Lost Workday Incident Rate
Lost Workday Incident Rate

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Total Recordable Incident Rate
Total Recordable Incident Rate

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Zero Is Possible
Zero is Possible



We Believe Zero Is Possible 


Zero work-related injuries and illnesses have been long-standing goals for Alcoa. We strive to work safely in a manner that protects and promotes the health and well-being of our employees, contractors, and the communities in which we operate, because it is fundamentally the right thing to do.


Our safety systems are built on a foundation of values and principles. They are anchored in place with committed people who are actively engaged and effectively supporting a safe work environment, safe work methods, and overall production system stability.


This makes it all the more disappointing that we suffered two tragic employee fatalities in 2012—one at our Davenport Works in Iowa (USA) in July and a second in August at our Baie-Comeau Smelter in Quebec, Canada. Fortunately, we were able to avoid any contractor fatalities during the year.


Although the safety performance for the Ma’aden-Alcoa joint venture in Saudi Arabia is not included in our corporate results, it is worth highlighting. The project logged more than 60 million fatality-free hours in 2012. This represents a world-class performance for a project of this magnitude, which involves the construction of a bauxite mine, alumina refinery, aluminum smelter, and rolling mill. The safety milestone is especially important since it followed a severe injury to a contractor employee in December 2011. It was subsequently reported to the project that the employee had died following transfer to a hospital closer to his home.


Davenport Walkway

Meandering walkways at a U.S. plant help slow down employees and position them so they look down the aisles to see oncoming traffic.

Progress toward our goal of zero lost workday (LWD) incidents remained relatively flat during 2012. We ended the year with an LWD rate of 0.13 and a total recordable incident rate (TRIR) of 1.07. While the lack of progress on the LWD rate is disappointing, it is still worth noting that both of these rates are significantly below the U.S. manufacturing average.


In early 2012, we began using the days away, restricted, or transferred (DART) rate to further focus our incident prevention efforts on eliminating the more serious incidents first. The DART rate tracks injuries that involve days away from work due to an injury (lost workday), as well as days in which work is restricted or employees are transferred to another job due to illness or injury.


At the end of 2012, 78.5% of our safety reporting units had worked 12 consecutive months without an LWD incident, 50.3% without a DART incident, and 38.1% without a total recordable incident.


In 2012, we again included an annual safety target as a component of our incentive compensation program to bring additional focus on this critical aspect of sustainability.


Fatalities by Region
  Asia Australia Europe North America South America
2008 0 0 3/1 1/0 0
2009 1/0 0/1 1/0 0 0/1
2010 0 0 0 2/0 1/1
2011 0 0 0/1 0 0
2012 0 0 0 2/0 0
2013 Fatalities
Lost Workday Incident Rate
  Alcoa U.S. Manufaturing Average
2008 0.12 1.2
2009 0.13 1.0
2010 0.12 1.1
2011 0.12 1.1
2012 0.13


2013 Lost Workday Incident Rate

Data changes from prior reporting were due to retroactive reporting or reclassification of incidents.

  Alcoa U.S. Manufaturing Average
2008 0.76 2.7
2009 0.69 2.3
2010 0.78 2.4
2011 0.78 2.4
2012 0.50


 2013 DART Rate

Data changes from prior reporting were due to retroactive reporting or reclassification of incidents.


Total Recordable Incident Rate
  Alcoa U.S. Manufaturing Average
2005 Baseline 1.48 5.6
2008 1.34 5.0
2009 1.28 4.3
2010 1.35 4.4
2011 1.24 4.4
2012 1.07  
2020 Goal 0.68  
2030 Goal 0.19  
Goal: 0.68Progress: As of Dec. 2012 


2013 Total Recordable Incident Rate

Data changes from prior reporting were due to retroactive reporting or reclassification of incidents.


Approach to Safety

The following are the four main activities undertaken in support of our safety system:

  • Identifying hazards and assessing the risks associated with our products, services, and operations;
  • Developing and implementing operational controls with built-in layers of protection to mitigate effectively the impact of those risks;
  • Monitoring and maintaining our hazard recognition, risk assessment, and operational control activities to ensure they are current and effective; and
  • Reacting to correct gaps in our protective systems and continuously improve system stability.


Identifying Hazards and Assessing the Risks

We expect each business unit to proactively identify and eliminate potential hazards in the workplace, going beyond regulatory compliance and looking for ways to reduce injuries.


Ideally, we want to find solutions and use countermeasures that eliminate potential hazards. When hazard elimination is not technically feasible or is extremely impractical, we need to at least ensure that the hazards are managed so that incidents are prevented by reducing the potential effects or severity of a hazard; likelihood of exposure to the hazard; and frequency of exposure.


