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Season 1 Episode 2 - Developing a Comprehensive Workplace Safety Plan in 2021

Posted by Rachel Miller


Episode Show Notes

In this episode, Gregg discusses workplace safety with Eliot Dratch, CMTC’s Senior Quality Consultant. What was once perceived as a mundane, fairly innocuous topic is now perhaps one of the most critical aspects of your business this year. Join us as we dive into much more than just keeping employees safe from the virus. Learn how to create a safety culture, a culture where examining improving safety measures continually becomes commonplace and helps to mitigate safety-related risks. 

Eliot Dratch is a CMTC Senior Consultant specializing in quality, lean, and safety improvements for industrial companies. He applies 25 years of industrial, aerospace, and automotive manufacturing experience to add value to an organization’s P&L. Eliot earned a BA from CSUF, an MBA from the University of Redlands, and an MS from Chapman University. Over the last decade, Eliot has trained hundreds of employees from local companies for the American Society of Quality (ASQ) and is a co-author of their currently used ASQ Certified Quality Manager Handbook. He is also an OSHA-certified safety trainer.


00:00:00 – Introductions

00:01:56 - Expectations and preparation for reviewing and auditing workplace safety plans in 2021

00:05:36 - Safety and safety plans not related to COVID-19

00:09:35 - Top five best practices

00:12:15 - Common objections and ways to combat them

00:17:19 - Recent OSHA regulations

00:26:00 - The most important things manufacturers need to focus on

00:28:55 - Examples of manufacturing companies that go above and beyond to ensure a safe workplace

00:32:00 - Possible revision to quarantine period


Gregg Profozich [00:00:02] In the world of manufacturing, change is the only constant. How are small- and medium-sized manufacturers, SMMs, to keep up with new technologies, regulations, and other important shifts, let alone leverage them to become leaders in their industries? Shifting Gears, a podcast from CMTC, highlights leaders in the modern world of manufacturing, from SMMs, to consultants, to industry experts. Each quarter we go deep into topics pertinent to both operating a manufacturing firm and the industry as a whole. Join us to hear about manufacturing sectors' latest trends, groundbreaking technologies, and expert insights to help SMMs in California set themselves apart in this exciting modern world of innovation and change. I'm Gregg Profozich, Director of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies at CMTC. I'd like to welcome you. In this episode, our topic is workplace safety. And I speak with Eliot Dratch, the Senior Quality Consultant here at CMTC. What was once perceived as a mundane, fairly innocuous topic is now perhaps one of the most critical aspects of your business this year. Join us as we dive into much more than just keeping employees safe from the virus. Learn how to create a safety culture, a culture where examining improving safety measures continually becomes commonplace and helps to mitigate safety-related risks. Hello, I'm Gregg Profozich. I'll let Eliot introduce himself, and then we'll get into some of the content.

Eliot Dratch [00:01:24] Thanks, Gregg. My name is Eliot Dratch. I've been with CMTC for going on five years. Previous to that I worked for several different fairly large industrial manufacturing companies. Worked in aerospace and in automotive, and worked for one company for about 15 years as an internal consultant going to their different factories. They had about 30 different plants. Spent a lot of time going through different industrial operations, then trying to make improvements, either safety, quality, or productivity.

Gregg Profozich [00:01:56] So, Eliot, thank you for joining us today. I really appreciate your time, and interested to hear what you have to say about this. As we're all well aware of, 2020 has been a year of significant change. There have been disruptions in supply chains, disruptions in society in general, disruptions in workflow, the need to separate employees for safety purposes in the break rooms and at the time clock. Lots of preparation for adaptation that needed to take place in order to keep business and manufacturers open. In short, a lot of changes going on in the industry. Want to talk a little bit today about safety procedures and safety plans. So, Eliot, my first question for you is: let's talk a little bit about the importance of reviewing and auditing workplace safety plans going into 2021. What can we expect, and how should I, if I'm a manufacturer, really adapt to that and start thinking about what I need to do to prepare myself to maintain continuity through the coming year?

