The Smiths Falls and Sudbury Divisions may have won a host of safety achievement awards this year based on their 1982 performance, but neither they, nor the other three Eastern Region divisions, are letting-up on their safety program.
First-line supervisors are now promptly investigating every injury, whether lost-time or not, and are required to correct any unsafe conditions brought to the attention of the Safety and Health Committees by employees.
The supervisors are required to attend at least two safety meetings a month, that of their own department plus that of one other department.
And employees on the Eastern Region extra gangs will continue to be supplied their first pair of Plano safety glasses free, but will now have to pay for any additional pairs at $6.50 a throw.
"You would walk onto a work site and say to an employee "Where are your glasses?". He would come up with all kinds of excuses like he lost them or forgot them at home," explained Paul O'Donoghue, assistant director of accident prevention.
"The employees didn't realize their (the glasses) value and the importance of wearing them on the job."
But changing employees' attitude on safety is an arduous task requiring constant enforcement of the railway's new Safety and Accident Prevention Code.
"It is important that you emphasize the rules," John Kelsall, vice-president, operation and maintenance, told packed safety meetings held at Smiths Falls and Sudbury 16 and 17 Mar 1983 respectively.
"They are not just theoretical, they are practical, written by practical people with the employee's safety in mind."
Mr. Kelsall explained that it is equally important to think of safety as part of the job and not an additional responsibility.
"You don't have your track work, your switching, your B&B work... and safety. It is all tied together," he said, crossing his fingers to make the point. "We are extremely serious about safety."
Mr. Kelsall, Jim Geddis, chief of transportation, and Glen Swanson, general manager operation and maintenance Eastern Region, all attended the safety meetings to present Smiths Falls and Sudbury Divisions' employees with a number of safety awards.
(Mr. Kelsall will be bringing the safety message to Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Calgary soon to present system safety awards to the Prairie Region, the Kootenay Division, and Ogden Shops.)
On behalf of Smiths Falls employees, Superintendent Paul Gilmore, and the five local union chairmen accepted the System Divisional Safety Trophy for the third year in a row, the Regional Safety Trophy for the best division on the region, and two S.A.F.E. awards, to the maintenance of way, and maintenance of equipment employees groups, for the lowest accident frequency ratios on the system.
Mr. Gilmore said he could not accept all the credit for the safety performance since he only took over from the retired Dick Burroughs last August, but he vowed to continue to give safety priority across the 10 subdivisions under his responsibility.
"If we have employees who don't want to work properly and do the work safely, we won't have them on the property," he told his supervisors during the two-hour safety meeting.
"We are not going to have people working unsafely. We will not tolerate it."
To help get this message across to employees, a safety bulletin is issued periodically to report on the actions of the local Safety and Health Committee. Every employee, who reports, in writing, a safety hazard, receives a reply explaining what measures have been taken and when.
This safety message has pervaded the homes and schools in the area as well.
The walls of the main-floor conference room are decorated with safety posters drawn by the children of division employees as part of a recent safety poster contest.
And Investigator Art Banks and Terminal Supervisor Gerry Villeneuve were presented with a hand-drawn card of thanks for an interesting tour and safety talk by the youngsters at the Happy Time Nursery School.
Sudbury Division Superintendent Ted Cavanaugh accepted the System Safety Achievement Award Trophy for registering the greatest unit reduction of the personal injury frequency ratio during the year.
COMPLAINTS ACTED ON
Mr. Cavanaugh told his supervisors, who came from across the divisions, "I really think that if you continue to work with the Safety and Health Committee, we will be able to improve our safety performance even further."
Sudbury achieved a unit reduction of 20.8 in its personal injury frequency ratio to beat out all eligible entities across the railway's 18 divisions and three main shops.
Mr. Cavanaugh explained later that since the latter part of 1981, the division's Safety and Health Committee has acted on practically all complaints.
"At that time we were talking about 35 to 40 hazards. Today, we had one, a bell that didn't ring when the front-end loader backed up. And it was fixed before the next shift came on," he said. "Being right on top of any complaints and potential hazards has helped a lot."
Mr. Cavanaugh said that the supervisors are also involved in activities which concern employees during their off-duty hours, like the popular hockey challenges between Sudbury and Schreiber Division employees.
"I think it is well known that an employee will come to work with a better attitude if he has had a nice evening the night before than one who has had an argument with his wife, for example."
Division employees have also gotten into the habit of "watching the board" in an effort to decipher a safety slogan where only the first letters of each word appear on the billboard outside.
In addition, a drawing is held for a family dinner at a local restaurant chosen by the lucky employee whose name is pulled during monthly draws. The drawing is held only when no 1409s (lost time injury reports) are received during the given month.
"I think the men really realize that we are serious about safety," said Mr. Cavanaugh, adding this constant contact with the employees includes officers riding the trains to talk to the crews.
The three senior railway officers who attended the safety meetings praised the two divisions for their "outstanding safety performance."
Mr. Swanson, who succeeded Mr. Kelsall as general manager a few months ago, added he has set his sights on making the Eastern Region the best across Canada.
His divisions are going to take the top five spots in the division safety race, he said, "and it won't be because one of them is fifth but because they all can't be first."