In 1996, the people who work in the Business Services Section had a lot of on-the-job injuries. They strained themselves lifting heavy loads. They cut themselves on sharp objects. They had vehicle accidents. They got hurt so often, in fact, that people in BSS missed a total of 39 days of work due to on-the-job injuries, and had 260 days of restricted work, when people couldn't do their regular jobs due to medical work restrictions. BSS had a "lost workday case rate" of 7.4 cases for every 100 person-years worked, and their injuries cost Fermilab 58.1 cents per hour worked. As Business Services Section Head Jim Finks reviewed the latest accident statistics for his section, near the worst at the Laboratory, he decided he and his section could do better. Much better.
Finks was right.
In 1998, Business Services employees missed only two days of work due to injuries, and they had just one day of restricted work. Their lost workday case rate dropped to 1.6, and the cost of injuries per hour worked was 4.1 cents, the lowest of any division or section at Fermilab.
On June 15, Fermilab officially recognized just how much better the section had done, when Deputy Director Ken Stanfield presented to Finks and the entire 146-member Business Services Section the award for "Most Improved Safety Performance of 1998."
"You all did this," Stanfield told the section's staff, assembled for a celebration picnic at Site 38. "You went 347 days without a single accident serious enough for someone to miss work. You are an example for all the divisions and sections at the Laboratory."
Department of Energy Fermi Group Manager Bob Wunderlich echoed Stanfield's praise.
"When you have a safety problem, I have a problem too," Wunderlich said. "Your group has shown what happens when a group understands that safety is everyone's responsibility."
As the crowd munched hamburgers, fried chicken and brats in the bright sunshine, Environment, Safety and Health Section Head Bill Griffing gave particular credit to Finks's leadership in turning around the section's injury record.
" I found in Jim Finks a leader who believed in safety and shared his vision," Griffing said. "Now other divisions and sections have seen what you did; you are a trendsetter. I am very proud of what you have done."
In crediting and thanking his staff for their accomplishment, Finks also cited the support that he had received from Laboratory management and the ES&H Section in reversing the section's safety record.
"We can never say we don't get enough resources to work safely," he said, "because we can always get them."
|last modified 7/23/1999 email Fermilab|