National Semiconductor Corp.'s workforce in South Portland, Maine achieved a significant milestone: 1 million hours without a single lost-time injury. That translates into over 275 days of continuous operation with an average employment of over 600 people on site.
Paul Edmonds, site manager and vice president of operations, attributed the achievement to employees. "Management's number one priority, as we consistently stress to the workforce, is and always will be safety. We work hard to create a culture in which employees take ownership of their work areas. Our investment in fostering a safe working environment has really paid off," he said.
The site also has an aggressive ergonomics program. Rena Dunn, RN, the site occupational health nurse, said the company's focus is on a properly adjusted work station, whether employees work in an office or on the factory floor. She noted adjusting an office worker's PC workstation is standard practice, but the equipment on the factory floor is far more varied.
"New manufacturing equipment must go through an 'equipment sign-off process,' in which the safety department plays a major role," she said. "Each tool is evaluated to ensure it meets our safety and ergonomic standards. Sometimes we'll have to retrofit or adjust a tool before it goes into the factory, so our workers can have a proper ergonomic environment."
National's Site Services and Environmental Health and Safety Manager John Dunn credits both employee training and a program known as Total Productive Manufacturing for reaching the safety milestone. "Our new-hire orientation really stresses safety. In addition to simply working safely, our employees are taught the importance of reporting any possible hazards they observe, whether in their immediate work area or anywhere on site," said Dunn
Groundbreaking for National's South Portland plant, which processes eight-inch silicon wafers using .35, .25, and .18 micron CMOS and BiCMOS technologies, began in November 1995, and the first production run-through was completed in April 1997. During the 1.8 million work hours spent constructing the facility, there were no serious accidents or injuries. In June 1997, Liberty Mutual Group presented its "Liberty Mutual Silver Award" to National Semiconductor, acknowledging the company's commitment to safety.
edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected])