Original Date: 09/15/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Safety Operations
United Defense, L.P. Ground Systems Division Aiken has an outstanding and proactive health and safety program. The effectiveness of this program is evidenced by its safety record of 13 consecutive years and more than seven million work hours without a lost-time accident. The company has also been accepted into the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program, which allowed it to develop a closer working relationship with OSHA.
Safety is a number one priority at United Defense, L.P. Ground Systems Division (UDLP GSD) Aiken. This philosophy is firmly ingrained into the culture of the organization and encompasses everything done at the facility. The facility’s mission statement is “To SAFELY Produce A Quality Product On Time At A Competitive Cost.” Safety awareness is prominent as it greets visitors to the facility as they walk up to the door. Embedded into the facility’s walkway are concrete blocks making visitors aware of the plant’s outstanding safety record, publicizing major milestones of the millions of hours its employees have worked without a lost-time accident. The company has had only two lost-time accidents since the facility began operations in 1982. In 2003, this record stands at seven million accident-free hours spanning a period of 13 years.
Management and resource teams at UDLP GSD Aiken take ownership and are held responsible for improving the level of safety performance in numerous areas of the facility that concern the safety and health of employees. Strong leadership, direction, and technical expertise are provided to all employees to ensure that safe work practices are followed both on-the-job and off-the-job, and that physical hazards within the facility are eliminated or minimized. The leadership ensures that the latest local, state, and federal safety regulations are not only followed but exceeded. The responsibility for working safely is passed down to all employees and contractors working safely is a condition of employment at UDLP GSD Aiken. It is believed that both employees and contract workers must assume a 100% level of responsibility for working safely and striving for an injury-free work place. Worker participation in plant safety is not only encouraged and rewarded, it is also expected. All employees are involved in the day-to-day management of safety processes through their involvement in the plant safety committee, office safety committee, safety resource network, management safety, or weekly safety meetings.
The plant safety committee is made up of 11 employees, one from each of the different areas of the shop floor, and meets monthly to review issues, concerns, trends, and actual performance, and makes recommendations for improvement. Chaired by the Safety Engineer, the committee’s main purpose is to provide a focal point for team and employee involvement in plant safety initiatives. The committee’s duties are varied and include communicating the information received at plant safety committee meetings to all shifts in the respective cell family. The office safety committee is made up of four representatives from different office areas, and meets quarterly to review issues, concerns, trends, and performances, and makes recommendations for health or safety improvements. The office safety committee is chaired by the Human Resources Administrator and provides a focal point for team and employee involvement in office health and safety issues. UDLP GSD Aiken’s plant manager and staff are proactive in plant safety and meet monthly to review the overall safety program at the facility. This helps provide management direction and ensures that continuous improvement is achieved.
UDLP GSD Aiken has been a member of OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) since 1994, and has been re-certified twice as a VPP site since original certification. The VPP promotes effective worksite-based safety and health where management, labor, and OSHA establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented a comprehensive safety and health management system. Acceptance into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of employers’ and employees’ outstanding efforts of exemplary occupational safety and health.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.