Original Date: 04/26/2004
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Safety Program
Employees at United Defense, L.P. Armament Systems Division Aberdeen have been involved in developing and implementing continuous safety improvements. The Safety Program has resulted in a significant reduction in injury rates, despite higher exposure hours.
In the late 1980s, United Defense, L.P. Armament Systems Division (UDLP ASD) Aberdeen focused on producing various missile canisters a new product line for the facility. At that time, there was little emphasis on safety and, as a result, the recordable injury rate was as high as 25 per 150,000 exposure hours. Between 1987 and 1991, the lost workday injury rate climbed from zero to five per year as the exposure hours increased from 150,000 to 200,000.
In 1991, UDLP ASD Aberdeen placed a higher emphasis on safety with employee involvement. The new focus became to safely produce a quality product on schedule at the lowest achievable cost, and made employees responsible for their own safety and the safety of their co-workers. This responsibility is designated in the plant’s credo, the safety policy, and the performance appraisal process (a yearly evaluation of an employee's performance). Additionally, manufacturing procedures include how to safely produce products. These procedures include operations such as welding, painting, cutting, and heavy material handling. Employees are also involved in developing and implementing improvements in safety by improving fixtures and tools, including enhanced ergonomics, reduced manual handling, reduced manual welding, use of air pallets, and an improved dust collection system. The employees' responsibilities are further enhanced with the utilization of a safety committee, comprised of six shop technicians and several management support staff. The shop technicians (safety representatives) must be experienced in three of the five manufacturing areas and attend OSHA training. The safety representatives conduct three types of safety audits monthly. The rotation of representatives in each work area allows all work areas to be audited once a week. Logs are kept to ensure follow-through on action items. One-on-one feedback is provided to co-workers on the utilization of safe and unsafe practices during weekly team meetings and performance appraisals. Safety is also included as part of the performance sharing plan.
Positive results were realized from the implementation of the Safety Program (Figure 2-5). The lost workday injury rate in 1991 was five for 200,000 exposure hours. By 1994, the lost workday injury rate dropped to zero for 130,000 exposure hours. Since 1991, the lost workday injury rate has been at two or less, despite an increase in exposure hours. Between 1991 and 1995, the recordable injury rate dropped from 20 to four and has remained between four and six, despite increasing exposure hours.
Figure 2-5. Injury Rate History vs. Industry Average
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