Through a combination of individual accountability, dedicated Safety Steering Committees, and a program that integrates safety into all training activities, the A. O. Smith Water Products Company plant in Johnson City, Tenn., has been able to work more than two million hours without a lost-time accident.
Johnson City’s latest period of safe work hours began on Nov. 23, 2005, and the employees achieved the two million hour mark on Oct. 16, 2006. To date, employees have worked approximately 2.4 million hours without a lost-time incident. The 500,000 square foot facility manufactures residential water heaters and employs approximately 1,200 people.
“You are one of just two A. O. Smith plants to surpass the two million hour milestone since 2001,” Herbert L. Pirkey, corporate director-safety, health, and environment, told employees at a special recognition event today. “We emphasize sustainable results in all of our safety programs, and yours is an outstanding example of an effective, sustainable safety effort.”
Pirkey presented the plant with a commemorative plaque and safety flag as part of the recognition event.
Johnson City has had programs in place to maintain the focus on workplace safety for more than 10 years. Part of that emphasis is the result of the plant’s Safety Steering Committee, led by Andy Demski who heads manufacturing operations and Dale Austin who heads human resources at Johnson City. The 25-member committee, which has been meeting twice each month since 1995, continually monitors safety performance, oversees training programs, and reviews every safety-related incident in the plant.
The relentless commitment to safety has paid off over the last 10 years. Johnson City celebrated its first two million hours without a lost-time accident in November 1996 and, at one point, employees had worked 5.8 million hours without a lost-time accident.
Each year, the plant selects a safety theme and ties its promotional and training efforts to that theme. The plant also makes a point of recognizing employees’ efforts through commemorative gifts and celebrations.
Johnson City is the fifth A. O. Smith facility to be recognized for its excellence in safety performance during 2006. Reaching one million hours without a lost-time accident were the A. O. Smith Electrical Products Company’s plants in Shenzhen, China, Acuña, Mexico, Juarez, Mexico, and Tipp City, Ohio.