|Title:||United States metalcasting industry recordable injury and illness cases per 100 full-time employees for 2008 and 2009|
Start of full article - but without data
Recordable Injury and Illness Cases Per XXX Full-Time Workers
Facility Type 2008 2009
All Manufacturing X X.X
Metalcasting Facilities XX.X X.X
Iron Metalcasters XX XX.X
Steel Metalcasters XX.X X.X
Steel Investment Casters X.X X.X
Aluminum Metalcasters XX.X X
Copper Metalcasters X.X X.X
Aluminum Diecasters X.X X.X
Other Nonferrous Diecasters X.X X.X
During a monthly meeting early in 1994, General Motors board member Paul O'Neill asked for the status of workplace safety within the company. At the time, GM thought it had a good safety program and compared favorably to its competitors. Together with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, the company implemented programs to control lock out, hazardous materials control, mobile equipment, fork truck operations and rigging processes. GMs focus was on high risk jobs--many of which are in metalcasting facilities--in order to reduce fatalities and serious injuries.
It was O'Neill's questions, however, that forced GM to take a better look at its workplace safety performance. The company expanded its benchmarking to other industries and found that even coal mines had a lower recordable injury rate. At the end of 1993, the total recordable injury rate for GM's U.S. operations was XX.XX%. To address this, a working committee was established to review and provide recommendations to improve safety performance. The committee was chaired by an assistant general counsel, and members came from manufacturing leadership, supplemented by internal safety professionals. One GM metalcasting facility, Saginaw Metal Castings Operations, Saginaw, Mich., led the way in maintenance work planning. The facility's planning process, developed over several years, became the model for all other GM plants.
Working in Phases
The newly created working committee met several times with outside experts and benchmark companies, such as Alcoa, Allied Signal and DuPont. GM soon learned the benchmark companies had embraced workplace safety as a core value. Manufacturing leadership was responsible for the safety of its workers, and the leaders were held accountable. The work of the committee would lead to Phase I recommendations, all of which were implemented. First, the GM President's Council, made up of the highest GM executives, wrote its own workplace safety policy. GM adopted its "Absolutes of Safety," two brief statements to capture the essence of the new policy: "Safety Is the Overriding Priority" and "All Incidents Can Be Prevented." The policy and the safety absolutes remain in effect today at all GM locations.
A Manufacturing Managers Council (MMC) was given the responsibility of managing the safety culture change and to improve GMs safety mance. Late in the third quarter of 1994, GM directed that each manufacturing unit must reduce its recordable injury rate and lost workday case rate by XX% within three years, based on the 1993 year end rates. To build awareness of the safety culture change, each plant had to implement a visitor protocol safety process, post injury information on a green cross diagram, create a pin map of injuries and adopt the safety absolutes. The company-wide improvements, which are correlated to the metalcasting division improvements, are shown in Figs. X and X.
A second committee was established to develop Phase II of the safety culture change process. This committee was chaired by a plant manager but included more safety professionals. The Phase II committee met frequently at different plants and evaluated various methods to accomplish its goal to give the organization a common approach.
Phase II consisted of adopting four core safety elements at GM. Following is a review of the elements.
The Four Keys
The first element of the safety culture change was the creation of a Plant Safety Review Board (PSRB). The PSRB was vital to keep the key elements of the plant safety program intertwined. Incidents could lead to examinations focused on certain causes, contributing factors and behaviors. For example, after a serious incident in a plant in the GM Powertrain division, which includes the company's metal-casting facilities, a special procedure for lock out was developed. Many plant managers and other leaders responded that they encountered situations in their plants that made it difficult for workers to comply with the lock out requirements. This information lead to modified and improved safety practices, as well as system and equipment design changes, throughout the company.
Prior to the implementation of PSRBs, most GM plants, including its metalcasting facilities, held a monthly safety meeting that was the responsibility of the plant safety supervisor. After Phase II, it was the responsibility of the plant manager to lead or make it clear that safety was a leadership responsibility. The meetings were scheduled monthly, and attendance was mandatory for the manager and staff. The safety supervisor's role was to facilitate the meeting and provide the information needed to accomplish the agenda. The local UAW shop chair co-led the PSRB, and the local union leadership was invited to participate in the agenda. Plants were encouraged to make the meetings more strategic by spending more time on planning initiatives for safety process improvement. Minutes were published so the entire plant workforce could see the leadership direction for workplace safety.