Developing and Implementing Operational Controls

Operations and activities that could result in risk or impact are controlled to ensure that our environment, health, and safety (EHS) policy is followed and that management system objectives are achieved. We develop procedures to cover both internal activities, such as control of hazardous energy and fall protection, and external activities, including contractor and product safety.


Every business unit is also required to ensure that each of its locations develops, implements, and maintains written emergency response plans and training programs consistent with our mandatory procedure for emergency response plans.


Monitoring and Maintaining Systems

Selecting the appropriate performance indicators and monitoring frequency necessary to track performance of the management system can be a challenge. When selecting performance indicators, we seek the following characteristics:

  • Predictive and leading;
  • Objective, verifiable, and measurable;
  • Relevant to Alcoa’s activities, products, and services;
  • Consistent with the organization’s safety policy, objectives, and targets;
  • Practical, cost-effective, and technologically feasible; and
  • Meaningful to internal and external stakeholders.


We track key performance indicators for each business unit and operating location. Periodically, we test and calibrate these performance indicators against the safety objectives and action plans to determine their effectiveness in measuring and monitoring Alcoa’s overall safety performance.


Reacting to Correct Gaps and Improve System Stability

When a safety or other protective-system nonconformance exists, business units and locations are expected to initiate a corrective action process that, at a minimum, involves the following:

  • Investigate the alleged nonconformance and determine its validity;
  • Determine the potential impact of the nonconformance and prioritize work based on the risk;
  • Identify the root cause;
  • Determine necessary corrective and preventive action;
  • Assign a level of urgency and scope to the corrective and preventive action that is commensurate with the magnitude of the nonconformance and its related impacts; and
  • Verify to insure corrective actions are implemented.


The safety systems are reviewed at least annually. Senior management participates in the review process, which is designed to ensure the continued suitability, adequacy, and effectiveness of the organization’s overall safety management system.


Fatality Elimination

One of our guiding safety principles is that we value human life above all else and manage risk accordingly. One life lost is one too many.


As mentioned earlier, we unfortunately experienced the following fatal incidents in 2012:

  • On July 16th, a mechanic at our plant in Davenport, Iowa, USA, was working as part of a three-person crew at the mill’s #14 slitter. The employee and a coworker were working from a fixed work platform under a threading table when the table unexpectedly moved, pinning the mechanic between a motor housing and the top of the work platform’s guardrail, resulting in his death.
  • On August 27th, an accident at the Baie-Comeau Smelter in Quebec, Canada resulted in the death of a mechanic who was assisting a colleague whose load had fallen off his forklift. As he attempted to position a section of pipe onto the forks, he was struck by the forklift and killed.


Fatalities often have multiple causes, and these tend to surface at different locations, sometimes at ones with outstanding injury performance and health and safety audit results. This makes some fatalities even harder to predict and foresee.


We have learned through our investigations that these catastrophic events often involve many people operating at different levels of knowledge and experience, and the incidents generally involve a breach of human-technical, leadership, and organizational defenses.


We know our efforts to expand the use of pre-job briefings and pre-job risk assessment tools prior to the start of non-routine work are having a positive impact. We’ve also learned to expand the use of automated systems to allow for a faster response when a human response to a potential hazard is too slow or effectively places the individual in a high-risk exposure.


Our global focus and attention on fatality prevention continues with the objective of building a system and culture that is more robust in its ability to:

  • Recognize risks and error-likely situations;
  • Improve the effectiveness of pre-job briefings for high-risk tasks;
  • Assess the risk for fatal or other high-potential consequences by job or task and routine or non-routine activities;
  • Provide layers of protection from recognized risks;
  • Stop the work when a risk is identified that cannot be eliminated or controlled;
  • Apply lessons learned to predict areas of current and future vulnerability, and incorporate error-proofing;
  • Pre-design tested and safe methods for performing job tasks;
  • Improve the use of field observations on higher risk tasks as a means to monitor for potential deviations from safe and proven methods; and
  • Address contractor and contracted services safety.


We are a participant in the Mercer/ORC Fatality and Serious Injury Task Force, which:

  • Benchmarks information that assists organizations in achieving safety and health excellence related to preventing fatalities and serious incidents; and
  • Collects and analyzes critical information necessary to identify factors that contribute to fatal and serious cases, and recommend preventive measures.