Eliot Dratch [00:02:50] Well, obviously, we're working in a highly restrictive work environment compared to years past. You're entirely right. We're working with PPE. We have new workflows and work patterns that are built into the production areas. Companies have put engineering controls in place. They put up barriers between workstations. These physical barriers have created real problems with production flow. Just having to wear PPE has been disruptive. It's created a lot of problems. And there's just so many distractions in the workplace. As we emerge from these restrictions, we need to be alert, and aware, and vigilant about the next wave of infectious disease, whether that be COVID 2.0, or H1N1, norovirus. We don't know what the next significant infectious disease outbreak is going to be, but we do need to be prepared. I think that's what we've all learned from this experience. So, there's obviously things that we should be doing about putting plans in place, and having a workplace safety plan is probably the most important thing that employers can do. Having a written plan, having a documented plan that goes through the major aspects of what a safety program looks like in a plant. And let's talk a little bit about COVID safety, since that is the big issue. Every employer, since April, was supposed to have a COVID safety program in place, a written, a well-documented program that looks at various aspects of their business. It should dig into and identify risk areas in the plant, whether those risk areas be in the company break room, or at the time clock, or in their locker areas. All of those things should be identified in the company risk plan. And then those items should be reviewed from time to time and that plan be updated. There's many companies that have gone above and beyond the basics. They documented what their facility traffic flow should be—in other words, where you should be entering the building, where you should be exiting the building, establishing safe traffic patterns for people to walk, where it limits their face-to-face impact with others. These are all significant changes that we've had to adapt to since COVID-19. And going forward, these are really the meat and potatoes of what companies need to be considering in order to protect their workers in the future.

Gregg Profozich [00:05:36] Eliot, you bring up some great points. And it's very interesting to think about the fact that we have to have safety plans in place and a lot of details around those. I would imagine that each manufacturer has their own kind of take on that based on their industry, and some of the constraints, and the uniqueness of their production floor. We've talked a little bit about COVID pandemics, but what are some of the larger, more general issues about safety and safety plans that exist in manufacturing? Maybe you want to touch on a few of those things.

Eliot Dratch [00:06:02] Sure. Every year OSHA publishes a list of their top 10 safety hazards, and that list varies from year to year. There's always new items added and old items dropped off. But there still seems to be a general pattern of concerns and hazards. Those are the things that every plant must consider and just can't lose sight of. For instance, fire safety. That is important in every single plant. Just looking for opportunities for combustible items, flammable items, chemicals, things that could cause fires and smoke and burn people. Those are consistent hazards. Having a program in place to identify all of the hazardous chemicals in the plant. Just having them in a log and knowing what is in my plant. So, for instance, if you have a fire and the fire department shows up, it would be great if you could pull out from the receptionist desk a log and hand it to the fire department. And it would list all of the major hazards that they would expect to find in your facility. Doing training on basic electrical issues. It's not uncommon to find electrical cords plugged one into another into another. So, you have what was a temporary electrical setup becomes a permanent electrical setup. So, how about bringing in an electrician to look at all of your wiring and upgrade your wiring? Having a lockout tagout program. So, there's a lot of machines with stored energy. And oftentimes the maintenance team makes an adjustment on a machine. They might be doing preventative maintenance, and they don't de-energize the machine, and a lot of people get hurt. So, these aren't little things; these are things that have significant consequences to people's health. And just doing a little bit of training on them goes a long way. In addition to that, there's the routine items like eye protection. Just making sure that every employee who's working in an area where there's eye hazards is wearing his safety glasses. And machine guarding. Anything with a spinning wheel, anything where there's a machine where there's a moving part, it has to be guarded so you can't pinch your finger in it. And the last one that comes to mind is ladders and ladder safety. Every manufacturing plant has a few ladders. Some of them are not in great condition. Oftentimes they're rickety. The rubber feet have come off. They're bent. Take a look at the ladders, because every year lots of people fall off ladders, break their ribs, break their bones, and really get hurt. So, these are the things that every employer should be paying attention to.

