When this article is published, ginning season should be in high gear across most of the country. There’s a lot going on to get into the swing of things. I always worry that safety slips through the cracks as everyone works out the kinks of performing as a crew and operating the gin as a machine. One of the easiest ways to promote safety is to hold a weekly safety meeting.
All gins should have some form of safety manual. Most of the ones I’ve seen have a list of topics that can be addressed during a number of safety meetings. These gatherings don’t need to be elaborate or super detailed.
The idea is to run over a few items that need a bit more attention. There’s no need for chewing on anyone or anything like that. The approach should be more along the lines of showing the right way to do something.
One topic that always comes to mind is safety around the yard and the module feeder where everyone walks at some point. Anytime there are moving vehicles and people walking, the opportunity exists to get hurt. Remind everyone to assume the truck or loader driver can’t see them.
Pay attention to where you’re going to walk or stand and make sure it’s out of the way of traffic. Remember that a module truck or loader that is in the bright sun may not be able to see in the “dark cave” that is the module feeder until their eyes adjust to the contrast in lighting.
This is just one important safety example, but I’m sure a good ginner can come up with a lot more. If you have trouble figuring out a focus for your meeting, contact your ginners’ association or insurance company for more items to cover. There are also safety videos that could be reviewed as well.
When you come up with a main topic, list a few bullet points and emphasize the highlights. Remember this in-season safety meeting doesn’t have to be super elaborate. What you’re really going for is to raise and maintain safety awareness. Please use an interpreter if necessary to make sure everyone understands the importance of this meeting.
When should you hold the meetings? Any time is fine, but many people like to bring the crew in one-half hour early for shift change. You could cover the safety topic then — whatever works for your gin’s schedule. Here is one more thing. Don’t forget to document the meeting.
Create a sign-in sheet and have everyone confirm they attended. Remember, if it didn’t happen on paper, it didn’t happen. Have your interpreter sign in as well.
As always, have a safe, smooth and profitable season.
Dusty Findley, CEO of the Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association, contributed this article. Contact him at 706-344-1212 or email@example.com.