Dedication to EHS Pays Off for Xerox

Find out how Xerox's commitment to the environment and the health and safety of its workers has been worth the investment.

A decision that Xerox Corp. made in 1991 to put the environment first has been paying dividends for the company and the environment, according to a report issued by Xerox.

In 1999, reuse and recycling of Xerox equipment and supplies kept 163 million pounds of materials out of landfills -- equivalent to the amount of trash that 100,000 people in the United States typically throw away in one year.

Xerox has also saved money by designing parts that can be recycled and products that can be remanufactured to as-new condition.

In addition, reduce, reuse and recycling initiatives in its factories saved $47 million in 1999 alone, according to Xerox.

"Because the earth''s resources are limited, Xerox established a goal of waste-free products from waste-free factories 10 years ago," said Jack Azar, vice president of environment, health and safety for Xerox. "While there''s more work to do, we''ve learned that corporate responsibility and profitability can go hand in hand."

Since 1991, the company has wrung the waste out of its factories and developed products that are recyclable and can be remanufactued.

Measures of the company''s 1999 success are detailed in the Environment, Health and Safety 2000 Progress Report:

  • Xerox factories worldwide recycled 87 percent of non-hazardous solid waste.
  • 128 Xerox products meet the requirements of EPA''s Energy Star program. These products save users up to 50 percent on their own energy costs.
  • Current Xerox office and production equipment emits 54 percent less dust and 70 percent less ozone than 1990 products.
  • 94 percent of hazardous waste was managed through recycling, treatment and fuels blending.

Xerox''s decision to go ''green'' exemplifies the company''s commitment to the environment, but its workplace health and safety program shows a commitment to its workers.

This commitment is demonstrated through its Zero Injury program, initiated in 1997.

The goal of this program is to reach benchmark safety levels by achieving a 20 percent year-over-year reduction in total recordable incident rates and days away from work case rates.

Although in 1999, Xerox fell short of its 20 percent reduction targets, the company still showed good results toward achieving its safety goals.

Xerox''s total recordable incident rate was reduced by 16 percent from 1998, while the days away from work case rate was reduced by 15 percent.

Xerox attributes its safety results to its management system which holds managers accountable for safety by:

  • Reporting on safety performance at operations reviews.
  • Conducting facility safety tours.
  • Participating in incident investigations.
  • Reviewing all incident reports.

Xerox also noted it has seen a return from the investment in its company-wide ergonomics program.

Ergonomic injuries and illnesses represent 50 percent of Xerox''s work-related cases, making ergonomics an important component of the company''s injury reduction program.

Xerox''s first workplace ergonomics standard was issued in 1988, and in the early 1990s, the company began devoting considerable resources toward improving ergonomic conditions of its jobs.

Workers'' compensation claims were attributable to ergonomic injuries peaking in 1992.

Since then, Xerox said it has experienced a declining trend in the number of cases as well as the cost associated with those case.

Data for 1999 indicate a 26 percent reduction in the number of cases and a 63 percent reduction in associated direct costs.

"We attribute this improvement to the reduction of ergonomic hazards in our jobs and improved case management of injured workers," said Azar. "Our ergonomic injury and illness rate in manufacturing is currently 52 percent lower than OSHA''s estimate for comparable companies."

Despite the fact that the company fell short of its 20 percent reduction target for injury rates in 1999, Xerox has set it sights on the same goal for 2000.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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