A corporate-wide campaign to eliminate all injuries has paid off at The Dow Chemical Company’s Pittsburg, Calif., site. April 3 marks 366 days without a single OSHA-recordable injury. The longest previous period without a recordable injury at the Pittsburg site was 212 days, which the site surpassed last November. This one-year anniversary puts the Pittsburg site in the top group of Dow’s sites with respect to safety performance.

 

Site leader Tod Sutton and his management team greeted employees and contractors at the entrance gates on April 3, handing out “Safe Worker” T-shirts and personally thanking each and every person for the role he/she plays in keeping safe.

 

“I am extremely proud of the Pittsburg Operations employees for maintaining their focus on safety and achieving this milestone. We want every employee to go home to their families without injury at the end of every day,” Sutton said. “Though we want to celebrate this special day, we also must continue our vigilance to sustain zero injuries.”

 

The Drive to Zero campaign – which refers to Dow’s aim for zero accidents and zero injuries – originally launched in 2005 and has as its bottom line that every employee goes home safely every day. Daily safety messages, departmental safety meetings and even safety “walks” by site leadership have contributed to an enhanced awareness of staying safe.

 

“We have more than 700 people on-site on any given day – 300-plus employees and more than 450 contractors. Every day, each person makes a commitment to be safe, to conduct their work in a safe manner, to prevent injuries and accidents – and today’s anniversary is a direct result of that commitment,” said Dale Backlund, the site’s environmental health and safety leader. “I’d like to think that this commitment translates to our employees’ behaviors at work as well as at home. Our top priorities will always be the safety of our employees and our community. But a corporate campaign can’t do that – it takes honest-to-goodness buy-in. That’s what our people have done.”

 

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulates workplace safety and requires reporting of any injuries that require medical attention or result in a day away from work.

 

The Pittsburg site has gone from a high of 14 minor injuries in 2005 to just one in 2007. Dow has some of the highest standards of safety in the manufacturing sector. Pittsburg’s recordable injury rate for 2007 was 0.12 (the number of injuries per 200,000 hours worked) – a goal the company hoped to reach by 2010.

 

According to OSHA, the incidence rate of non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses in the manufacturing sector was 6.0 in 2006. In the chemical industry, it was 2.9 in 2006.