(Certified Best Practice by BMPCOE)
Polaroid Corporation - Waltham, MA
In October 1985, Polaroid decided to enhance the plant safety program at its Battery Division because of a rise in accident rates. As a result, Polaroid established the Safety Ambassador program. The program enabled Polaroid to improve the Division's safety record by making each employee a contributing element of the process and incorporating safety with other aspects of production. When implemented, the program provided meaningful measure and safety performance display metrics.
For the program to be successful, Polaroid's first step was to involve its employees. Initially, only salaried employees became safety ambassadors; however, the program eventually expanded to include all salaried and hourly employees within the Battery Division. Employees were not trained as law enforcers but rather as ambassadors for continual safety improvement. Ambassador routes were developed to find known problem areas, potential hazards, and possible risk areas. In addition, formal check-off lists were maintained to record compliant and problem areas. Those areas requiring attention were noted and received corrective measures.
Through its program, Polaroid reduced the Battery Division's injury rates by 50% and increased all employees' awareness on recognizing risk and problem areas (e.g., blocking exits, neglecting safety
guards on equipment) which can affect safety within the plant. In addition, Polaroid operates the program as a recognition and reward system. Incentives for ambassadors include special designated parking spaces and "safety nickels" which allow employees to purchase film, cameras, and other company products.
Polaroid's Safety Ambassador program empowers employees to initiate improvement; recognize risk areas; and create and manage safety measures in their workplace. Polaroid's goal for its program is a zero-accident rate.