Kudos to Cosmoflex, Inc. in Hannibal, MO and to the ingenuity of Operations Manager, Max Nicholson and Safety Committee Member, Mike Allen. The task: A 3-year safety certification required by OSHA for all 50 employees at the plant. The creative solution: A rodeo with a forklift—No bull!
Over the course of 2 days, all four shifts at Cosmoflex (a subsidiary company of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.) participated in a certification process like none before. Outside the plant, a course involving all the necessary skills for using a forklift was laid out and put into place. Exercises included a ‘Loaded Figure 8’, the ‘Stack and Back’, the ‘Ram and Jam’ and removing a basketball from a pylon and dropping into a basket. The safety committee judged the employees individually and as teams on knowledge, accuracy, speed, and safety. During the competition, everyone enjoyed an outdoor barbeque, drinks and music.
The initial goal was simply to complete certification for all employees. When asked if there were any unexpected benefits, Nicholson and Allen agreed that they hadn’t anticipated the amount of strategizing and teamwork they observed. “You can’t force teamwork,” said Allen. “We saw great communication and tons of enthusiasm. People were hooting and hollering, and lots of laughing.” He added, “This really perked up everyone’s attitude, and in a small plant—attitudes are contagious.”
This year’s winner, Brad Pemberton (with an individual time of 6 minutes and 36 seconds), won a gift certificate for Lula Belle’s—a popular local restaurant/bed and breakfast. Team winners enjoyed a pizza dinner at the plant.
Was there a downside? Nicholson said, “Just that the employees didn’t want to return to their posts—they enjoyed watching their coworkers compete.” Even though the certification is good for 3 years, Cosmoflex plans to repeat the event because of the overwhelmingly positive feedback.