Gregg Profozich [00:08:53] Eliot, I'd imagine that with the pace of change that's going on in manufacturing with technology and advancements, and all the changes that are happening, the list of top 10 safety hazards has got to be changing on a fairly regular basis, right? I doubt that this year's list looks exactly like five years ago's list.

Eliot Dratch [00:09:11] Right. And the pandemic has really changed things. The impact of the pandemic has made us rethink what's important. COVID-19 issues in the plant, it's at the top of every safety professional's mind and at the top of the list of concerns for every HR professional. And these are the things that we have to take seriously for worker safety.

Gregg Profozich [00:09:35] But I think you make a good point, though, about balance in the background of everything you're saying. COVID might be the number one thing on everybody's mind, but everything on the list has got to be top of mind and important. And to that end, I think maybe we could talk a little bit about best practices. What are some of...? If you ran a plant right now, what would be the best practices you'd want to keep in mind for workplace safety? What are the top three, maybe three to five things that you'd want to keep in mind to make sure you have a balanced approach to ensuring the safety of your workforce?

Eliot Dratch [00:10:06] Well, for the vast majority of plants that I visit, eye protection is the number one issue. It's amazing to me how people take it lightly. I mentioned ladder safety. It's staggering how many ladder accidents there are in plants throughout the year—ladders that aren't being maintained, ladders that are stored in a way that damages them, and then just how to use them. People stand on the very top of a ladder where it has a marking "Do not step on or above this step," and people do it. So, we have to train our workers. And the last one is really electrical hazards. Having a qualified electrician go through and update your wiring. Every plant, seems they have wiring issues; they have overload issues; they have too many... Might be as simple as just having too many plugs plugged into one outlet, one receptacle. And they need to split that receptacle into multiple receptacles so it doesn't get overloaded so you reduce the risk of fire. So, to me, those seem to be ongoing issues, routine issues that we see in so many plants.

Gregg Profozich [00:11:17] And it's really simple to just plug another outlet strip into the outlet strip that's there that's plugged into another outlet strip, right?

Eliot Dratch [00:11:24] Yeah.

Gregg Profozich [00:11:25] There's no way to really prevent against it. It's something to do that solves a problem in the short term, but then it becomes a permanent fix.

Eliot Dratch [00:11:30] And it can't be.

Gregg Profozich [00:11:30] Exactly. The loads go up on it, and then you get into the safety zone, where it's now we're putting way too much across that whole chain.

Eliot Dratch [00:11:37] Yeah. And most circuits can handle 15 amps, but it's not uncommon to have five or six electrical devices plugged into one receptacle. And maybe it's pulling 10 or 12 amps throughout the day. And then when somebody plugs in their heater—they bring their heater to work and they plug that in—that pulls a lot of energy that pops the circuit breaker, or if the circuit breaker doesn't pop, then you have an overload situation. The wires overheat, and you have a fire. And that happens routinely. It needs to be at the top of people's list.

Gregg Profozich [00:12:15] Absolutely. So, let's talk a little bit now about what some of the barriers to workplace safety are. We get into our habits. We do things without necessarily thinking them through fully. And change can be uncomfortable when you're asking me to do something differently. Wearing my mask I try to do all the time, but it always fogs up my glasses. I was chuckling when you were talking about eye protection earlier, because it's a reality. I need to see what I'm doing. So, I take my glasses off for a second, but I can't be doing that. I have to find a better solution. And so, change is uncomfortable. What are some of the common objections that you face in trying to strengthen workplace safety measures, and then what can you do about them? How do you combat them?

