Shapiro Metals Shares Story Behind Its Safety Stand-Down Day

This week’s Industry Voices provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Shapiro Metals’ Safety Stand-Down Day was developed and implemented. Ashley Tracy, Fred Stell-Smith, and Diane Orange authored this piece. 

The Shapiro Metals Safety Stand-Down Day (SSDD) began in 2018 when Shapiro Metals held a Mini-Kaizen on Behavioral Safety Training using OKR (objectives and key results) during our annual Managers Meeting.

The Kaizen team was assembled with Operations, Safety, and Corporate Managers. They were tasked
with developing a Safety Stand-Down Day plan and determining what training, procedures, and tools would
be needed, as well as internal considerations and challenges that we could be faced with. The team
quickly identified three key results; increase buy-in for safety behavior at work, increased buy-in for
safety behavior at home, and the workshop activities had to be fun.

Not only did our managers want to promote safety behaviors at work, but it was imperative to extend this to their homes and families. We also knew the activities had to be fun to garner the desired impact. The team brainstormed ideas such as CPR and first aid, fire extinguisher training, and ergonomics training. We knew we needed to reach all our employees who work across wildly diverse environments spanning from our warehouses and offices, to our truck drivers and sales vehicles.

The task of now bringing this initiative to life was assigned to Shapiro Metals’ Execution Team (E-Team), which consisted of Ashley Tracy, Fred Stell-Smith, and Diane Orange. The planning stages of the SSDD began by using the OKR key results and initiatives. The team brainstormed the suggested topics and discussed how we could best deliver the information to the employees using subject matter experts, hands-on activities, and breaking up the day into 30-minute classes. The team felt confident that if our SSDD was executed like other training initiatives that included PowerPoint slides, we would not get the engagement and results we were looking for.

The E-Team planned for one full-day event at each of Shapiro Metals’ 11 locations throughout 2019. All 145 employees would participate in a stand-down of their day-to-day work. This meant no receiving or shipments, as the focus would turn to the employees, their safety, and how they interact with it. The activities included: CPR, AED, and First Aid Training offering certification at no cost to the employee; Driver Dare using impaired goggles to perform activities including driving a golf cart; Active Shooter Training with local law enforcement; hands-on Fire Extinguisher Training with local fire departments; and I-Spy Safety Issues using the children’s book as inspiration and staging safety issues throughout our warehouses for employees to identify and discuss. Several law enforcement and fire officials across multiple states also had to be coordinated.

Most of our employee base had never experienced a business conference, so we wanted to show them what that experience was like. We offered a continental breakfast and a catered lunch. We also made sure they had goodie bags with Shapiro SSDD Swag for them to take home. These items and the supplies needed for our activities all had to be packaged and shipped accordingly for upcoming events.

The three-member E-Team attended the SSDD at the 11 locations together, sharing responsibilities throughout the events. At the end of each SSDD, the employees were encouraged to complete a survey on the day to provide feedback on what they liked, didn’t like, and where our future stand-down days could improve. At the end of each event, the E-Team held a separate debrief called the “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly” to discuss the employees’ feedback and our own. We used this to guide our adjustments for our next event.

Some of the employees’ feedback included “being able to focus on safety without the pace of a production schedule” and “touching subjects that can help save a life.” One comment that spoke directly to our goals said, “The simple fact that the company cares enough about safety to conduct this day.”

Since Shapiro Metals’ first SSDD in 2019, we have reduced our number of accidents by 78%, and the number of labor-involved accidents to 0 in 2021. Shapiro Metals is actively implementing its Driver Behavioral Safety Program as well. Shapiro Metals is currently on day 535 without an OSHA recordable accident.

Shapiro Metals will continue to invest in our greatest asset, our employees, and we are committed to their safety at work and home.