Second, Safety Observation Tours (SOT) replaced traditional leadership safety and housekeeping inspections. SOTs were conducted by leadership--both management and union--on a frequency established during the roll out sessions for each plant. Safety inspections continued, but they focused on specific safety conditions, where SOTs examined the actions of workers. For safety management, field observations provide a comparison between observed performance and established standards. During an SOT, the leader observed workers at their job, and then engaged in conversations about their safety. The observations were collected by the safety supervisor and presented as aggregate data to the PSRB. Often, the combined observations showed a trend that led to a strategic initiative by the PSRB.
The method and responsibility of incident investigations also changed ' in the new safety culture. Before the change, some investigations blamed the injured worker or others. Updated incident investigations were designed to establish a root cause and contributing factors based on a detailed factual exploration. To discover root cause, the investigator used the "X Why's" technique of asking "why" in succession until a correctable cause could be discovered. The term "accident" was eliminated, as accidents were believed to just happen without any control, while incidents were caused and could be prevented with proper controls.
Supervisors and individual manufacturing line organizations were given the responsibility of investigating the incidents and implementing the appropriate corrective actions, and time limits were placed on reporting incidents to upper management. Minor incidents and recordable injuries had to be initially reported before the end of the work shift, and a written report was due within two or three days. For lost workday cases, a written report authorized by the plant manager was filed with the manufacturing manager, divisional safety manager and UAW divisional representative within XX hours. A common incident report was adopted as a teaching tool.
The fourth key element was implementing Workplace Safety Practices, which include safety training, safety awareness, safety enthusiasm and detailed job safety instructions. These safety instructions became the responsibility of the manufacturing line organization to create, implement and monitor, and safety professionals were in place to provide oversight and guidance. Over the years, a concept called "task hazard recognition and control" evolved. It was observed that incidents occurred because all of the hazards of a task, especially low frequency tasks such as maintenance, were not adequately controlled in a task plan.
Plant Level Process Improvements
At GMs Saginaw Metal Casting Operations the car maker implemented a system in which a task safety card was required to be completed in advance for each maintenance task. For many tasks, the card was simple and completed at the start of the shift or when the task was assigned. These cards were audited by supervisors and other leaders throughout the day. Every Monday during a dedicated meeting, the cards were made available for review by the Maintenance Safety Team. The joint maintenance leadership then evaluated the tasks performed, the problems or safety issues identified and the corrections put into place. During a dedicated meeting the following day, all incidents (even minor ones) were reviewed in detail, and action plans were reviewed. On Thursday, plans were developed for weekend work. Often, these tasks required special procedures, equipment and training to perform safely. Plans were approved by the senior maintenance leaders to be sure all aspects of the tasks were accounted for. The results of these tasks were also reviewed at the Monday meeting. The resulting Principles of a Task Hazard Recognition and Control concept was incorporated into the UAW-GM Maintenance Worker Safety Training program released in 2009.
At all GM plants, Orange Crush Zones were developed to restrict unauthorized persons from entering plant areas congested with material handling vehicles. These were typically shipping and receiving docks and material storage areas. These areas were identified by bright orange aisle stripes and column signs. Persons entering these areas were required to wear highly visible orange vests so mobile equipment operators could see them more easily while maneuvering in tight spaces.
GM recognized through data analysis that incidents tended to increase after extended time off, particularly the Christmas and summer shutdown periods, production downtime weeks and even three or four-day weekends. As a result, a Shutdown Safety Process was developed. Prior to the shutdown, safety messages were increased and focused on off-the-job safety Special procedures were instituted for any work that was to be performed in plants during the shutdown. Set procedures were used to properly identify and control the potential task hazards of these jobs in advance. If the tools, materials, procedures and trained workers were not in place prior to the shutdown, the task would not be performed. Upon the return to work after the shutdown or holiday period, workers were required to attend a safety talk and quality message prior to starting their jobs. Often, joint plant leaders would be at the plant entrances to personally remind employees of the importance of safety. This common practice virtually eliminated serious incidents and greatly reduced the rate of incidents immediately after returning to work.
