By Chris Sweeney, Crain News Service
JACKSON, Tenn. (Aug. 15, 2013) — Throughout the recent Association of Rubber Products Manufacturers (ARPM) Environmental, Health and Safety summit, one statistic kept popping up: 90 percent of injuries are avoidable because they are a result of unsafe, careless or fraudulent behavior.
So naturally Carlisle Companies Inc. targeted behavior in its company-wide approach to safety, which made its transportation products tire plant in Jackson the perfect host for ARPM's annual event, held July 25-26. The system focuses on placing the emphasis on safety at the hands of the people who are in harm's way—the employees.
"Tire press operators, tire builders, day in and day out perform the same operations, the same tasks," said Jackson's plant manager, David Whitworth. "They might not think about that one instance where they think they do something, and they think it's safe, and they get hurt. That's how accidents happen.
"When you do something, and you don't get hurt, it just reinforces that what you did was safe and the right thing."
The Jackson plant has been producing semi-pneumatic and pneumatic tires since 2010. The factory's long-term focus is to lower its incident recordable rate to zero. Mr. Whitworth knows what it takes to get there. During his time with PolyOne Corp., he oversaw a period of two and a half years without an Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordable incident and almost six years without a lost time incident.
Safety comes first
The plant engaged employees from the beginning, establishing a safety committee solely of volunteer hourly workers. The environmental, health and safety coordinator attends meetings, but they are driven by workers on the floor.