Eliot Dratch [00:12:51] So, by far, the biggest complaint that we have is time, just the lack of time. And so, it's not uncommon for supervisors, and leads, and managers to say we have so many activities going on throughout the week. We have to get production out. We have a short staff. I have less people than what I had originally planned on. I have schedule compression, I have a customer that wants me to ship two days earlier than what he was planning. So, now all of my activities seem to be getting compressed. And so, safety seems to drop to the bottom of the list. So, we need to make it important. And the way you make it important is you plan for it. If it's not built into your operational plan, it's not going to happen. So, in other words, if you don't set aside special time to talk about safety just like you talk about productivity, and quality, and shipping on time, you have to build safety into that conversation, as well. So, maybe it's just 20 or 30 minutes a week, but it has to happen routinely. And during that time, you would have a list of topics to talk about. And you would rotate through that list of topics and make sure that throughout the year you talk about these various topics that are so important. You talk about not just accidents, but you talk about near misses. How many near misses did we have? What about the guy who was driving a forklift, and it almost tipped over? Well, that's something you need to talk about. First aid, and fire prevention, and making sure that people know the basics. So, one week you set aside 20 minutes, and you walk everybody through the plant, and you point out where the fire extinguishers are and what to do if there's a fire. And you talk about the fact that you can't have pallets of material stored in front of fire exits. It's the basics. Think about what are the biggest hazards in my plant that could lead to loss of life, and that's what I want to train on. And I want to do it routinely and make sure that the staff talks about it every week in addition to talking about production and quality issues. 

Gregg Profozich [00:15:03] I wholeheartedly agree, Eliot. I don't think that we can minimize the importance of this. I know there's a lot of companies that do a very simple thing, and it doesn't have to take a lot of time. You can do five minutes at the beginning of a standing meeting, and have the safety topic be discussed, and let every member of the meeting take turns bringing up a safety topic that's important to them. Oftentimes, participation leads to commitment. If I get to talk about what I want to talk about, something that's important to me, it gives me a voice and makes me more committed to listen to everyone else and really thinking about it. And if you make it top of mind, the first five minutes of your weekly production meeting, the first two minutes of your daily shift huddle, what are we going to be focused on today? What's the safety topic of the day? Many different ways, I think, to go and just do that to really build a safety culture. Because as I listened to you, it sounded like that's what we were talking about: how do you build a safety culture within an organization?

Eliot Dratch [00:15:59] So, Gregg, you hit the nail on the head. One of the ways that we talk about building safety and integrating safety into people's jobs is when we start writing procedures and work instructions for the employees. So, it's real typical when you're working with a company, you're helping them think through all of the operational steps that you want to take place routinely—when you operate a piece of equipment or when you're bringing materials in, how you feed the machine. What the feed rate is supposed to be. What are the adjustments? What are the dials set to on this piece of equipment? Well, if you take the time to integrate safety in those procedures, now you're really moving the needle, so to speak. So, what I've been recommending to our clients is that, step one, for every procedure is not turn on the machine. Step one is check your PPE. Do I have all of my PPE? And step two is look at my environment. Am I in a safe environment? And then step three is turn on the machine and begin the work. So, that's exactly the approach, and what you just described is how we make safety important and integrated into the company's culture. That has to be the goal. 

Gregg Profozich [00:17:19] Absolutely. Absolutely. It is very practical, simple things that can be done, but it really does make it top of mind. I think it's so important. I think it's so right on target. Let's switch gears just a little bit here. We've been talking a little bit about OSHA and some of the background. And in previous comments, you made some of the top 10 hazards list. Let's talk from a regulatory perspective. Here in California, there are laws that change every year that impact manufacturers: environmental laws, employment law, and workplace safety regulation laws. Let's talk specifically about some of the recent regulations to workplace safety in California. What are they; what are some of the ones that are really important to know about, some of the most significant ones; and how do we prepare for them?