The "Go and See" procedure was another enhancement instituted during the incident investigation process. While each incident often called for a prompt detailed report-out, the Go and See process took senior plant leaders to the site of the incident or employee concern in order to understand all aspects of the situation.
Maintaining the Momentum
It took almost X.X years for GM to completely cascade the leadership training to the first line supervisors at all plants in North America. By that time, the initial timeframe for the XX% reduction in total recordable injury and lost workday case rate had expired. Most divisions had met or were very close to the required improvements. From then on, targets were set on a three-year cycle. A XX% improvement over the previous target was typical, although periodically targets were adjusted due to major changes in plants or divisions. Eventually, targets were based on benchmark levels. Incident and severity rates were obtained from similar companies in the automotive industry, as well as other industries.
Over the years, the total recordable rate and lost workday case rate remained the two performance metrics. But leadership realized that to continuously improve, it had to look farther upstream. Most facilities started to measure first aid visits and investigate these minor incidents with the same intensity as more serious cases. Near-miss incidents received significant attention. Safety messages, including video tapes of high ranking manufacturing executives encouraging the reporting of near-miss incidents, added emphasis and credibility to this initiative.
Over time, GM and UAW developed its own leadership safety training, with experiences and examples across GM added to the materials to provide additional validity to the process. Plant managers and local union chairpersons were gathered for a daylong session taught by the manufacturing managers and regional union representatives. The course materials were also used to conduct sessions for new leaders and periodically as refresher sessions to keep the groups consistent on the principles of the key elements. Plant managers new to a facility were encouraged to conduct a session with their leadership team to reinforce their personal beliefs in workplace safety and establish their personal involvement with the process.
A fifth key element also was added to the system--the Employee Concerns Process--in which an employee with a health or safety-related issue was empowered to raise the matter with his or her immediate supervisor, who then had a week to address it. The concern could only be closed if the employee agreed the resolution was acceptable. Higher level management was responsible for all issues open beyond one week, and reports were generated to demonstrate the effectiveness of the process. All issues open beyond XX days were to be resolved at the PSRB level. Workers were encouraged to use this process but were not prohibited from using other forums for complaints. Most facilities supplemented other existing processes for problem resolution with the Employee Concerns Process.
RELATED ARTICLE: SAFETY ON A SMALLER SCALE
The safety revolution at GM was a massive, national over-haul. But what can small facilities take away from what the company did? Here is how GM transformed itself in a nutshell.
* Empower the Plant Manager--Leadership has to show that it is on board with safety. By making the plant manager more visible in safety efforts(rather than allowing the safety officer to work autonomously), GM was able to show everyone it was serious about improving its record.
* Create a Safety mission Statement--GM was able to sum up its new philosophy in two short sentences. Be sure you have a concise way of building a safety culture in your plant.
* Form Committees That Represent Everyone--All of the important subsections of your facility (administrative, engineering, maintenance and shop floor) must be represented in safety planning and decision making.
* Set Goals--GM mandated that each manufacturing unit reduce its recordable injury rate and lost workday case rate by XX% within three years. It achieved that goal and then set rolling goals going forward.
* Benchmark--Gm recognized it was less safe than coal mines early in the 1990s. So it made a safe company in another industry (DuPont) it model for safety in the future.
* Strategize, Review Success, Review Failure-GM's four key elements to its phase II transformation were successful in creating an ongoing culture of safety in which committees developed plans and then changed the way they conducted reviews of how the plans were carried out.
--Shea Gibbs, Senior Editor
RELATED ARTICLE: ANOTHER SAFETY REVOLUTION
Several years ago, the casting division of manufacturer Lufkin Industries, Lufkin, Texas, achieved more than X million man hours worked without a lost time accident The company's accident rate also fell well below the national average. Visit the link at right for more info.