Worldwide - 2011
Eliminating Fatalities One Risk at a Time
Getting to the very basics of safety, Alcoa’s Engineered Products and Solutions (EPS) business is identifying fatality risks and, whenever possible, eliminating them rather than implementing layers of protection.
Since 2005, the EPS Fatality Prevention Team has been overseeing an ambitious program that controlled 5,291 fatality risks through 2010. This achievement has contributed to zero fatalities and reductions of 35% for lost workdays and 50% for recordable injuries during the same period.
An example of an eliminated risk is mobile equipment, which remains a leading source of fatalities in Alcoa globally. At the end of 2010, EPS had reduced the number of forklifts in its 91 plants worldwide by 54% and plans an additional 10% reduction in 2011. Manual equipment and streamlined material-handling systems are now used to eliminate high-risk pedestrian/mobile equipment interfaces.
A second focus area was eliminating the risk of people falling through open skylights on plant roofs. Today, all skylights are required to have fixed guards in place. As of 2010, more than 99% of skylights had guards, with the remainder scheduled to be completed by the end of 2011.
Supplementing these global risk-elimination requirements is a process to identify and eliminate fatality risks at the plant level using trained teams of employees. A risk deemed unacceptable must be closed or improved to the marginal level within 30 days. All marginal risks must be closed in six months. Those not closed within this time period are reported to the president of EPS, along with a plan to close each risk and implement interim controls until it can be closed.
All locations also must monitor—on every shift—compliance against 10 employee-based actions for each of Alcoa’s critical four fatality prevention areas: mobile equipment; confined space entry; fall prevention; and lockout/tagout. For example, a monitored behavior for fall protection is proper use of a body harness. Compliance levels less than 95% are rated red, while levels from 95% to 99% are yellow. Only 100% compliance is considered green, or acceptable.
All requirements for fatality risk elimination apply to long-term and newly acquired locations. Following its August 2010 purchase by Alcoa, for example, Traco implemented a formal risk-assessment process that identified 136 potential fatality hazards at its Cranberry Township plant in Pennsylvania (USA). All had been taken to either acceptable or marginal risk by April 2011. In addition, the location installed fixed guards on 100% of its 266 skylights and eliminated 50% of its forklifts during the same period.
“Before Alcoa’s acquisition, we were a typical company that did what was needed to get by in terms of safety,” said Patrick Turner, Traco forklift driver and an almost 18-year employee. “It’s a very different and very good approach now, and one that is much better for the company and the employees.”