Safety Training at Pro’ Choice: It’s Not Working

While a large number of organizations have successful health and safety records, unfortunately, many companies experience unacceptable health and safety incidence rates. Furthermore, simply having a safety program does not guarantee a positive safety record, as the experience of Pro’ Choice of St. Louis, Missouri, illustrates.

Pro’s Choice Manufacturing produces aftermarket automobile parts for cars and trucks built during the 1950s. The company’s specialty area is suspension components for Ford and Chevy vehicles. Pro’s Choice Manufacturing employees work with and around a variety of machines and chemicals that have the potential to cause serious medical problems. The working environment has been described by some employees as “extremely hazardous, even life-threatening.” In 2003, after an unannounced safety inspection by OSHA officials, the company received six citations for various health and safety violations and one proposed fine of $7,000 for a “serious” infraction. Additionally, OSHA noted that Pro’s Choice had a higher-than-average accident rate for the manufacturing industry. The company was placed on OSHA’s schedule for repeat inspections.

Between January and March 2004, Pro’s Choice implemented a health and safety program specifically designed to reduce the infractions noted by OSHA. The company purchased standardized videos, posters, and safety pamphlets for viewing by employees. Supervisors were instructed to issue “safety warnings” to careless employees. (The safety warnings are jokingly referred to as “Band-Aids” by employees). Employees with a history of safety or health injuries or illnesses were placed on a progressive discipline schedule.

During February 2005, Pro’ Choice safety management team compared their injury and illness incidence rates for January 2004 and January 2005. Unfortunately, there was no meaningful improvement in the company’s safety and health record. Two departments, stamping and plating, experienced incidence rates for 2005 higher than those for 2004.


What may have contributed to the failure of the safety training program at Pro’s Choice? Explain.

What would you suggest doing to make the safety training program successful? Explain.

What role should supervisors play in any safety training program? Explain.