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      NSC HOME > Safety at Work > Leadership > Keith Nosbusch      
 
Keith Nosbusch
Keith Nosbusch
Chairman & CEO
Rockwell Automation Inc.
 
 
Rockwell Automation Inc., the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information is headquartered in Milwaukee. The company employs about 20,000 people serving customers in more than 80 countries.

Why is safety a core value at your company?

These are stressful times. Technology and processes are more complex. Job security is less certain. Many are doing more with less. That’s why a safe and healthy workforce has never been more important. Plus, when we take better care of our own, our colleagues take better care of our customers. That’s how we as a company and our employees will continue to succeed through the current economic downturn and through recovery.

We operate all of our locations in a manner that recognizes safety as fundamental, not just by being the best place to work but, more important, by providing our employees with a place to do their best work. We have defined how we value our colleagues through our “People Value,” an important foundation for a culture where people can do their best work. In uncertain economic times, it is even more important for our people to know we value them. Our safety focus is one of the ways we demonstrate we care about each other and the communities where we live and work.

How do you instill a sense of safety in your employees on an ongoing basis?

Our commitment to safety starts with our board of directors. Our board’s Technology and Corporate Responsibility Committee reviews and assesses our policies and results in several areas, including employee health and safety. We have a comprehensive internal audit program that I review monthly, so we are always reinforcing the importance of safety with the management team. These audits review safety procedures, systems and implementation, and verify compliance with all laws and company policies and procedures.

My senior executive team provides strong support, leadership and resources for health and safety programs. We are visibly engaged and involved. Managers and employees share accountability and responsibility through active involvement in program development, hazard assessments, communications, inspections, training and incident investigations.

Employee awareness, ownership and involvement are critical to safety performance, which is why many of our facilities worldwide have active safety committees that include management and employee representatives. We emphasize prevention, not just correction. We use behavior-based safety observation programs with an objective to identify unsafe conditions and behaviors in advance so they can be corrected before an employee is injured.

Our employees are producing results. We continue to outperform our peers in our safety efforts. Fewer employees are experiencing work-related incidents, and the remaining incidents are less severe. In 2008 and 2009, we saw a significant drop in the number of work-related injuries or illnesses in facilities around the world and, for the third consecutive year, we met all three of our worldwide safety goals.

What is the biggest obstacle to safety in your workplace, and how do you work to overcome it?

As I said before, these are stressful times. Technology and processes are more complex. People are worried about their jobs. Many feel they are expected to do more but with the same amount of, or fewer, resources. We all make mistakes, but that’s why we focus on prevention, not just correction. We want to identify and correct unsafe situations and behaviors before someone is injured.

How does safety “pay” at your company?

We have grown from a company where value was based on what we made to a company today where our value is based on what we know – our intellectual capital. That means our employees are our most valuable competitive advantage and will continue to be a key differentiator. When we take better care of our own, our colleagues take better care of our customers.  

Our commitment to safety extends to our customers. Like us, our customers are under constant pressure to increase productivity and comply with stricter regulations and requirements. Employees who once operated a single machine may now have to run multiple machines and processes.

We offer our customers the most comprehensive safety products and solutions portfolio available. Our integrated safety automation and product tracking and tracing technologies allow customers to increase productivity, quickly adapt to rapidly changing manufacturing demands and protect employees.

Because of this passion for customer care, our customers have been able to create safer, more productive and sustainable production environments.

How do you measure safety? What are the leading indicators that show you how safe you are, and where do you see room for improvement?

We calculate our internal global safety measures on a 12-month rolling average per 100 employees. As of Sept. 30, 2009, our recordable rate was 0.63, down from 1.29 in 2005. Our lost workday case rate was 0.11, better than 0.30 in 2005. Similarly, our lost work day rate is 1.30, significantly down from 6.04 in 2005.

We use activity-based scorecards to help communicate and measure safety tasks and results. Safety performance management reviews are held regularly. And we conduct numerous internal safety audits each year.

Our commitment to employee safety has been recognized by numerous organizations around the world, including Singapore’s Workplace Safety and Health Council and Mexico’s Labor Agency (Secretaria del Trabajo y Prevision Social).

We actively explore and develop new opportunities to further improve safety efforts and continuously set new goals for ourselves. There is always room for improvement.

How important is off-the-job safety to your company’s overall safety program? What types of off-the-job safety programs does your company offer to employees?

Creating a workplace where you can do your best work is about more than what happens inside the four walls of our company. If a parent worries about finding care for his or her child who is home sick with the flu, that affects the worker’s ability to take care of customers. If an unhealthy lifestyle puts an employee at risk for illness, that too affects their job performance. Whether you are on the golf course, on a lake fishing or working in a factory, injury is a possibility.

We support our employees’ efforts to lead healthy and safe lives. We have locations with health club facilities, clinics and wellness classes. We sponsor charity walk, run and bicycling teams. We are increasingly promoting our flexible work options because we believe employees can focus better on their work when they have the flexibility to effectively manage and schedule their personal and professional lives.

 
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