Indiana-based Strick Corp, a manufacturer of dry van semi-trailers, revitalized its safety program over the last decade to land the company where it is today: recording a lost-time injury rate of .55 compared to the industry average of 5.1, fostering an improved safety culture and instituting an award-winning safety program.
These results were prompted in part by the determination to never repeat the tragedy that occurred nearly 7 years ago, when an equipment malfunction caused a fatal crushing injury to an employee. Since then, the company rerouted all of its safety programs, says Cheryl Pike, R.N., plant nurse and health and safety leader.
In addition to eliminating risk and ensuring another serious incident does not occur, Pike stresses there was a change among employees, as well. “Everyone was more on board,” she says. “They said, ‘We agree, we need to take an interest in this more,’ from the top down to people on the floor.”
Barry Melton, manufacturing engineering manager, agrees. “The entire mentality has done a 180-degree turnaround,” he says. “One of the biggest successes in changing it was empowering the people to get involved and actually make changes.”
Strick spares no expense when it comes to protecting employees' well-being, even if that means bypassing a less expensive product in favor of one that will best promote on-the-job health and safety. And within the last year, the company spent $60,000 to automate the operations for tightening lug nuts. While manual labor was less expensive, the work caused ergonomics-related injuries.
Strick also has a plan to protect workers from heat: When the heat index reaches 95 degrees, workers are given extra breaks and drinks, and at 100 degrees, plant workers immediately are sent home.
A wellness committee, health fairs and a Request for Action program encouraging employees to suggest changes supplement the company's focus on safety. Finally, Strick frequently visits other companies with successful safety programs to get motivated and develop new ideas. It's all part of keeping every employee safe, every day, at Strick.
Return to America's Safest Companies