Sunday, December 10, 2006

Creating Safe Workplaces

An applied example of corporate safety programs ...

"Alcoa and Omron STI combined talents and resources to provide unique, high-quality EHS services as well as comprehensive machine guarding solutions for clients and prospects.

Most companies in the United States are extremely sensitive about maintaining the safest possible working environment in their plants or mills, and managers are serious about enforcing rules and policies that protect the health and safety of all employees.

In fact, comments made by spokespersons of companies such as Alcoa, Tyco and United Technologies indicate that safety comes before productivity and quality. They believe that without a safe workplace, production, quality and financial performance goals are not likely met or sustained.

"Alcoa wants its employees and contractors to be able to work safely in a manner that protects and promotes the health and well-being of the individual and the environment," says Jeff Shockey, Alcoa's director of safety and regional services. "While every Alcoa manager and employee must be fiscally responsible to the shareholders of the company, we value human life above all else and try to manage our risks accordingly."

When a company protects its employees, treats them fairly and obeys the law, then other benefits will follow, including improved morale, trust and respect; better company image; and workers' compensation reductions.

It is a proven fact that plants that have good safety performance generally run better from the quality, labor relations and overall business perspective. For example, widely quoted results of a poll conducted by the Liberty Mutual Group indicate that 61 percent of the executives estimate that their companies saved $3 for every $1 spent on workplace protection.

An EHS manager typically is responsible for compliance with standards that cover air, water, waste, land, chemical programs management and employee health and safety.

According to Shockey, the following are the four main activities undertaken in support of Alcoa's safety system:

• Assessing the risks, aspects and impacts associated with our products, services and operations.
• Developing and implementing operational controls with built-in layers of protection.
• Monitoring and maintaining the risk assessment, controls and implementation to ensure they are current and effective.
• Reacting to correct gaps in our protective systems and continuously improve system stability."    (Continued via Occupational Hazards)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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