AMS has enjoyed an excellent record of safety within their sprawling warehouses, handled by a Safety Committee for each building. Members of the committee are tasked with walking the warehouse floor to monitor concerns, and meeting monthly to discuss and recommend improvements. For two years AMS has utilized the Safety Committee method of monitoring, which includes an audit walk-through of each facility every week.
While the Safety Committee has served AMS well, several months ago the decision was made to train every employee on the standard of cleanliness and safety awareness that all employees should have when working in the warehouse. The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards are being used as a foundation for this training.
The first five-week, five-person class began in the fourth quarter of 2016, and the 4th class of five has just recently graduated. Steve Perez, Manager of Security/Safety, had this to say about AMS’ first intensive course to train all employees in safety. He explained how the program began and how it is progressing:
“We value every employee’s safety and security as we value our own. Even though AMS’ record is very good, management decided to make it even better by extending the training to every employee, including those who may not regularly work in one of our warehouses. More than 30 people have gone through the program since we began, and they have gained extensive knowledge on how to identify and report concerns and hazards. We plan to achieve full safety training for all warehouse employees.”
With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to assure safe and healthful working conditions for private and public sector employees. OSHA sets and enforces safety standards and also provides training, outreach, education and assistance. OSHA is part of the United States Department of Labor.
For the new, companywide safety training, AMS has based it’s program on OSHA’s comprehensive guidelines. For this course, AMS selects five employees at a time, and trains these employees in five of AMS’ warehouse locations. The goal of the AMS program is for every employee to graduate. The training takes place on the warehouse floor, utilizing audit and compliance directives. The classes are concluded with testing taking place in the new Advance My Skills Learning Center.
The weekly audits are led by CEO Ken Wiseman, who through sharing a series of real life examples and discoveries during audits, tries to convey not only a safety inspection, but an opportunity to convey the culture of AMS where employees are empowered to ‘see a problem and speak up’.
Ken said, “We discovered that many employees, particularly new employees, have been in work environments where their concerns were not valued, and they felt their jobs were in jeopardy for reporting issues. For this reason, I lead the audits, as I want our team to hear first-hand that we don’t tolerate safety issues, lunchrooms, bathrooms, or facilities in general that are not well kept, and work areas that are inefficient or not ergonomically designed. Ever since we started these weekly audits, our employees are speaking up. It’s the most fun I have each week in working with the audit teams.”
Safety and security issues at AMS are similar to any you would find in a large warehouse. With the equivalent of 30 football fields of consumer products, there is a lot of space to keep safe and efficient. There is equipment to become aware of; there are conveyor belt systems, pallets and forklifts, sharp edges, various carts in movement, and numerous places where carelessness or inattention could lead to a serious safety concern.
The intention of the OSHA-based training is the improvement and advancement of knowledge, and the empowerment of AMS employees. We consider pro-active prevention of any accidents or injuries on the job to be our responsibility.
Congratulations to all Graduates of the AMS Safety Training!