Cummins Inc. Makes Safety a Corporate Value Worldwide

Nov. 1, 2010
Cummins Inc., an engine designer and manufacturer headquartered in Columbus, Ind., has more than 40,000 employees at 115 manufacturing facilities and service offices worldwide. On the job or off, Cummins employees know they're expected to be actively engaged.

While Cummins is proud of the safety process at its U.S. facilities, it especially is proud of the fact that all sites around the world report lost-time injuries according to OSHA recordkeeping criteria, even where local medical practices frequently result in days away from work. Cummins' global lost-time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) is .38, and is reported monthly to all levels of the company and reported quarterly to the board of directors.

“Cummins is committed to ensuring that safety is paramount in everything we do and that every task is performed with concern for the welfare of our employees, contractors, visitors and the communities in which we operate,” said Michelle Garner-Janna, director of corporate health and safety.

A site-level example of management's dedication to safe production can be found at the Cummins Power Generation Plant in Craiova, Romania. Starting in December 2009, the company invested more than $700,000 in the nearly 50-year-old plant in the southern part of the country.

The company replaced four cranes, created a safe pedestrian walkway, installed a new roof over part of the facility and improved lighting throughout the plant to transform the formerly dark, cluttered facility into a safer, brightly lit, freshly painted, more modern plant.

“Satisfaction has increased within the plant,” said Ana Maria Mitoi, health, safety and environment leader in Romania. “We are all very proud of the improvements that were made, but we recognize that each person's actions, on a minute-by-minute basis, are critical to a truly safe environment.”

Employees and their managers worked together on most of the changes, which weren't just cosmetic. The team in the assembly area, for example, examined ways to build alternators more efficiently. The team calculated that assembly operators collectively walked 15 kilometers to build just one alternator. By providing complete kits of alternator parts at the point of use, the team reduced operator movement by nearly 90 percent.

“Cummins' basic philosophy has been that regulations offer only the minimum protection of our most valuable assets, our people,” said Garner-Janna. “Therefore, in the pursuit of a ‘best in class people program,’ we are not satisfied to merely meet compliance standards in the countries in which we operate.”

As an example, Garner-Janna cites the fact that there currently are no regulations governing employees while they are driving on company business and notes that Cummins was one of the first companies to implement a comprehensive global driver safety program. The program includes banning the use of two-way communication devices — including hands-free devices — while driving on company business.

The program, said Garner-Janna, is an example “of how Cummins has taken safety outside the traditional bounds of the factory or work environment to protect our employees and the people in the communities in which we operate.”

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