Original Date: 02/26/2001
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Safety Program Enhancement
Since implementing the Safety Program Enhancement, General Dynamics Armament Systems significantly reduced its worker’s compensation costs, lowered its Lost Work Day Case Rate to a near world-class category, and is providing a better working environment for its employees. The Program features a unique goal setting and action plan process that involves and supports all employees. Expansion of this Program to General Dynamics Armament Systems’ suppliers and partners is also helping to create healthier and safer working conditions for others as well as drive down the cost of goods and services procured.
Previously, General Dynamics Armament Systems (GDAS) used an environmental, health, and safety program that met the needs of the company as well as all OSHA requirements. However, analysis of the data collected by the company revealed that its Lost Work Day Case Rate (an industry-accepted metric of missed workdays per 100 workers) was climbing at an unacceptable rate. Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ SIC code for a business like GDAS, the maximum Lost Work Day Case Rate is 2.2. Although GDAS’ rate was only 1.7, the company wanted to reverse the trend which had developed over the past two years. The direct cost of medical insurance and lost productivity was also contributing to higher product costs within the company. Liability issues (e.g., fines, lawsuits) were another concern by the company which felt a moral obligation to provide a safer workplace for its employees. In 1997, GDAS responded by developing the Safety Program Enhancement, whereby a number of aggressive goals were set for a number of measurable safety attributes.
One goal was to become world class in the area of Lost Work Day Case Rate. The company defined world class as being less than 25% of the SIC code rate. Among the actions taken to achieve this goal were: Develop and incorporate an audit program to effectively identify root cause and take corrective actions on accidents.
Develop standard policies and procedures as they relate to safety and environmental health.
Establish a web site that provides users with a comprehensive list of safety policies and procedures; training resources; Material Safety Data Sheets on materials used by the company; and goals and related performance to those goals.
Establish a safety committee comprised of hourly and salaried representatives from manufacturing; engineering; the union; and environmental, health, and safety that regularly reviews injuries, near misses, self-audit findings, and opportunities for improvement.
Develop and implement a contractor safety program to which all contractors in the facilities must adhere.
Add an intensive proactive approach to the ergonomic needs of the employees by re-engineering the workplaces and equipment, decreasing lifting requirements of employees, reducing repetitive operations, increasing supervisors’ awareness of ergonomic needs, and developing innovative work hardening programs for employees.
The Safety Program Enhancement is a proactive approach which enabled GDAS to make a concentrated effort toward managing environmental, health, and safety-related issues. As a result, the company has significantly decreased its Lost Work Day Case Rate and its Overall Injury Trends. Figure 2-2 shows a pareto chart of Lost Work Day Case Rates for 1995 through 2002. Figure 2-3 shows the downward spiraling injury trends by month for 1998 through 2000. In addition, the company decreased its worker’s compensation costs by approximately 75%. Key lessons learned from the Safety Program Enhancement have been used to build a new model to help the company’s supplier network and strategic partners establish cost-effective safety programs at their facilities. Expansion of the Safety Program Enhancement will also enable the company’s suppliers and partners to reduce their product costs which, in turn, will decrease the cost of goods and services procured by GDAS.
Figure 2-2. Injury Rate Chart
Figure 2-3. Injury Trend Analysis Chart
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