Eliot Dratch [00:11:58] By far, the biggest change, the most far-reaching change that we're going to hear about in the near future is Cal/OSHA recently adopted an emergency standard for COVID-19 prevention in the workplace. Throughout most of the pandemic, OSHA was simply advising employers to follow their general practices. They have had established practices, and they would provide this industry guidance on the various actions to take to minimize employees' risk. But now they have adopted a new emergency standard, and it's going to be binding; it's going to be enforceable; and it's going to affect nearly all California employers. So, these emergency standards are going to remain in effect until they get renewed or replaced. I assume that Cal/OSHA is going to move forward with adopting some sort of permanent COVID-19 standard for the workplace. It's going to require a COVID-19 prevention program. That is the main piece, the main requirement of these emergency standards. And employers are going to have to prepare a program, and implement it, and maintain a written program, as we've been discussing. So, they're going to model this written COVID prevention plan around the laws and regulations for the injury and illness prevention program that already exists. So, it's a requirement that all California manufacturers with more than 10 employees have a written injury and illness prevention program in place. So, most employers have that already. This is going to augment that, and, in fact, this COVID-19 piece will probably be integrated into that employer's IIPP, the injury and illness prevention program. And specifically, it talks about those areas that we touched on before, but it will go deeper. And it will require that companies have a system for communicating information to employees about COVID prevention procedures and testing. And they'll have to have a system for employees to report exposures without any fear of retaliation, because that is a big issue in plants right now. Many people, they don't work for a company that has real flexible policies, and they fear for their jobs, and they come to work when they shouldn't be coming to work. And that is one of the reasons why we've had outbreaks and spreading of COVID in some manufacturing sectors. So, in addition to that, the companies will have to identify and evaluate all of the COVID hazards. They're going to have to screen employees for symptoms. They're going to have to have practices in place that will reduce the potential exposure. So, in other words, there has to be some meat in these plans. There's going to be a requirement that they investigate and that they respond to cases in the workplace. If there's an exposure, there will have to be an immediate follow-up to determine who was exposed, and then provide notice to other employees about the potential exposures, and then offer testing to workers who might have been exposed, and then provide training and instruction for the employees to prevent it from happening again. So, I'd say that is by far the biggest change that we're going to see in California law related to safety over the next year.

Gregg Profozich [00:21:34] Sounds like there is some complexity there. But for companies of larger than 10 employees, they already have a base plan, that they just have to add a couple of sections and some specific COVID-related information. Is that correct, or did I miss that?

Eliot Dratch [00:21:47] No, that's essentially it. And actually, since April, during the pandemic, there was a health office order from the county of Los Angeles that companies have a written COVID-19 prevention program in place since April. And unfortunately, many companies say they're unaware of that requirement. But now it's going to have a lot more power behind it.

Gregg Profozich [00:22:12] So, the state government's putting some teeth behind that requirement to try to rein in these runaway infections that we're having from a COVID perspective.

Eliot Dratch [00:22:20] Yeah. And in fact, in addition to that, there is a proposal that... I don't think it has been approved yet, but it's working its way through county government for the county of Los Angeles. And that will be for the county to establish public health councils. And a public health council will be a requirement for all companies of a certain size. And it's going to be a phased-in approach that gives priority to different business sectors. There's different sectors where they've had high numbers of complaints and outbreaks. And then they're going to actually develop staff people to work with various companies to give information about how to establish a public health council at their work. And the purpose of this council is to share information, educational information, and resources to help companies ensure that they are compliant with the health office report. This is being developed. CMTC has been part of these conversations. We've put together listening sessions for many companies to give feedback to the county of Los Angeles about their concerns as these councils are being developed. There will be a phone number, and email, and a website that workers can use to report health office order compliance issues. And so, in addition, these health councils, it's going to also provide a process for certifying and training workers and have a plan to really enforce the adherence of the health office's orders. There's going to be authority and power granted for the enforcement because that has been one of the areas that has been lacking is enforcement of companies that have been non-compliant.

Gregg Profozich [00:24:12] So, it sounds like they're taking a fairly comprehensive approach. They're soliciting input; they're publishing some guidelines; they're looking for what's going to make sense; and they're also building awareness throughout that process. So, it should be no surprise to anybody when they put some teeth behind it and really require compliance and that there is a consequence for not holding up to that standard.

