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Making Decisions Differently Workshops: Sonoco’s Manufacturing Safety Training Program

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Safety at Sonoco looks different. As a key pillar of our culture, our commitment to maintaining a safe work environment focuses on actively engaging all employees in identifying, preventing and correcting workplace safety issues. From the plant floor to the board room, protecting our employees’ safety and health is our top priority.  

Sonoco President & CEO, Howard Coker shares:

“For decades, Sonoco has worked diligently to create a safe work environment for our employees. Our journey has undoubtedly prevented countless workplace injuries and brought a strong leadership focus on safety. Though Life Changing Events (or LCEs) are infrequent, they have the potential to cause death or disable workers. We believe the consequences of even one LCE are unacceptable.

Over the past two years, we’ve established a new approach as part of our safety system in collaboration with DEKRA. By identifying, preventing and reporting exposures to LCEs, we’re working together to eliminate these events from Sonoco’s workplaces.”

To support this culture, we’re training employees in Making Decisions Differently workshops to teach key safety skills: 

Making Decisions Differently Workshops:

Step #1 – Identify Exposures

This first step helps employees recognize exposures, detect anything unusual and identify opportunities to make mistakes by asking questions that trigger ‘slow brain’ thinking like these:

  • Are you looking?
  • What are you seeing?

Step #2 – Consider How to Control Exposures

Once exposures are recognized, employees need the skills to consider how to control them by noticing assumptions and anticipating changes. This second step encourages employees to pause and ask themselves questions like:

  • What assumptions are you making?
  • What could go wrong? 
  • How could it go wrong?

Step #3 – Safely Execute Work

After watching for assumptions and anticipating changes, employees need to learn how to minimize them. By checking and verifying errors, this third step helps them safely execute work tasks by asking questions like:

  • How difficult was it to remove distractions?
  • Did you use resources to ensure flawless execution?
  • Did you check your progress and verify for accuracy?

Step #4 – Prioritize Body Safety

Next, we help employees focus on factors that can cause soft tissue injuries through ergonomics. By considering load factors, this fourth step helps them minimize injuries by asking questions like these:

  • Are there tools and equipment that can assist you in managing a load?
  • Have you analyzed your technique when executing a task?

Step #5 – Work Together to Minimize Exposures and Errors

Lastly, minimizing exposures and improving decision-making requires effective team communication and checking skills. This fifth step minimizes exposures and errors by asking questions like, “Are you asking open-ended questions for understanding?”

We believe that employees are our most valuable resource. And we’re investing in that resource by making employee safety a top priority across over more than 300 operations around the world.