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America's Safest Companies 2019: IBM

IBM’s health and safety programs depend on active and meaningful employee involvement, along with management setting a positive tone.

IBM Corporation
Armonk, NY
Information technology and services
70,000 employees | 230 sites |30 EHS professionals; 31 environmental engineers & chemical coordinators

Read profiles on all the other 2019 America's Safest Companies!


Information technology giant IBM Corp. places a high priority on employee health and safety, states Jeff Schmitt, corporate health & safety manager, U.S. and Canada, which in turn supports the company’s ongoing commitment to its employees, customers, business partners, visitors, and the communities where employees live and work.

“IBM’s health and safety programs depend on active and meaningful employee involvement, along with management setting a positive tone throughout the organization,” Schmitt explains. “This includes a definitive safety policy, goals and well-defined roles and responsibilities. Employees and managers work together as a team to maintain a safe environment through efforts such as inspections/audits, training and facility planning.”

The company’s globally certified Health & Safety Management System (H&SMS) facilitates compliance and promotes continual improvement through the H&SMS planning process. The system provides a process that considers input from employees, management and assigned safety and health management personnel, and it focuses on risk and key areas of performance

IBM’s Corporate Health & Safety (CH&S) Academy is an online training platform where employees can identify their work environment and hazards that they could potentially encounter. This allows the safety training to be specifically tailored to their roles and responsibilities.

At IBM’s TJ Watson Research Center, for instance, the company maintains roughly 200 chemical labs, a large materials research lab clean room dedicated to research and development of semiconductor materials; 150 toxic/flammable/hazardous gas cabinets; radiation, laser and biologic labs. The company has dedicated millions of dollars to develop controls such as:

● a toxic/hazardous gas monitoring system that provides remote alarms in IBM’s control center;

● a man-down monitoring system to monitor employees working on potentially hazardous operations after normal business hours;

● automatic laser lab entryway controls;

● a chemical inventory system that provides online access to employee for the 6,000 chemicals in the facility.

Employee well-being is incorporated into every aspect of IBM’s business, Schmitt says, “from our strategic and business planning to operations, as reflected in our vision statement: Performance is optimized through healthy choices, people, workplaces, families and communities.”

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