Press Releases

Empowering Employees to Create a Culture of Safety by Grace Huang, President, Inventory Solutions

In 1996, the National Safety Council declared June “National Safety Month,” a time to reflect on working conditions around the country and how to create safer environments. Two decades later, it serves as an important reminder each year that workplace safety requires commitment each and every day from both a company and its employees.

At Manheim, safety is a core value and at the heart of everything we do. As workplace concerns are ever-changing, our program follows a blueprint for constant assessment to refine and enhance our processes and create a culture of continuous learning and improvement.

Research shows that employees benefit from ongoing safety training and regular safety skills refreshers. Our approach includes providing customized, department-specific training and expanding access by delivering the training in various formats for on-demand, mobile and e-learning. For instance, from a safety perspective, Manheim’s planning for the industry’s transformation toward electric vehicles has included partnering with stakeholders and subject-matter experts to develop detailed, job-specific training and certifications beyond the industry standard.

What we’ve discovered is that a successful approach to workplace safety includes three key elements that may also be helpful to your business:

1. Engaging employees

Employees are a vital part of creating a proactive safety culture. They are on the front lines for how work gets done and can provide real-world experience to detect and prevent risks.

Manheim’s safety culture includes our “Near Miss” initiative that engages all employees in reporting near-miss occurrences, helping us identify risk-related trends and take action to prevent future incidents. The capstone of this program is a two-month Safety Madness Tournament of Champions that takes place each spring. Patterned after the NCAA’s March Madness men's basketball tournament, this friendly competition pits teams from different auction locations, and this year it culminated in the correcting or eliminating 78 percent of reported risks. A special shoutout to our 2022 Final Four teams: Manheim San Diego, Manheim Seattle, Manheim Southern California and Manheim St. Pete.

“Take 2 for Safety” is another initiative to engage employees. Manheim’s field locations and corporate sites nationwide start each day with a two-minute safety reminder, including seasonal tips such as avoiding winter’s slip-and-fall ice hazards and staying hydrated during the hot summer months. This consistent, ‘top of mind’ reminder to everyone has been invaluable to building a culture of safety.

2. Ongoing investments

Manheim has invested nearly $10 million in recent years on safety protocols and programs that empower our nearly 12,000 team members to take active roles in their own safety. These are a few examples.

A Safety Assessment Tool enables our auctions to address both nationwide safety concerns as well as issues unique to individual locations, creating a continuous improvement culture. Using this tool, Manheim Albany recently implemented several actions to mitigate risks, including putting flags on employee’s cars to reduce foot traffic on the lots, installing auction arena markings for stopping and speed restrictions, stop signs at high-traffic intersections and pedestrian crosswalk markings.

Our recent investment in weather safety technology provides customized monitoring of conditions for each of our 76 physical locations across the country. In partnership with AccuWeather and Cox Security, location leaders receive early warnings about severe weather by text and email allowing them to respond ahead of time to impending conditions that may impact operations or the safety of our clients and team members.

LotVision, Manheim’s GPS-based vehicle tracking device, directs clients and employees to locate vehicles on auction lots to within 10 feet. This investment is reducing the need to move vehicles on our lots and, as a result, lowering the total number of overall pedestrian incidents.

3. Recognition

Recognition and reward for a job well done fulfills a basic human need for acknowledgement and encouragement. Experts in occupational safety recommend incorporating this concept into safety programs to drive positive behavior. At Manheim, we have a quarterly awards program that recognizes team members who go above and beyond to make safety a priority, focus on corrective actions and locations that demonstrate best-in-class safety outcomes.

As a member of the National Auto Auction Association (NAAA), we also take advantage of the variety of resources they offer to support a safe workplace. Topics ranging from training and certification programs to business continuity planning. To learn more, visit

Investing in a culture of safety that inspires employees to get involved in the process through ongoing engagement and recognition is a win-win for everyone.

Grace Huang is president of Inventory Solutions