In 2003, Caterpillar Inc. redefined its vision for safety – a vision that subscribes to the belief that all accidents and injuries are preventable and that all employees, no matter where in the world they may work, are able to return home safely every day. Since instituting new safety programs and processes in recent years, Caterpillar has reaped the benefits: In 2010, 44 percent of facilities reached zero recordable injuries.
”Zero injuries – that’s our goal,” says Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar chairman and CEO, who also called safety “the most important order of business” at the company. “We simply will not be satisfied unless everyone gets safely home every single day.”
With a global reach that serves customers in more than 180 countries worldwide, and with a lost-time injury rate nearly threeand- a-half times lower than industry average, Caterpillar sets out to establish the gold standard within the industry for producing high-quality products safely and efficiently. All employees are encouraged to challenge waste, eliminate inefficiencies and deepen their understanding of their work’s true impact on the world.
Since its 2003 launch of an enterprisewide, strategic improvement project to address employee safety, Caterpillar has aspired to go beyond mere compliance, to attain a values-based culture, to develop a work environment all employees can take pride in and to create a company others respect and admire. The company’s EHS programs are designed to be flexible to allow each facility, no matter where it may be located worldwide, to implement programs and processes in a way that makes sense for the local culture, language and regulatory environment.
As part of its improvement project, Caterpillar launched four major safety initiatives in recent years:
The Safety Strategic Improvement Project (SIP) established clear roles and responsibilities for employees, supervisors and managers and introduced consistent enterprise safety metrics and targets, communications and training processes.
The Caterpillar Vision Zero safety program, launched in 2007, standardized several safety initiatives, including leadership accountability, employee learning, safety communications, safety evaluation and continuous improvement, leadership safety walks and employee recognition processes.
The Ergonomic SIP, launched in 2008, established common processes for facilities to identify and quantify ergonomic and safety risks through the use of standard evaluation tools.
Finally, the new EHS Assurance Manual, launched in 2011, identifies fundamental EHS issues and outlines 29 Essential Elements, which each feature minimum EHS requirements. These requirements apply to every facility within the company, no matter where in the world they operate and no matter what the local regulations are.
“Our work on safety will never be done,” Oberhelman says. “Every day we have to maintain our focus and recommit to making our workplace safe for everyone.”Caterpillar Inc. accepting their awards at the American Safest Company awards ceremony at The Ritten House in Philadelphia, PA.
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