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Safety in numbers

District’s data key to success

Peekskill, NY, Rural Carrier Miles Johnson said he appreciates the safety observation process, calling it a good way to “get advice on how you can do your job better.”

Westchester District is using data to keep its employees safe on the job.

The district, which encompasses much of the Hudson Valley area of New York state, has developed a simple diagnostic tool that permits top managers to analyze local work hour and accident data.

“If you don’t understand what the world is telling you through current data, then you’re just guessing,” said Robert Lukas, the district’s human resources manager. “The data reveals the trends, so we can react to what’s happening in accidents immediately, not two weeks later.”

Last fall, this emphasis on employee safety helped Westchester earn a USPS Safety Leadership and Vision Award, which honors areas and districts that exceed requirements in maintaining safe workplaces.

Westchester was also honored in 2019, the year the program was introduced.

The district’s diagnostic tool has been critical to helping leadership spread the word that safety matters. The data produced by the tool is shared widely, including a prominent spot on the Westchester Blue page.

“It’s proven accurate, there’s credibility with the data and the leadership is used to using it and seeing where we stand today. There’s no secret about it. We share it every chance we get to different Post Office safety teams, Postmasters and employees,” Lukas said.

In addition to the data, Westchester also follows other safety best practices, including emphasizing the importance of safety-themed stand-up talks and requiring managers and supervisors to observe employees while they work.

This program isn’t just about catching employees behaving badly; it’s also about recognizing and rewarding good behavior.

“If somebody is observed on the job doing everything right, a discussion is needed with them just as with someone who did some egregious thing,” Lukas said.

Miles Johnson, a rural carrier in Peekskill, NY, said he appreciates the observation process, which he has experienced himself.

“I think that it makes everybody more efficient in how they’re executing their duties. If you can get advice on how you can do your job better, it’s always beneficial,” he said.

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