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2017 Safety Excellence Award Winner: PotashCorp

  • PotashCorp has developed an integrated safety culture with an especially deep approach to serious injury and fatality (SIF) prevention, which includes reviewing routine tasks for risk, integrating injury prevention into all safety processes and follow up on all incidents for SIF potential.

    By recognizing that tools and procedures that decrease injuries as a whole do not always affect SIF rates, empowering workers to identify potential SIF exposure before an incident, and using trained observers to look for potential problems in routine activities, PotashCorp has steadily decreased its rates of injury and of lost time due to injury.

    Advice to Others: "Conventional safety programs have helped us reduce injuries, but we now understand that they do not have the proportionate impact on reducing serious injuries and fatalities. We came to the realization that if we keep doing the same things, we will continue to experience the devastating impact of workplace fatalities. … Our Integration process continues to utilize SIF prevention training and worker involvement in our reactive and proactive SIF prevention programs to saturate our culture with a new SIF prevention thinking that permeates everything we do."

    Finalist: The Boeing Company - Boeing Fabrication

    Boeing Fabrication supplies critical parts to commercial airplane programs from 12 primarily manufacturing sites in three countries. By centralizing the safety processes across business units, increasing safety awareness training across levels, empowering employees to identify and mitigate risk, and identifying and changing internal attitudes acting as a barrier to safety, Boeing Fabrication has become a gold standard for safety in the Boeing Company.

    Near-miss reporting has increased by more than 800%, and lost workday case rate decreased by 71% between 2012 and 2016. Boeing Fabrication went from a philosophy that some risk was acceptable and the goal should be improvement to embracing a belief that no injury is justified.

    Advice to others: "Changing culture can seem to be a daunting task, as cultures are different in areas, sites and companies. … Employee engagement in safety is critical. Start with regular safety discussions every day with all employees. Listen for their doubts and concerns, take action to remove roadblocks and empower them to be responsible for their own safety, as well as their teammates. Utilize leading indicators, such as near misses and hazard identification, to (expose) issues and provide the opportunity to solve the problems before injuries occur. Integrate safety into the regular rhythm of daily management, so working safely becomes part of the job."

    Finalist: Chatham County, GA, Government

    In 2015, the newly established Chatham County Occupational Safety and Risk Management Department tackled the problem of rear-end collisions. Team members were being rear-ended at a rate of once per month. The direct cost of these collisions between 2012 and 2015 was $309,651, with an estimated additional indirect cost of $247,720.

    By aggressively marking the vehicles in the fleet with high-visibility contrasting tape as they rotated through the preventative maintenance cycle, Chatham County decreased the number of rear end collisions by more than 75% – with only one collision involving a marked vehicle.

    Advice to Others: "Change is never easy. Resistance is often encountered for a plethora of reasons. Being able to show the benefits and prove effectiveness is the cornerstone in driving change in any organization. … By utilizing data and return on investment we, as safety professionals, are able to speak the language of the change makers in the organization to gain momentum and support for our change efforts. Large-scale safety improvements are a process. Each process needs to be well planned, executed and adjusted to ensure success."

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The National Safety Council eliminates preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.

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