NARSTCO, North America’s leading maker and supplier of steel railroad ties and turnouts and a RailWorks company, has reached new safety milestones at its two Texas manufacturing facilities.
As of May 7, employees at the Cedar Hill location, where turnout sets are made, have worked three years without an OSHA-recordable lost-time incident. At the Midlothian site, which manufactures ties, employees have gone 18 months without such an incident.
About 95 employees work at the two plants. Most are welding, using punch presses, maneuvering heavy steel or involved in similar activities. At Cedar Hill, two shifts per day operate year-round Monday through Friday. And for about six months of the year, both plants ramp up to 24/7 to meet production deadlines.
NARSTCO Safety Manager Scott Amox notes supportive leadership as a key to safety. “You have to have buy-in from upper management,” he says. “If they’re not on board with it, you’re not ever going to get that buy-in from anybody else.” And plant supervisors have taken ownership. “They’ve taken it seriously, and no one looks at safety any other way than they do with other policies and procedures in the facility.”
Another significant factor in working injury-free is the ongoing level of employee involvement to create a strong safety observation program. “Employees are required to turn in safety observation forms weekly. And it’s not a way to penalize; it’s a way for employees to manage themselves. Employees look out for each other.”
As part of the program, employees have conversations and record responses around observations. “That’s had a huge impact.”
The observations are part of a running list of items addressed weekly in a meeting among supervisors and managers from both facilities. “We make sure nothing falls through the cracks,” Scott says, “and that all items are taken care of in a timely manner. It keeps us all accountable to each other. Everybody has a part to play. Everybody has a voice.”