Safety is always our first priority at The Port of Virginia. We actively promote a healthy and safe work environment for employees and partners by identifying risks, developing solutions and reinforcing appropriate behavior across our network of terminals. Knowing our strengths and weaknesses is the foundation of health and safety sustainability. One of the many tools of understanding we use to identify those strengths and weaknesses is our internal audit program.
"The single most important lesson that every member of the port team must understand is that all mishaps have a human element and, therefore, can be prevented," said Ronald Babski, vice president of health and safety at the port. "Our colleagues and partners on the ground interacting smartly and safely with each other every day demonstrate our commitment to building a safer workplace."
Our leadership must continually set the right example to foster a safer workplace. Our Executive Safety Leadership and Supervisor Safety Leadership Training Programs educate port executives and managers on the proper strategies to reduce accidents, improve employee morale and analyze incidents. In 2016, a combined 192 executives and supervisors participated in those training programs.
From the top down, all new port colleagues and patrons are required to attend a comprehensive safety orientation. The orientation complements our original document, "The Operational Standards," which details key safety procedures for all port activities.
To reinforce safe behavior at all levels, the Terminal Safety Infraction Policy (TSIP) was instituted to reward excellence and correct unsafe activity. TSIP requires all port workers, contractors, vendors and others to comply with 35 fundamental health and safety rules across all facilities. Port leadership recognizes compliance by documenting excellence, sending letters of recognition and presenting small tokens of gratitude, such as a safety vest, to team members. Meanwhile, corrections to non-compliance are provided through citations ranging from a written warning to a suspension and remedial training.
Along with TSIP, our 5:1 Program ensures safe behavior and the rewards that go along with reinforcing it on a daily basis. The 5:1 Program requires managers and supervisors to positively recognize equipment operators five times for excellence for each time an operator is decertified or retrained for non-compliance. With more than 1,200 exchanges in 2016, TSIP and the 5:1 Program are where the rubber meets the road within our health and safety strategy.
Ultimately, our commitment to health and safety across our terminals results in a more productive, sustainable workforce. While one on-the-job injury is too many, year after year, The Port of Virginia maintains a below-average number of lost work days due to injury compared to industry average.