America’s Safest Companies: USG Corp. USG Corp.

America’s Safest Companies: USG Corp.

The 16 companies on the 2015 list of America's Safest Companies represent a broad array of industries: construction, manufacturing, utilities, oil and gas and more.

Employees at USG Corp. don't wait for management to tell them how to safely complete a job task, they tell management.

"Our staff does not look to their manager or supervisor to tell them the safe way to do their jobs. They tell us," says Justin Dugas, director, safety and health. "Our employees actively identify hazards, develop plans to address them and implement [the plans]." Dugas adds that it's management's job to "encourage complete engagement: head, heart and hands."

When asked about the key elements of USG's occupational safety and health program, Dugas replies that leading indicators like training, metrics and employee engagement are key for the company:

Common compliance requirements are handled consistently across all locations.  USG does this through standardized model programs. Compliance is measured with one main audit tool: a safety activity rating or SAR. "Our model programs allow us to efficiently manage compliance requirements across our operations," says Dugas. "Because programs are the same from one location to the next, our SARs can be performed peer-to-peer.  This results in the sharing of learnings and best practices across locations, which advances our safety culture."

Near miss reporting is emphasized.  Says Dugas: "We encourage near miss reporting and investigate these events as though there was an injury. By giving these lower-level occurrences emphasis, we are able to implement effective corrective and preventative actions, which reduces injuries."

Safety is promoted as a line responsibility. "By placing safety as a line responsibility, we set clear expectations for our staff and are able to hold them accountable for their results," says Dugas.

Safety metrics routinely are tracked and reported. "Our safety results matter to those within our organization who matter, and we report on these routinely," he notes.

Employees are engaged in safety. "We involve/engage our employees' heads, hearts and hands in our safety program, recognizing that they are closest to the hazards each day.  By listening to their ideas and concerns, we improve the safety of our operations," Dugas says.

The program focuses on leading indicators. Dugas emphasizes: "By focusing on leading indicators, we steer toward wanted outcomes as opposed to away from unwanted, positioning us ahead of injuries."

USG Corp.
Chicago, Ill.
9,000 employees/10 EHS professionals
Building products manufacturer and distributor

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