the end of the day, we deliver high-quality structural foam components that are used in many of today’s medical and material handling end products. Our high standards for quality are paralleled by our high standards for safety within our building and for our team members.