May 15th, 2019
Saint-Gobain Seals’ plant in Bristol, Rhode Island, USA, was recently honored at the sixth Providence Business News Manufacturing Awards program for excellence in safety performance and practices. The Bristol site produces Meldin® thermoset and thermoplastic polymer parts and components for critical core systems in automotive, aerospace and electronics applications. Their manufacturing processes include polymerization, injection molding, compression molding and computer numerically controlled machining. Not only are their polymer parts critical but the people who work with the parts as well – of which there are nearly 50 team members at the Bristol site - and all play a key part in creating a safe environment.
“Our safety-first culture is fueled by preparation,” explained Craig Danko, Saint-Gobain plant manager. “We expect that at the end of the day, all team members will have taken the initiative to make the future safer while they were at work and return home in the same manner in which they arrived. With this in mind, it is important to invest the time to properly train employees before they are put in the manufacturing environment.”
Training team members such as using a detailed checklist of key safety steps that are required to successfully complete routine tasks help keep safety in the forefront. For example, when working at heights, team members are required to inspect all equipment, including lifts and ladder, as well as the safety gear. They also need to properly mark off their work area to ensure no one passes beneath.
By combining local safety programs with global environmental and health programs, safety performance has become stronger at Saint-Gobain. Results show that there has been zero lost time to injuries in more than 11 years and zero Occupational Safety and Health Administration recordable injuries in three years. The Bristol site earned an “A” grade from Saint-Gobain corporate during a biannual EHS audit in 2017 and was named a 2018 Emerald Award for Excellence in EHS by Saint-Gobain North America.
A new incident-investigation program called Cause Mapping has added to the site’s success, said Danko. Its use led to 100 percent effectiveness of corrective actions put in place (no repeat occurrences) in 2018.
“The process involves continually asking questions to identify causes of each effect and drilling down to the most critical, and often hard to discover, details,” he explained. “It’s a tool to drive open-ended questions and honest conversations to reveal facts, while taking potential biases out of the investigation.”
(Photo) CHECKING IN: Plant Manager Craig Danko, left, and Production Manager Joe Cairo, right, review safety checklists with Michael Simpson, a setup machinist, at Saint-Gobain in Bristol / PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY