Keep Life and Limb

Terry, General Service Manager for ERS in Camas, WA, told Session 4A of Turbo’s Leadership Development Lab:


“In 1989 I was a new hire at a paper mill in Camas, WA. This particular day we had a safety meeting in the auditorium. When I walked into the meeting, it was surprising to see so many people. There must have been 100 seats and they were all full. The meeting started by listing out all the safety incidents that had happened in the prior month. I was shocked at the amount of accidents that had happened. A person was cutting a roll of paper with a Stanley knife, the blade broke off in the paper and his forearm was severely lacerated by the broken blade. Another incident involved a very experienced supervisor who reached into a paper machine from the side to pull out a piece of rogue paper. His hand was caught and pulled into the machine, which mangled his hand and he lost some fingers. At this point in the meeting, I was not sure if I wanted to continue working at this place. The meeting continued, calling out more accidents and then the people in the accidents made statements about what happened. When the meeting was finished, it was obvious what needed to happen because all of the incidents involved a safety rule not being followed.

“The lesson I learned is the importance of following the safety rules – all of them. The action I call you to take when it comes to safety is to adhere to the rules – all of them. The benefit you will gain is you will keep life and limb.”

So why do these safety violations that cost life and limb continue to occur? Here are some possible reasons:


What I am sure of is to achieve continuous improvement in safety performance requires an all-in attitude. Peers must enforce the standards with each other because there are not enough managers to enforce the safety rules with everyone every day.

One of the four measures of a successful, engaging leader is their ability to create a team that disciplines each other on work practices, customer service, and productivity. To achieve an accident-free workplace, safe work practices must be a part of the fabric of the culture. This requires more than safety meetings, it requires buy-in from the top of the organization to the newest person on the front line and requires more than anything, middle managers who are skilled at creating true engagement.

Salem Leadership Development Lab Coming Soon

Contact or call 503-691-2867 for details