Web Tool Helps put Safety First

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Safety month each April was already a big hit within the Engine Business Unit (EBU) at Cummins, resulting in the identification and repair of literally thousands of unsafe acts or conditions worldwide since it was initiated in 2010.

Observance of the EBU’s April Awareness Event in 2013, however, took safety to a new level thanks to safety leaders, the Information Technology staff at the Columbus Engine Plant and the EBU’s Corporate IT staff.

Working together, they created an easy-to-use web-based tool as part of the EBU’s “Find It, Fix It” campaign. The tool enables employees, whether at home or at work, to report with a few strokes of a computer keyboard any health or safety concern that they identified and fixed.

With the new tool in place and rolled out to EBU employees around the world, reports more than doubled in April 2013, from 13,386 the previous year to 28,449.

“The main purpose of this initiative is to change people’s behavior to get them to decide ‘I will get this fixed and I will get it fixed now,’” said Bertrand Piredda, Health, Safety and Environment Director of EBU Global Operations.

The Find It, Fix It campaign adds a little friendly competition to the EBU’s safety efforts as employees strive to report the most health and safety problems identified and corrected. Some locations award gift cards and other prizes to the employees or teams of employees that resolve the most problems.

Safety leaders say the program encourages Cummins workers to take a personal interest not only in their own safety but in the safety of their co-workers. And it establishes a framework so employees can talk about safety problems with their co-workers without appearing critical or confrontational.

The safety problems identified during safety month in 2013 included such things as improper storage of hand tools and engine carts, the absence of protective guards around rotating pieces of equipment, equipment with sharp metal edges and potential obstacles in the way of workers walking the plant floor. One employee even identified and fixed an unsafe traffic condition in the parking lot at his workplace.

Safety leaders like seeing employees extend their concern for safety beyond plant walls because it’s an indication that they are incorporating safety into their daily lives.

Stacy Wyatt, Health and Safety Engineer at the Columbus Engine Plant, said the tool also reduced administrative tasks typically associated with safety auditing programs.

“This computer program makes it so much easier to report, collect and analyze data,” she said. “I think it will really help us embed safety into the lives of our employees.”

Cummins believes strongly that employees must take personal responsibility for safety to establish a world-class safety environment. Getting employees to make a personal commitment to safety through tools like Find It, Fix It is a key component of the Company’s “Safety Begins with Me” campaign.

The April safety month also includes video messages from senior leaders, recognition of significant employee contributions to safety, employee meetings on safety, and a celebration of World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

Wyatt says the April Awareness Event and other steps have helped to change the plant floor culture within the Engine Business Unit. Employees were initially reluctant to confront someone engaged in an unsafe practice.

Now, she says, employees across the business unit recognize that safety is everyone’s responsibility. Corporate safety officials say EBU’s version of the safety month and the new computer tool are being made available to Cummins business units across the Company.

“World-class HSE (Health Safety and the Environment) is not a status we achieve only for one month, but our April initiative is one more step in the right direction,” Piredda said.

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