By Diana Scheddin
One person dies each week in Ontario as a result of injuries, three amputations occur every working day and 106, 000 people suffer injuries on the job that require time off, according to figures compiled two years ago by Brian Hagan.
Hagan, the director of Dynatec, made a presentation entitled Safety and the Four Essential Laws of Team Work during the Mining Health and Safety Conference held in mid-April in Sudbury. Hagan referred to four different historical events to explain how companies can create effective teams to reduce incidence of injuries.
The Law of the Niche referred to Charlie Plum who had served time in Vietnam. His plane was shot down on May 19, 1967, and his survival is accredited to the teammate that packed his parachute.
“If we do not make sure that people are doing their job we could have a problem,” Hagan said. “You must know your team, you must know the situation and you must know the players (be aware of who is capable of doing specific jobs).”
This law allows workers to find their niche in safety.
The Law of Mount Everest lets workers evaluate their team and make changes when necessary.
Between 1920 and 1952 seven major expeditions to the mountain failed.
“Sometimes one person can make a winning team a losing team,” said Hagan.
Team members may have to be changed in order to create a more productive work environment.
He then went on to discuss the Law of the Chain. The Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 was used an example of a corporation that had its chain broken. Ultimately the spill occurred because the captain was not doing his job properly.
“The strength of the team is affected by its weakest link,” said Hagan.
It is thus important that the strong and weak members of a company can work together. If this does not happen, some members may have to be replaced.
Finally, Hagan presented the Law of Communication.
Continental Airlines is one company that has changed its communication practices to create a bette- run organization.
In 1994 Gordon Bethune took over the airline that was ranked worst among the top 10 in the United States.
The company had a huge bureaucracy, and morale was at an all-time low.
To improve the situation, executive offices were opened to all employees and the lines of communication were improved.
Today the airline is ranked among the best in the industry.
A successful company should have three modes of communication:
* Communication from leader to teammate: be consistent, clear and courteous.
* Communication from teammates to leader: be direct and honest with your leader, be supportive and stay current.
* Communication between the team and the public: be receptive, responsive and realistic.
If organizations have proper-functioning teams, a safe environment may be achieved.