(Certified Best Practice by BMPCOE)
Polaroid Corporation - Waltham, MA
Prior to 1989, Polaroid had an OSHA recordable incident rate of 2.4 while the average national manufacturers' incident rate was 8 to 9. In 1989, Polaroid established the Reinforcing Safety Values at Polaroid (RSVP) program. As a management tool, the RSVP program was designed and developed to reduce Polaroid's serious injury rate by 50% and to reinforce safety values. Polaroid's goal is to minimize accidents and eliminate hazards in the workplace and to enhance its leadership role in safety issues.
Initially used as a tool for safety audit team members, the RSVP program has expanded throughout Polaroid's divisions. The RSVP program is also used as the basis for auditing six important aspects of its management system, and for performing in-depth root causal analysis of accidents and illnesses. The program's effectiveness relies on the following six critical factors for safety performance:
- Knowledge, which identifies and communicates safety responsibilities, workplace hazards, and required precautions.
- Ability, which ensures employees have the necessary capabilities and skills to do their jobs and tasks safely.
- Motivation, which confronts deviations from and generally reinforces safety values, rules, and expectations.
- Design, which applies engineering design safety standards and performs hazards analyses.
- Maintenance, which establishes and implements equipment and facility safety inspections and maintenance.
- Actions of Others, which instruct employees who impact the workplace, inside or outside the organization, and ensure their actions do not create unsafe conditions.
As the governing components and foundation of the RSVP Accident Triangle, the six critical factors illustrate the relationship between accidents, injuries, injury causation, and injury prevention. These factors also show the underlying influences on individual behaviors and workplace conditions of safety performance. In addition, the six critical factors are part of the Evaluator, a tool to investigate and analyze accidents, and of the Preventor, a tool used for accident prevention. All these tools comprise the RSVP Pocket guide which employees receive as part of their safety training, along with the pocket-sized RSVP Polaroid Safety Guidebook and an in-house produced video. Risk Matrix is another part of the RSVP Program. This tool assesses hazard levels, establishes safety criteria, prioritizes opportunities for safety performance improvement, determines acceptable and unacceptable risks, and justifies expenditures for corrective action.
Safety management programs are successful only if a company establishes safety and employee well-being as one of its core operating values. Polaroid's safety and health policy is firmly committed to this principle. Through its RSVP program, Polaroid has established a proven track record for plant safety. In 1996, Polaroid had an OSHA recordable incident rate of 1.4.