Safety Is on Target at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control

Nov. 1, 2010
Performing work in the defense industry inherently is dangerous, and the employees at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control know that safety is as much of a priority as quality and cost.

The 10,500 employees of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) are engaged in the design, development and production of missiles and missile defense solutions for the United States and its allies at 11 facilities in the United States and the UK.

“Handling and assembling explosives, machining of metal parts, working in and around complex machinery, operating wheeled and tracked military vehicles and research and development laboratory work are some examples of the complexity faced by the ESH Department at MFC,” said Mike Self, senior manager of environment, safety and health. “However, through innovative programs that engage employees, thorough procedures, job hazard analyses and job safety assessments and strong senior management support, MFC has been able to maintain incident rates, recordable rates and lost-work incident rates well below industry averages.”

Among the executive leadership council of the company, EHS metrics are given a priority as a “Tier 1” metric, placing it on par with quality, cost and schedule. Self said management takes safety personally; MFC President James Berry recently distributed a memo to employees that addressed slips, trips and falls.

Employees are engaged in the safety process, and the company developed the Target Zero initiative to drive awareness of safety and set challenging goals for mitigating injuries to employees. At the core of the Target Zero philosophy is the belief that zero accidents is attainable.

A key component of this initiative is the Performance Management Team (PMT) process. PMTs are factory workgroups focused on continuous improvement of products and processes, and include all hourly operators, inspectors and testers, supervisors and support personnel.

Metrics, action items and productivity items are reviewed weekly by the PMTs. Any employee can make suggestions through his or her PMT, and the support personnel on the team will investigate and take appropriate action. Since 2005, the company has initiated over 5,300 EHS action items generated by these employee teams.

“Our president has EHS metrics, our line of business has ESH metrics and each site has ESH metrics down to individuals at the team level,” said Self.

The safety metrics measured and analyzed at MFC directly impact the safety and production of employees, which Self called “the greatest asset of this corporation.” The EHS metric information is used in the monthly Executive Leadership Council review to make business decisions affecting the course and operations of MFC to keep employees safe, avoid wasteful practices and maximize return on invested capital.

In an effort to keep its most valuable asset — employees — in good working condition, the company has invested in a HealthWorks Plan, which is focused on the healthy lifestyle approach to employee wellness. The program is self-directed and focuses on prevention, nutrition, fitness and care. In addition to automatically contributing $250 to an employee health fund annually, financial incentives are provided to employees for taking a comprehensive health assessment ($150), not smoking ($50), and using a physical activity tracking tool that comes with a free pedometer ($50).

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