Yamaha in Vonore held its fifth annual safety day event on Jan. 30 in hopes of providing a safer working environment for its employees.
Each year, Yamaha dedicates an entire paid work day to train their employees on everything from basic safety practices to equipment use and even specific situations, such as fire or active shooting.
Yamaha Human Resources Manager Steve Wolfe believes this form of training is more efficient then how they used to perform training in the past.
“We used to do safety training, like many companies, where you try to get people off the floor and rally them into a classroom to watch a 30 to 45 minute video and then send them on their way and that was just really ineffective,” said Wolfe. “Five years ago we sat down as a management group and decided the best way to do that would be to sacrifice a production day and bring people in, paying them their full wage, and have training that way.”
Yamaha set up several different classrooms during their safety day with each one having its own instructor and topic to cover.
Some of the topics covered in the classrooms were anti harassment training, active shooter training with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, hazardous waste training, respiratory and hearing conservation, fire extinguisher training, stormwater pollution training, spill prevention training and bloodborne pathogen training.
To break the monotony of the classroom training, they also played a game using information that was taught in the classroom to help with the learning and allow the employees to have fun while doing it.
“We used the Family Feud game but everything was questions related to what they learned that day,” said Wolfe. “So we had the game to help people have a little bit of fun while reiterating some of the things they learned that day, so it helps, and we have really seen a difference.”
According to Wolfe, the number of injuries on site have drastically decreased during the five years they have implemented this strategy.
“These five years have seen record low numbers in injuries,” said Wolfe. “We certainly believe it’s all because of the way we choose to do the training. It makes it more palatable for the employees and helps them retain it.”
Utilizing this method of training is also a good way to strengthen the bond between management and the employees, he said.
“On that day we are all involved in the same rooms,” said Wolfe. “We are able to interact and talk ... We are in a much more relaxed environment and it is very enjoyable.”
Yamaha hopes that this method of training could also be useful to any other company that would like to use it.
“If other companies here in the industrial park or even in surrounding counties would like to learn more about how we operate this then we will gladly help,” said Wolfe. “If we can share this and how we do it, what it costs, and all of the obligations ... we would be more than happy to share the information.”
Wolfe expressed his hope that other companies will take interest in projects such as this.
“I would like to encourage all our local companies to engage in the safety trade and make sure that it truly is effective because you can’t ever do too much to try to keep people safe,” said Wolfe. “It only takes one very unfortunate and terrible tragedy to really drive it home and I don’t think any of us want that.”