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A group of people learning at the Steel Partners EH&S Council Meeting

New Ideas, New Friends, and a Bit of Fair Food: IWCO Direct Hosts Steel Partners EH&S Council in MN

Bev Lohs

At the end of August, we welcomed members of the Steel Partners Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) Council to Minnesota for their week-long annual meeting. The 54 members in attendance represented 35 locations from 11 different Steel Partners companies.

The Steel Partners EH&S Council is comprised of health and safety teams, as well as representatives from legal and HR departments at Steel Partners affiliate companies. The Council has been meeting annually for more than a decade to “foster intercompany communications on EH&S compliance issues and provide a forum for sharing best practices.” Our Chanhassen campus acted as home base to facilitate the communication of best management practices for health and safety efforts.

Steel Partners EH&S Council Meetings Take a Deep Dive into Collaboration

The focus of these meetings is to put the collective energy of the Steel Partners portfolio into eliminating environmental, health, and safety issues through the sharing of ideas. At this year’s meeting, eight speakers gave presentations on a variety of topics, ranging from specific safety issues such as machine guard safety, ergonomics, active shooter safety, and distracted driving prevention to the general, including investigating incident reports and the importance of a strong ‘safety first’ message.

Team members also spoke about their current best practices in presentations we called “Above and Beyond.” Team-building events and working groups also occupied much of the meetings, with a number of sub-committees being developed from the work done and insights gathered.

Our end goal was to identify areas of EH&S improvement across all Steel Partners operating companies to improve the health of our employees and the safety of our work environment. Brian Blom, a Safety Lead at IWCO Direct, said, “There are many Steel Partners operational companies with similar issues and common goals. By working together, we will ultimately make our employees and our environment safer and healthier.”

Improving Our EH&S Practices Moving Forward

This annual event has been held for 14 years, and we were proud to host the latest iteration. We were also excited to find that this event coincided with the Minnesota State Fair, and we were lucky enough to spend time at the Fair per the request of our out-of-town guests. The discussions weren’t limited to work hours, either. We found some of our most productive and insightful conversations happened over meals while getting to know our Steel Partners EH&S counterparts.

Following the EH&S meetings, a Kaizen was held on improving machine guarding. Observing the process in action allowed us to continue looking at ways to put some of the week’s discoveries into practice.

We’ll be closely reviewing what we learned to determine how we can best adapt it at IWCO Direct. We had a great time hosting this event, and agree with the feedback received from this year’s event:

“I left Friday feeling jazzed about the opportunities ahead of us, and I’m pumped to convert that enthusiasm into concrete action to elevate our safety.”

“Lots of great takeaways, professionally and personally.”

“I came away with a better understanding of who Steel Partners and Steel Connect is, as well as what my role is in supporting the improvements to the safety of personnel and facilities.”

“This event is another thing that makes me proud to be a Steel Partners employee.”

“I got so much out of it and was injected with an enthusiasm from the group that helped to push forth our efforts in EH&S.”

We’re glad we were able to share our enthusiasm for health and safety efforts with our counterparts on the Steel Partners EH&S Council, and look forward to implementing what we learned during this event.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2019/09/17/steel-ehs-meeting-recap/
Bev Lohs

Author

Bev Lohs

Vice President of Human Resources. Graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater and IWCO Direct team member for nearly 20 years. Favorite award or recognition: Random acts of kindness. Personal business philosophy: “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual” – Vince Lombardi. Loves summer boating, winter dogsledding and the Green Bay Packers.

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