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Outsourcing: As Long as You Live in My House You Will Follow My Rules

Post Author Bill Wolfe
Aug 15, 2016 4:22:10 PM
Workforce Insights

As long as you live in my house you will follow my rules! Have you ever used that line on one of your teenagers/young adults still living with you?! Since one of my daughters (yes, the one I walked down the aisle last October) moved back in with us, after a long absence to save money for the wedding, I have definitely used it a time or two. She did manage to move out to live with her husband in Orlando. I would definitely call that a win/win. Safety Culture in Outsourcing can follow that same logic if we let it.

Any of us working in Manufacturing and Logistics know how much value your company puts on Safety. If your company does not claim safety to be their number one value I would be shocked and frankly, very disappointed. However, I have seen examples of companies that live it every day, and others, not so much. 

In Outsourcing, we have our own OSHA 300 log so we have full responsibility for the safety of our employees.  BUT, we are living/working in your house.  As my number of years in Outsourcing has grown, I have seen a range of client attitudes toward Outsourced employees. I will share the good, the bad and the ugly.      

The Good: MAU is privileged to work with a lot of Fortune 500 companies. An example early in my Outsourcing career was when one of our employees had a minor injury around a piece of packaging equipment. Since it was not a serious injury, our manager reviewed the details of the incident and we moved on to our next item to cover in this particular daily meeting. “Not so fast,” said the brand new Plant Manager for this Fortune 500 Company. “Can you show me the training records for this individual? What have you done to prevent this type of incident from happening again? Is there anything that we can do to help you?” Lesson learned: he cared as much about one of our employee’s safety as he did about one of his own employees.  We are operating in his house so we better make sure that we are keeping our employees safe.   

The Bad: Later in my Outsourcing career, we had a situation where our client was not quite as interested in our safety opinions.  This was the message that was conveyed to me by the MAU leaders at this particular location. Since Safety is the number one core value for our company, I went to speak to the client’s Safety Manager. After we discussed a few things going on in his house he told me, “We will take care of the safety of our employees, and you just make sure that you take care of your employees.”  Although he was certainly correct, I didn’t go home that day feeling too excited about the opportunity to have MAU employees working in this house.  In Outsourcing we strive to be a strategic partner with all of our clients. We will always focus on the Safety Culture for our employees and always believe that Safety is the most important thing to us. When the owner of the house shares our belief, our job instantly becomes a lot easier and the structure of the house becomes very solid.

The Ugly: Reflecting back on earlier days in my career as a Plant Manager, my company utilized temporary labor for around 20% of our workforce needs. Any of their injuries showed up on our company OSHA 300 log. The staffing company, their employees, and their unsafe behaviors were impacting our company results. Well, of course I would call in the staffing company and read them the riot act on what were they doing to eliminate these injuries. Looking back now, I can see that I was completely wrong and much more like the Bad than the Good. It was our house and we were totally responsible for the safety culture, training, and working conditions. 

Safety is so important that we should always be looking out for each other.  It doesn’t matter what shirt or uniform an individual is wearing, we should always be looking out for their safety.  I have found over the years that any and every company that I have been associated with has excellent safety policies.  What we need to make sure of, including me, is that we ensure that our practices and actions mirror these world-class safety policies. We need to make certain everyone goes home the same way they came in each day.  So my final thought for the day: Do you walk the talk?  Let me know.

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