Eliot Dratch [00:24:31] Completely. So, it's going to be a phased-in approach. And initially, they're going to focus on the industry sectors in manufacturing that have been the biggest problems, which have been food processing, apparel manufacturing, warehousing, and restaurants. So, they're going to be enforcing the health officer's orders, and they're going to be making sure that these public health protocols are in place. And they're also considering an anti-retaliation ordinance so that employees can feel at ease about reporting situations of non-compliance and have no fear of getting fired. So, I think what's really important to keep in mind here is we can only recover from this pandemic and open more business sectors if these business sectors are operating safely. It will really give us the ability to slow down and, hopefully, stop the spread of COVID in businesses that have been non-compliant. I can't tell you how many restaurants that I've visited over the last couple of months just for picking up takeout food. But when I show up to pick up the food, I look in the back, and I see that many of the employees are not wearing face coverings. So, they're obviously not taking it seriously. This is a very important public health issue, and it needs to be taken seriously. 

Gregg Profozich [00:26:00] Absolutely. We're all hyperaware, if you will, almost, of workplace safety now with COVID. And compliance is a different story. But everybody's at least aware of it. Everybody knows they should probably be wearing PPE in all cases when they're around someone else, whether they do it or not. But it's one element on top of many others. We mentioned earlier that the OSHA concerns in the top 10 lists and other things outside of just pandemic and infectious disease. So, let's take it back to a little bit broader perspective here as we continue our conversation. What are the biggest things that manufacturers need to be doing? It sounds like there are a lot of things they have to keep in mind. What are the biggest things? What are the most important ones to focus on? Where do you begin?

Eliot Dratch [00:26:44] I think it all revolves around having a plan and implementing that plan. So, for manufacturing companies, one of the best practices that we recommend is doing a plant walk every morning. Some companies, they model it after the Japanese Gemba Walk. You walk through the plant. Typically, you're looking for anything that's abnormal. You're looking for things that stand out. You're looking for productivity problems. You're looking for quality issues. Well, now we're saying in addition to that, you should be looking for safety issues and COVID-19 compliance issues. All of these things need to be integrated into your daily walk. And where does it start? Well, it starts with management, top management of these organizations that have to take it seriously. So, if top management doesn't lead this from the front, then the employees are going to see that it's not as important as we're saying it is. They're not going to take it as seriously. They're not going to follow through and ensure the protocols are being followed diligently. So, before, you mentioned making safety part of the company's culture. Well, in order to make safety part of the fabric of the company and integrated into their daily operations, management has to talk about it emphatically; they have to talk about it frequently; and they have to make it important. When a manager or a leader of the company walks out to the production floor and sees employees not wearing safety glasses, for instance, they need to stop and say, "Hey, Frank," or Joe, "put on your safety glasses, and set an example for others," and make sure that that approach permeates their business. That's how you change the culture. That's how the best companies have made safety part of how they do business.

Gregg Profozich [00:28:49] Constant reinforcement, leadership from the top, lead by example.

Eliot Dratch [00:28:52] Exactly. And that's the recipe, right?

Gregg Profozich [00:28:55] There it is. So, you had some experience. You've been out and seen a lot of companies. We've talked about some of the don'ts and some of the things we've seen that are bad. What are some examples of manufacturing companies in California that go above and beyond to make sure that they have a safe workplace? And how have these measures impacted operations and their performance, if at all?

Eliot Dratch [00:29:14] So, obviously, when you take time out of your day to look at safety issues, it slows things down. But you have to believe that this is time well spent, and it's an investment. And taking a few extra minutes is going to pay dividends in the fact that you'll probably have fewer people missing work in the future due to a safety issue. Whether it be COVID-19 or anything else, you'll have fewer people missing work. And you're helping the community, because when people get sick at work, if they get infected at work, they take that disease home to their families. And they might be asymptomatic. They might have no symptoms at all, but they might be spreading that disease to their family members who don't have as much ability to withstand those sicknesses. So, the best companies that I've seen talk about this on a regular basis. I've seen companies that have some really good practices in place. There's one company, Alcon Labs, in particular, in Irvine. They have set up in their parking lot a person to screen the employees as they're driving onto the parking lot. They're taking their temperatures. They record the information. They put it in a log. If there were any problems, they're not allowed to come into the facility for the day. There's other companies that have gone through and really reviewed from an engineering perspective the layout of their company. They have made changes to air handling devices. They've put in large fans to increase the volume of air being exchanged in the building on a regular basis. They've actually measured the cubic feet per minute of airflow in the work areas, and they've tried to maximize the airflow through the buildings. There's companies that have really taken seriously the concept of factory cleaning and disinfecting. Not only are they cleaning up, wiping things down at the end of every day, but they use special solutions that have been approved by the EPA and listed as being highly effective against COVID-19. And they are making sure that those solutions are being used at the beginning and the end of every shift. So, there are companies that are going well beyond just using basic PPE. These companies have an active COVID-19 prevention plan. They review it every month about the areas that they found are weak. Whatever it is, they identify the weaknesses, and they put remediation in place to improve.

