Safety is a Conversation
Insights from Dominic DiCarlo and Dr. Stephen Neel
June 01, 2023
Safety is more than just a priority at Lineage—it's a dynamic conversation. In this Q&A session, we sit down with Dominic DiCarlo, VP of Global Safety & Compliance, and Dr. Stephen Neel, VP of Global Food Optimization, for an inside look at Lineage’s genuine commitment to fostering a robust safety culture and the continuous conversations that forge the way.
How does Lineage prioritize and promote a culture of safety at the site level and in food safety?
Dominic: The safety culture at Lineage is part of our DNA and it’s embedded in everything that we do. A true safety culture is a combination of attitudes, values and actions that influence how things are done.
Dr. Neel: Keeping our workers, environment and customer’s food products safe is our number one core value, and, like Dominic said, it’s at the heart of everything we do as a service provider to the perishable food industry. Not only do we approach food safety from the standpoint of regulatory compliance, but we also see food safety as a fundamental and non-negotiable ‘right’ of our customers.
How does Lineage encourage our team to actively participate in safety conversations and initiatives?
Dominic: Each facility has a safety committee that helps drive the safety culture at their location. This is done not only by driving safety and compliance programs and initiatives but just as importantly by listening to our team members and continuously looking for opportunities to get better. At Lineage, we encourage near miss reporting, investigate opportunities and develop solutions to potential problems before they even occur.
Dr. Neel: For food safety and optimization, we support safety conversations at the site level through frequent interaction, both virtual and face-to-face, with the Lineage Food Optimization Team. Each Food Ops team member is responsible for facilities in their region, and conducts outreach, training, communication and support through regularly scheduled visits and meetings. We’ve created a “Risk Matrix” to help our team prioritize outreach and support to those sites with higher exposure to food safety and food quality risk.
How does Lineage keep pushing the needle forward in site safety and food safety?
Dominic: Lineage’s Behavior Based Safety Observation (BBSO) program is a process that creates a safety partnership between our site leaders and team members to continually focus attention and action on daily safety behaviors. It’s an effective tool in improving Lineage’s safety performance while identifying opportunities for improvement. BBSO is intended to focus workers' attention on their own and their peers' daily safety behavior to ensure we’re always looking out for each other and for ways to get better. This data is collected and tracked to help each facility conduct more meaningful observations and interventions.
Dr. Neel: We incorporate basic food safety awareness into our onboarding process, and we’re always looking for ways to build and improve food safety and food quality experience at the site level. Our team has been working to develop fundamental food safety and food quality training programs to share through site-based outreach. We are identifying food safety points of contact at each of our global sites to serve as primary contacts through which we can share training tools and food safety knowledge.
What role does technology play in supporting Lineage’s commitment to safety for team members?
Dominic: Lineage continues to look for technical advances to improve all aspects of our operations, including safety. We have partnered with StrongArm Technologies at a number of our facilities to incorporate cutting-edge safety wearables to track repetitive motion activities and look for opportunities to improve the physical performance of our team members. It also helps identify opportunities to improve the safety of the physical environment and layout where these team members work.
What about technology for food safety?
Dr. Neel: Technology certainly plays a significant role in enhancing food safety. Monitoring systems, software controls, smart devices and other types of technology enhance our ability to measure and manage food safety and food quality risk. However, I’m also a firm believer in putting our ‘eyes and nose’ in the building to assess risk. I encourage my team to get ‘boots on the ground’ to tour facilities as often as possible to see and smell food interactions, unsafe conditions or handling practices that could introduce risk or damage to food.
How does Lineage prioritize and promote psychological safety within the organization?
Dominic: At Lineage, we encourage team members to speak up, not only if they have a safety concern, but also if they see an opportunity for us to get better. You can’t have a true safety culture without supporting the psychological safety of our team members, and we rely on all levels of the organization and all functions to identify opportunities to drive continuous improvement. That’s how you make safety part of your DNA.
Unleashing the Power of Continuous Safety Conversations
At Lineage, we take safety seriously, and it’s a conversation that never stops. We believe in open dialogue at every level and are always striving to get better. We are unwavering in our commitment to creating a safe workplace for our team and ensuring the highest level of safety and quality for our customers’ food. In the end, it’s the commitment to continuous safety conversations that sets Lineage apart, ensuring the safety and well-being of our team and the highest quality for the food which we are entrusted with.