Sunoco Logistics Partners implemented The Topf Process in mid-2010. We found it to be a unique and engaging system that focuses on the individual’s approach to safety by addressing fundamental beliefs and attitudes.
The Topf Initiatives “Safor Employee Training” heightens awareness and helps employees recognize that every action is in response to a decision. It then motivates employees to make decisions that support shared safety and environmental goals. And, it is sustainable; employees remember concepts like “the little voice” years after the initial training.
“Leadership for Safety Training” helps supervisors and other natural workplace leaders see attitude as a leading indicator; something either ignored, or at best discounted by most other approaches. Leaders are then trained how to intervene and approach people in a way that facilitates positive change. Sunoco Logistics moved from a plateau characterized by an OSHA recordable rate of about 0.80 to a rate of 0.35 after employees completed the training. Our lost time rate currently stands at zero, which is a first for us. While these results may not be due exclusively to the implementation of the Topf Process, it is impossible to discount this approach as a real driver of our improvement. So, if you’re looking for a way to change the safety culture of your organization you really should investigate this process. Sunoco Logistics’ experience suggests that by complementing other efforts and focusing on the individual, it will very likely lead to sustained improvement in HES performance.
Elliotte Ashburn, OESP
Project Manager Weyerhaeuser Corporation
"The work with Topf Initiatives has been both challenging and insightful. Here at Weyerhaeuser, though directed at safety, the focus on improved communication, teamwork, group dynamics, etc. has impacted our work systems across the board. Along with results in our safety performance, we have seen significant improvements in productivity, reliability and team problem solving." "From the assessment through the primary trainings, the Topf Process gives us an opportunity to look at the our safety process in a new way. The Topf process allows our folks to interact with each other with a sense of integrity, learning together how to make our company a safer place to work."
"There are numerous examples of the process' impact. Among them include: A Unit Manager avoiding serious injury by taking more precautions using a chain saw at home; A Supervisor intervening with a contractor who later thanked him for helping him avoid injury; countless stories of Hourly Employees doing casual interventions with co-workers regarding their safety behavior and communicating about it;"
"What distinguishes Topf from others in the field is their willingness to tailor their approach to fit our work system. They have also been very willing to work with us to accommodate scheduling." "Through this work, there have been changes made in me. As a safety professional I always thought we could fix anything we wanted. I have learned that we have to address behaviors. This has had a profound impact on my behavior at home, and the way I interact with others about safety (both at work and at home) has been changed."
Safety Supervisor Hercules Research Center Wilmington, Delaware "I first became aware of Topf Initiatives in 1993 when a team that I was a member of, searched the Internet for references to "Behavioral Safety". Articles written by Michael Topf intrigued us and we invited Michael speak to our safety team.
One thing about that first meeting sticks out in my mind. We were told that typically, greater than 90% of injuries involve behaviors. At that time, I was a chemical operator with 20 years experience at a research facility. I could not buy into the notion that the vast majority of our safety incidents and injuries could be traced to our own behaviors and actions. After their presentation, I voiced my strong disbelief . Topf suggested that I resolve the issue for myself. I was to gather safety incident reports from our site for the past three years. I was to ask myself "yes" or "no", "Did a behavior of the involved person or a co-worker, contribute to the event?" Hours later, after pouring over more than one hundred safety incident reports, I concluded that 94% of the events did, in fact, involve our behaviors and actions. I became a believer that if we were going to improve our safety performance, we had to open our minds to the importance and complexity of behavioral safety issues.
We began our Topf Process in early 1995, with our Topf facilitator. He posed a tough question for us to ponder. "If you would not let your child do it that way, then why are you doing it that way?" He exposed us to the concept that safety is everyone's business, not just the responsibility of the safety group or of supervisors. We became aware of the three modes of behavior. We could sit back and act as a "spectator" in matters of safety. We could watch something unfold and then later "react" to the situation. Or we could become "players" in the safety game and thus truly impact our safety and the safety of our coworkers.
For the twelve months that followed our initial Topf Training, we were reminded of behavioral concepts by our coworkers. Every month, we met to cover one of the key points from the Topf Training. This ongoing process was a different tact than we had experienced in previous safety programs, now there was continuity to our efforts. When we surveyed our 400+ employees and asked them what was working about our approach to safety, they noted that these monthly discussions around safety behaviors served to keep awareness at very high levels. They also stated that the conversations tend to break down the barriers to good communications between coworkers.
To this day, almost five years after our initial Topf Training, every employee on site, meets every month to discuss a concept involving behavioral safety and our actions. I believe it is this ongoing forum that allows us to continually address safety issues and concerns.
Throughout the years, Topf Initiatives has supported our safety process and encouraged us to customize it so as to make it work for us. Getting buy-in from employees is the key to making a behavioral process effective. In regards to safety performance, for the three years prior to our Topf Training, we suffered an average of 14 OSHA Injuries each year. In the almost 5 years since we started our Topf Training, we have recorded less than 3 OSHA Injuries each year. Perhaps the strongest testament I can give is that prior to our association with Michael Topf and his Organization, we believed that we did have a good safety program in place and that suffering more than a dozen OSHA Injuries each year was simply the price of doing business. Now, our culture has evolved and we believe that even two or three OSHA injuries each year is too many. Our goal is an injury-free workplace. I credit Topf Initiatives with putting that goal within our reach.
C. J. LeBlanc
Plant Manager Montell USA
"Topf Initiatives has been both professional, and highly committed in their support of our safety improvement effort here at Montell." During our selection process for a behavior-based training organization, we found the Topf Process to be the most holistic approach to safety, both on and off the job, involving all levels of the organization.
The Topf Process has supported the safety effort of our employees and enabled us to maintain a world class safety record of less than a 1.0 TRR for the past five years. As important, it has also supported our efforts in the areas of quality, cost control and production.
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