Skateboard Manufacturer Case Study

Safety Over Time… Not Overnight


Skateboard Manufacturer

SMART Safety Group received a call from a skateboard manufacturer in San Diego. The 100-person factory suffered a serious incident resulting in an employee amputating his finger in one of the machines used to manufacture their products.

A while back, the company had another severe accident when a worker fell off a pallet while he was being lifted up by a forklift in order to stock boxes on a pallet rack. This risky behavior resulted in a broken hip.

In addition to these costly claims, the company was battling three OSHA citations for various violations, totaling over $18,000.

At the time the company contacted SMART Safety Group, they thought they had all their bases covered since they had a long-standing relationship with a safety consultant. The consultant audited their facility on a monthly basis and sent the company reports, full of safety suggestions and pictures. However, the consultant did not participate in the implementation of any of the safety policies and did not perform periodic training.

SMART Solution:
During our facility audits we identified all potential hazards and began to implement corrective measures. We found several places where the company needed help, including, additional machine guarding on various machines, proper signage in hazardous areas of the plant that restricted employee access, and a lock-out tag-out program.

We also performed air sampling in their paint shop to determine Personal Exposure Limits (PEL). Our lab tests concluded that they were not exceeding PEL due to the excellent ventilation system they had installed in their new manufacturing facility. However, we changed their respirator policy, opting for a more suitable half-face respirator and we provided the necessary training for affected employees. In the first couple of months we also conducted the most necessary training – Forklift, First Aid, CPR and Ladder Safety.

We implemented our SMART Safety System, consisting of the following monthly service plan:

  • Auditing their warehouse and manufacturing facility;
  • Delivering an end-of-month report consisting of a summary and trend analysis of all audits, claims, disciplinary warnings and experience modification rate;
  • Executing a safety business meeting with upper-management to discuss the current month, necessary corrective actions and the rollout of new policy and training;
  • Leading an all-employee meeting for 90 factory employees, implementing new policy and training;
  • Conducting monthly training according to a 12-month strategic training calendar that we developed specifically for their workforce.

SMART Safety Group turned around the skateboard manufacturer’s safety program and helped create a safety culture. The Human Resources Director said,

“Our previous safety management company was barely scratching the surface. Now I have an organization that is giving me 100%. We are up to date on our training and we are heading off problems before they occur. I don’t know what I would do without SMART Safety Group.”
– Human Resources Director

Lessons Learned:
By developing a proactive safety culture, an organization can save time and money on claims and losses.  In any organization, safety needs to be elevated to be on an equal footing with production and quality.  Management can send this message to its workforce by having a consistent, measurable safety system and adopting, what we call, the four “E’s” of a Safety Culture. The four “E’s” of a safety culture are as follows:

  1. Establish safety as a core value;
  2. Empower everyone;
  3. Elevate safety advocates and eliminate opposition, and
  4. Exhibit a commitment to safety in all actions.