April 12, 2021

Talking Safety…Peer to Peer


DeschambaultOur Deschambault smelter in Canada is reinforcing its robust safety culture with a peer-to-peer program that is based on friendly interventions if an unsafe situation or behavior is observed.

All the plant’s employees receive training that encourages intervention with their peers if they see unsafe behavior or a lack of safety controls. The training also emphasizes positive reinforcement for good safety behavior.

At the heart of the program is a courteous approach to providing and receiving feedback. These timeouts are an opportunity for reflection, and they allow for the creation of new pre-task briefs to restart the job safely. The interventions also improve the connection between experienced and newer employees.

To track feedback, the employee who initiates the interaction fills out a pocket card indicating if the recipient accepted the feedback with a positive attitude and a smile—distinctive values at the plant. There were more than 2,000 interventions in 2019 and 2020, with 90 percent of the recipients strongly agreeing that the intervention was helpful and the remaining 10 percent agreeing.

Yvan Cantin, casthouse operator, was on the receiving end of an intervention.

“I was in a casting unit and had forgotten to put on my balaclava (a hood to protect against molten metal),” said Mr. Cantin. “I thanked my colleague for taking care of me. The program is very good, because it allows you to get reminders directly on the shop floor from your colleagues. It’s also a good way to do some coaching among peers.”