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Safety Management Insights

Q&A with Jeff Wagner, Safety and Regulatory Manager for Schreiber Foods

Posted by Don Brown on Jan 28, 2016 8:00:00 AM

food-safety-management.jpgToday we’re talking with Jeff Wagner, the Safety and Regulatory Manager at Schreiber Foods, about his ongoing use of BasicSafe’s integrated safety software. Wagner has been working for Schreiber for over five years, and he’s spent the last two years using BasicSafe for reporting, internal auditing, training and a wide variety of other critical tasks. Learn why he chose the program, how he uses it, and what improvements he’s been able to achieve.

What is the most difficult part of your job?

JW: It depends on the day. My top priority is always to reduce risk and eliminate incidents, and to do that we need to take our safety process beyond compliance. Probably the most difficult part of the job is to keep up with the changes—not just the regulatory changes, but also changes in leadership, personnel and training.

How much do you use BasicSafe, and which modules do you use?

JW: I use it every day! We use several of the modules, one of the most important being the Lockout/Tagout module. We’re also incorporating the program’s second-language capabilities to translate that module into Spanish right now. It’s not just limited to Spanish, either, and you can translate any second language and incorporate that on a site-by-site basis. BasicSafe has been very responsive and helpful in that regard.

We also use the incident module to submit our incident reports electronically to our third-party administrator. Our policies and procedures are online, as well, allowing our employees to access them from multiple sites. And then we use the audit module; that’s probably had the most impact in the least amount of time because of our extensive corporate auditing process.

Aside from those, we also use the training module every day. Each site uses it to track individuals—what training they need, what training they’ve received, when they received it, their due dates for upcoming training and who’s overdue. That’s something we used to track on a corporate level, and it’s much more efficient to do it at each site.

Tell me a little bit more about your role and what success looks like for you.

JW: The other Safety and Regulatory Managers and I make up a team, and to us success means zero incidents. That’s always our objective. As far as BasicSafe is concerned, implementing the program has been a success, as it allows us to remove some of the obstacles that kept us from reaching that zero incident goal. It helps us streamline our training process, update our lockout and tagout procedures and do everything else we need to save time and increase employees’ understanding and awareness of our safety initiatives.

Where do you look for industry news and information? Are there any websites you go to or any publications that you read?

JW: There isn’t any one source. I have a Web feed of a few different sites, and we network with the safety personnel at each plant. Of course, we also look at the OSHA website, as well as J.J. Keller and a few other safety specific sites. And then we look at BasicSafe’s newsletter. It talks a lot about how to use BasicSafe and BasicSafe enhancements, but they also do quite a few industry updates. Finally, the safety software has an RSS feed you can modify, and some of our technicians put that right on their home page.

Tell me what Schreiber Foods looked like before you started using BasicSafe. Were you using any safety software before you adopted the program?

JW: We stored our compliance programs in binders, and we’d have to physically flip through paper records after auditing each site to make sure they were compliant with our corporate programs. We would also have to be on-site to do the physical review of each of those written policies.

Now, our audit process is greatly improved because we have the capability of auditing the policy side and the written side from our office. That allows us to spend a lot more time on the floor when we do go to each site, and that’s where the improvements are really made and best practices shared. We can spend time with the leaders of each department and really help them understand their requirements.

How did you find out about BasicSafe? Did you do any research on the software before you made your decision?

JW: Word of mouth. We were considering a few solutions offered by other providers, and someone in our organization mentioned BasicSafe. I took a look, liked the program, and that’s how it got started.

As for research, I did a little bit. My main concern was making sure that it wasn’t a canned program that we would have to adapt our business to—and it wasn’t. It turned out to be highly adaptable to our needs, and to me that’s the greatest strength of BasicSafe and Basic Engineering. It has open source code, and the developers can tailor it to current processes and the improvements you’re trying to make.

I also saw that BasicSafe had a reasonably priced package that included customization, and that they help you maintain those customizations as you implement and use the program. The end result is a system that accommodates your current processes and personnel, and that doesn’t have a huge learning curve.

Did you have any concerns about BasicSafe before you started using it? Is there anything you were worried about?

JW: The only thing I would say I was worried about is that the program is like a blank slate at first—a bit scary but very useful. I say it’s a blank slate because you can build it and customize it to fit your organization. It takes some deliberate work, and it may not be as fast as buying a canned program, but the end product is going to be very meaningful to the organization.

Can you tell me about any successes you’ve experienced that resulted directly from BasicSafe modules?

JW: I can. We had an OSHA inspection, and a couple of our leaders who weren’t very familiar with the program were able to log in and get exactly what they needed to satisfy the auditors within minutes. They were very impressed.

I use that example because the larger the organization, the more cumbersome it becomes to manage data. Schreiber has an excellent safety record, but even we struggle to keep track of all of our near-miss incidents. It’s extremely helpful for anyone to be able to pull up that data.

Overall, what would you say are the top three benefits of using BasicSafe?

JW: First, we can use it as a compliance assurance tool. It helps us track mandatory measures, and it gives us a common home for the information necessary to stay OSHA compliant. Second, it addresses potentially high-risk issues. Third—and most importantly—it really helps to address unsafe behaviors, particularly through the training module.

Would you recommend this product to others in your industry?

JW: I would, and I have. One of the biggest frustrations in the safety field is trying to convey information to your trainees that fits within your organization’s processes and requirements. A lot of other safety software is built generically, and those developers are trying to meet the needs of as many people or industries as they can. I recommend BasicSafe because you can really build it to fit your specific industry and organization, using your terminology.

Every organization can benefit from more up-to-date, organized safety policies and procedures. To learn how BasicSafe can help you achieve a safer workforce, contact us today.

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