PPG is committed to operating safe and healthful workplaces.
Our top priority is to ensure our people return home safely each day by:
- Engaging with them to improve our operating practices around the world;
- Investing in a safe work environment; and
- Running our business with sound operating practices.
Our health and safety policy, standards and goals define our expectations, and we implement programs and initiatives to reduce health and safety risks in our operations. Our robust environment, health and safety management system provides tools and resources, tracks performance and facilitates access to information at a location, across a business and on a global level.
We had zero fatalities in 2016. However, we did not achieve our goal of reducing our injury and illness rate by 5 percent per year. Our rate of 0.31 held steady from prior year and remained the lowest injury rate in our history.
It’s important to note that our injury and illness rate includes data from recently acquired businesses. While many of these companies have good safety programs, a few are not yet performing to our expectations. We are refocusing our efforts during the initial integration of acquisitions to accelerate learning on injury prevention.
The injury rates of several other businesses also did not demonstrate improvement from 2015. We have allocated additional resources and are implementing new strategies to achieve our safety improvement goals in these businesses.
In 2016, we continued our multi-year safety awareness and communications initiative called Safety 365 that empowers our people to be safe and speak up if they see something that could be made safer. Major initiatives during the year included creating a toolkit to enable supervisors to conduct weekly safety meetings and expanding the content available through our mobile Safety 365 app.
Historically, driving accidents are one of our highest injury risks. During 2016, we improved and expanded our safe driver training and education programs to ensure our operations in every country have the tools and resources to manage this safety risk.
Strains and sprains are another leading type of injury among our employees. In 2016, we introduced a new tool called Ergonomic Critical Rules that identifies scenarios and tasks with high risk for strains or sprains and provides low- or no-cost solutions to prevent ergonomic injuries. We released two rules during the year that covered drum manual handling and pushing and pulling.
The rules are part of our larger ergonomic focus, which includes ergonomics training and our annual Ergo Cup competition, which recognizes initiatives that minimize or eliminate ergonomic risks within our operations. In 2016, we had a record number of both award applications and cost savings associated with the projects’ safety and efficiency improvements.
We began introducing human performance to four of our locations during 2016. This safety approach teaches employees how to predict, prevent and manage errors that could result in injury.
At our Circleville, Euclid and Strongsville, Ohio, locations, for example, most all employees were trained on the concepts of human performance in 2016 and are applying the tools in their daily tasks. The facilities have established 2017 goals to drive human performance into their everyday manufacturing environment and anticipate reductions in their safety rates as employees continue to learn and master the tools.