Motorola Inc. Sends its Message Around the World

The electronics giant takes a global approach to EHS management.

By William Atkinson

From 1998 to 2002, Motorola Inc. has seen a 70 percent improvement in its OSHA recordable injury/illness rate worldwide. (The company uses this metric universally, even though, of course, it doesn''t report international performance to OSHA. But more on this later.) Currently, the company''s global rate is 0.6, down from over 2.0 in 1998. It has also seen a 70 percent reduction in workers'' compensation costs and counterpart costs in other parts of the world, resulting in $12 million savings per year.

Motorola, with total worldwide sales of $27 billion and just under 100,000 employees, offers a wide range of products, including software-enhanced wireless telephone and messaging, two-way radio products, end-to-end systems for delivery of interactive digital video/voice/high-speed data, wireless communication semiconductors, and electronic systems for a number of industrial applications.

"CEO Chris Galvin and President Mike Zafirovski have established some challenging safety objectives and are driving them through their high expectations of the company''s business leaders to deliver exceptional performance," explains Richard J. Guimond, vice president and corporate director, environment, health, safety, risk and quality. For its safety efforts, the company has received over 60 awards from various organizations worldwide since 1999.

While most of the company''s safety initiatives focus on workplace performance, many focus on 24/7 safety for employees. "With leadership from the office of the chairman, all Motorolans are working to create a workplace that is free of injuries and illnesses," he says. "Further, we are striving to have these attitudes and behaviors taken home with our associates to help enrich the quality of life for their entire families."

The company''s policies and programs are developed and implemented by an EHS Executive Committee and an EHS Leadership Team. The latter is composed of the senior technical managers in each business unit and at the corporate level. The committee and team develop and drive metrics, targets and programs throughout the company.

A corporate EHS audit program provides independent assessment of conformance to Motorola''s EHS requirements. The company''s board of directors periodically reviews the results, trends and key issues that the audit program provides.

While most companies with international operations attempt to improve safety in all countries in which they have operations, what may make Motorola unique is that it does so in very formal, structured ways. "In 1997, we were looking at our overall safety performance, which happened to be the same time we were reviewing the ISO 14000 environmental requirements," explains Guimond. At the time, the company was trying to decide if it would "go global" with ISO 14000. "Once we made the decision to go global with ISO 14000, we realized that it also made sense to do the same with our safety and health programs," he continues.

What resulted was an integrated safety and health management system - one that would be uniform worldwide. "We began to look around and see who had the best performance related to safety and health in our organization," says Guimond. Management concluded that it was the company''s facilities participating in OSHA''s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). (Seven of the company''s facilities are Star sites.)

Motorola realized that, even though VPP was uniquely a U.S. program, it could take the same concepts and principles and formally introduce them across all of its sites worldwide. It developed and piloted the VPP programs in 1998 and began rolling them out worldwide in 1999. Now, the company''s worldwide environmental program is based on ISO 14000, and its worldwide safety and health program is based on OSHA''s VPP.

As noted in the introduction, the programs have been working well and even exceeding the company''s expectations. "The facilities around the world have taken to the ISO 14000 and VPP concepts well," reports Guimond. "We have seen improvements in enviromental, safety and health performance, and it has all been very cost-effective."

Sidebar: Making Improvements

How are environment, health and safety improvements triggered at Motorola?

Besides asking each facility to integrate OSHA''s Voluntary Protection Program concepts into its operations, management reviews performance. Each year, it identifies all facilities around the world with injury/illness rates above the company average and requires them to place extra emphasis on planning how to achieve significant improvements the following year.

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