A Century of Safety at Armstrong World Industries

With a focus on safety that stems back to 1913, Armstrong World Industries has a long, successful track record of keeping workers healthy and safe.

Armstrong World Industries, a manufacturer of flooring, ceilings and cabinets, has maintained detailed annual safety reports since 1913 and operates under the philosophy that injuries are unacceptable. At Armstrong, employees accept ownership for safety and corporate leadership feels each and every employee is entitled to a safe place to work.

The company is headquartered in Lancaster, Pa., and employs 11,000 employees worldwide at 36 plants, one of which is an OSHA VPP Star Site. According to the company's ASC application, “Stewardship of the environment and the health and safety of every Armstrong employee has been a principle since the founding of the company by Thomas Armstrong in the late 1800s.” Today, management dedication to safe production is evident through a focus on risk assessments and risk reduction; root cause analyses for all recordable injuries; an emphasis on anticipation, recognition, evaluation and control and elimination of risk; and more.

“Safety is a core value throughout our organization,” said Steve Pfeiffenberger, vice president of environmental, health and safety. “Our safety culture is built upon three pillars: strong safety leadership, accountability though all levels and effective safety and health systems.”

Armstrong operates under the following safety philosophies:

  • All injuries and occupational illnesses are preventable;

  • All operating exposures can be reasonably safeguarded;

  • Safety adds value to Armstrong employees, customers and shareholders;
  • Management is responsible for providing a safe workplace; and

  • Safety has priority over quality and productivity.

Armstrong managers and supervisors are held accountable for providing a safe working environment and ensuring that their employees are given the knowledge, skills and tools to do their jobs safely. Examples of management's dedication to safe production include:

  • All manufacturing facilities must plan and budget for specific machine safeguarding improvements, risk assessments and risk reduction;

  • All recordable injuries are reviewed and investigated;

  • Measurement systems include both leading and trailing safety measures;

  • The company maintains a worldwide, corporate EHS audit process;

  • All manufacturing facilities have established behavior-based safety;

  • The company maintains corporate recognition programs; and

  • Safety is integrated into the corporate lean management system.

According to Pfeiffenberger, Armstrong emphasizes risk reduction, not just injury reduction. After all, he pointed out, “Safety is more about the absence of risk rather than the absence of injury.”

Furthermore, the safety process functions with the active participation of all employees. Safety committees and teams proactively correct safety hazards. Plant subcommittees focus on areas such as ergonomics, machine safeguarding, lockout, electrical safety and more. Most importantly, all employees are expected to take responsibility for their own behavior and look out for one another.

“Our goal is to sustain a working environment where injuries do not occur. We must continually strive to reduce the overall tolerance for risk within our operations in order to achieve zero injuries,” Pfeiffenberger explained.

“In the end, it is all about sending our employees home safely to be with their families,” he added.

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