The Poster Project


The Poster Project

DIY safety messages have Plum’s production crew looking out for each other—and each other’s artwork.

Safety is often about statistics, inspections, reporting, paperwork…you get the picture. But Plum Building Systems in Osceola, Iowa has found a fun way to engage employees in the safety program: do-it-yourself safety posters.

“We were looking for posters more specific to our equipment,” said General Manager Rick Parrino, “and even though the manufacturers had some available, they just weren’t very big or very bright.” So Plum’s safety committee took it upon themselves to make their own.

“We sent our operations manager, Steve Baker, to get some big orange poster board,” explained Production Manager Mike Boswell. Then they enlisted one of their sawyers, Jason Cummings, to make the artwork come alive. “Jason is talented; he can draw anything.”

The Plum production crew created posters for specific pieces of equipment and areas of the plant, calling attention to everything from pinch points to required personal protective equipment. The safety committee got “a lot of positive feedback,” Boswell said, and many of the posters remain on the walls, even though the production floor layout has changed and expanded.

“There is a lot of buy-in because they came up with the ideas on their own,” Parrino explained. “Getting your team engaged really goes a long way. People don’t always like being told what to do, but if they’re part of the team that’s putting the program together, they come up with great ideas.”

The next couple of cooler (and potentially slower) months of year are the perfect opportunity to revitalize your company’s safety posters by engaging your employees in the process. “We have a strong safety culture, and our active safety committee is a big part of that,” said Boswell. The management team at Plum has seen it make a difference. When the safety messages are coming from co-workers, it’s clear they’re “looking out for each other,” Boswell said, and it makes an impact. 

About the Author: Molly E. Butz worked with CMs to develop the original SBCA Operation Safety Program and has over 12 years of experience helping CMs develop and maintain safety best practices.