Gregg Profozich [00:31:52] Excellent. I think those are great examples. Eliot, and thank you for sharing that. As we wrap up, any other closing comments? Anything that you would want to share with our listeners?

Eliot Dratch [00:32:01] Sure. I think that it's noteworthy the CDC right now is considering shortening its recommended quarantine period. So, right now, since most of this year we've been talking about any employee that comes into contact with COVID-19, there's a 14-day quarantine period—those are the CDC guidelines—they're looking at revising that, and we're hoping to see revision on that. It looks like they're going to reduce the quarantine period for those people that have had testing. So, if you've had close contact with someone that has COVID-19, instead of quarantining for 14 days, they'll be able to now quarantine for less than 14 days if that can be complemented with a test that shows that you've tested negative. So, I think that's really great news, and I'm waiting for that to become codified. But overall, safety is serious. It should be in the forefront of every manufacturer's mind. It's not going to be serious if we don't make it serious. And the concept of integrating it into our daily work should be what we're all doing.

Gregg Profozich [00:33:16] I think to wrap up, I'm just thinking about my key takeaways from this conversation. And they really are that in the face of the pandemic, we could very easily get focused on COVID safety only, but we really have to have a holistic view. We have to take a look at all of the different things in the rapidly changing world around us and in the rapidly changing world of manufacturing, and make sure that we have a comprehensive safety plan in place. And one of the ways to do that and to make sure it has some effectiveness is to build a safety culture. Make sure that safety is top of mind. Build it into work instructions. Begin meetings with it. Do practical, simple, little steps that don't take a lot of time but could raise it and keep it top of mind. And I think it's important... You mentioned earlier to lead by example. Leadership of the company as the role model the behaviors they expect. And they have to require compliance. They have to be willing to step up and remind people that safety procedures require following, and we're expecting you to do it. And that can help build it. They need to have good plans in place. They need to know what they're supposed to do in given situations, and make sure everybody is training around it so that they can execute those plans and maintain as safe a work environment as possible. And I think your last comments really talked about needing to adapt and improve with the change in the requirement for how long quarantine has happen. In the case of a test, that's a change; that's an adaptation. So, now, what does that mean to my plans, and how do I change? So, we have to be ready to adjust those plans and make sure that they continue to be as effective as possible. And so, those are the key things I think that I learned from this conversation, and I really appreciate your time. Great insights. Thank you, Eliot. Have a great day.

Eliot Dratch [00:34:55] Thanks very much for the opportunity to talk about this.

Gregg Profozich [00:34:58] Thank you for listening to Shifting Gears — a podcast from CMTC. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with others and post it on your social media platforms. You can subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or your preferred podcast directory. For more information on our topic, please visit CMTC is a private nonprofit organization that provides technical assistance, workforce development, and consulting services to small- and medium-sized manufacturers throughout the state of California. CMTC's mission is to serve as a trusted advisor, providing solutions that increase the productivity and competitiveness of California's manufacturers. CMTC operates under a cooperative agreement for the state of California with the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program (MEP) at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology within the Department of Commerce. For more information about CMTC please visit For more information about the MEP National Network, or to find your local MEP center visit

Topics: Human Resources, Employee Training, Health & Safety Services

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