WASHINGTON — The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) recognized six U.S.-based tire manufacturers recently for advancing worker health and safety in 2017.
The six are Bridgestone Americas Inc.; Goodyear; Michelin North America Inc.; Pirelli Tire North America L.L.C; Sumitomo Rubber Industries North America Inc.; and Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc.
USTMA's Safety and Health Improvement Program (SHIP), created in 1981, recognizes member companies for excellence and improvement in worker health and safety. This year, the USTMA expanded the program to recognize member companies for taking steps to improve workplace safety and health cultures.
"USTMA members have a vision for the U.S. tire manufacturing industry of zero injuries in the workplace," USTMA CEO and President Anne Forristall Luke said. "These awards demonstrate our members' progress toward meeting that vision."
Three categories of awards were presented. USTMA's new Leadership Award honored companies that shared successful safety initiatives among all USTMA members in 2017. Winners were Bridgestone, Goodyear, Michelin and Sumitomo.
The USTMA's traditional Excellence and Improvement Awards honor facilities that demonstrated workplace safety excellence and improvements, which are measured by the incidence rate for lost workday cases. The winners of that award were Bridgestone's plant in Oxford, N.C.; and Michelin's plants in Dothan, Ala.; Lexington and Greenville, S.C.; and Asheboro, N.C.
The tire makers and facilities that won the Improvement awards were Bridgestone's facilities in Bloomington, Ill.; La Vergne, Tenn.; Wilson, N.C.; Abilene, Texas; and Griffin, Ga.; Michelin's plants in Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Ardmore, Okla.; and Greenville, S.C.; Pirelli's plant in Rome, Ga.; Sumitomo's plant in Tonawanda, N.Y.; and Toyo's facility in White, Ga.
Combined, the tire makers were awarded four Leadership Awards, five Excellence Awards and 11 Improvement Awards.
To be eligible for the awards, 47 plants— including tread rubber manufacturing, inner tube manufacturing, aircraft tire manufacturing and tire manufacturing from USTMA member companies — supplied data for the annual survey. The data supplied to the USTMA are identical to information provided to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, which publishes annual injury and illness information on all industries.
Goodyear said it has taken several safety-focused initiatives throughout its Americas manufacturing facilities that are producing positive results. The tire maker said the region's year-to-date recordable incident rate has dropped more than 30 percent from last year, indicating that fewer people are getting hurt.
Recordable incidents include injuries that result in lost time, restriction of work, transfer to another job or require medical treatment beyond first aid.
Between August, 2015, and March, 2017, five workers at two Goodyear plants were killed in workplace accidents — four at Goodyear's plant in Danville, Va., between August 2015 and August 2016; and one at the plant in Topeka, Kan., in March, 2017.
Steve Pauly, vice president of Goodyear's Americas operation, said Goodyear's "focus on doing everything we can to make sure everyone goes home safely is stronger than ever. And there is a unified and renewed commitment from each of us, from the plant floor to leadership, to take personal responsibility for our own safety and the safety of others."
Ellis Jones, Goodyear's senior director of global safety, environment, health & sustainability, said the improvments were due to the engagement from all associates. "We believe our safety improvement strategy is moving us in the right direction," he said. "It's rewarding to get this validation from the USTMA as well."