We continue to test how our management systems contribute to fatalities and what predictive or leading indicators might be used to signal when we are moving closer to an at-risk condition and/or a weakness in our protective systems. We are gaining traction in our efforts to create an awareness and understanding of key drivers that increase the potential for human error as it relates to fatalities.


In 2012, the Safety Sciences Department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) hosted the Fatality Prevention in the Workplace forum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. This is the second fatality prevention forum in the past five years that was sponsored by Alcoa Foundation in cooperation with IUP. Other sponsors for the 2012 event were DuPont Sustainable Solutions, U.S. Steel, and the Edison Mission Group.


More than 175 attendees from major multi-national companies attended the forum. Many participants noted that the first forum proved to be a signature event and served as a call to action. Feedback at the event underscored that Alcoa continues to enjoy a reputation as a thought leader and corporate benchmark in both fatality prevention and human performance.


Key Performance Indicators

In addition to fatality elimination, our safety strategy, targets, and objectives continue to be focused on improving our performance in the following key metrics.


Lost Workday Incident Rates

These rates most often represent temporary or permanently disabling incidents that impact the long-term health and welfare of our employees and contractors.


Total Recordable Incident Rates (TRIR)

These are the more frequent and visual reminders of gaps that remain in critical areas, such as ergonomics, noise, and hand/finger injuries, that most frequently stand in the way of Alcoa locations achieving an injury- and illness-free workplace. These incidents include those resulting in lost time or restricted work activity, as well as those that require medical treatment.



While we will continue to monitor fatality potential as our first priority, we moved to the DART rate on January 1, 2012 as a key incident prevention indicator along with TRIR. As with the LWD and TRIR, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Bureau of Labor Statistics monitor DART for U.S. companies. DART rates, which are typically available from international peers whom we benchmark, are better focusing our incident prevention efforts on eliminating the more serious incidents first. An analysis of our DART rates from 2002 to 2011 revealed a more consistent and repeatable process within Alcoa for managing higher severity incidents than ever before—essentially in parallel to our disciplined execution of our fatality prevention efforts.


Employee New-to-the-Job Incident Rates

Work conducted by Alcoa’s Yale Partnership documented an association between time in a job and injury rates. The study revealed that injury rates for employees new to a job, irrespective of actual company tenure, was approximately 12 times higher for employees with one year or less in their current position compared to all other employees. Since this type of incident has traditionally accounted for approximately 30% of all occupational injuries annually, it has become a critical focus area for targeted intervention and improvement in our protective systems.


Major Incident Profile

While major incidents may not lead to an injury or illness, they have the potential to result in a fatality, a permanent or temporarily disabling injury, severe property damage, or a risk to the surrounding community. Tracking and profiling our major incidents provide us with valuable information to solve non-catastrophic incidents to their root cause and apply the lessons learned to prevent similar or repeat events with perhaps more significant consequences in the future.


Injury-Free Event Profile

Similar to major incidents, these are incidents that do not lead to an injury or illness but have the potential to do so. Encouraging injury-free event reporting raises the level of employee engagement in safety and health and promotes proactive risk recognition and response. Often the lessons learned while investigating these minor incidents highlight a potential that otherwise would remain undetected as a latent condition or error-likely situation.


Safety Engagement Profile

Safety research suggests that one of the most important leading indicators of sustaining organizational change in safety is the level of employee involvement and engagement. Some of our proactive means for promoting employee engagement include: safety suggestions; single-point-accountable roles for a specific focus area of the safety system; and participation on safety problem-solving teams, pre-job briefings, toolbox meetings, safety committees, and incident investigations. In 2012, the statement “I work in an environment that promotes safety” in the Alcoa Global Voices employee survey had a favorable score among 87% of the participants.


Employee Safety Engagement
Percent of employees indicating they work in an environment that promotes safety
Goal: 100%Progress: As of Dec. 2012 


Overtime and Fatigue Risk Management Profile

The Yale Partnership study also documented an association between injuries and extended work hours. The risk of injury increases significantly after 16 consecutive work hours. An increase in injury risk was also observed when more than 64 hours were worked in seven consecutive days. As a result, we have implemented overtime caps of 16 hours per day and 64 hours per week (66 hours for employees working 12-hour shifts) and require waivers to exceed those limits.


In 2012, we built upon our ergonomics, human performance, and wellness platforms to more closely evaluate and attempt to understand the impact of fatigue on employees’ well-being from both a safety and health perspective. Fatigue risk management training is now available, and risk factors are in the early stages of collection and analysis. Work in this area will continue in 2013 to better define the actions we can take to reduce the overall risk associated with this workplace variable.


Mobile Equipment Profile

In plants, free-moving mobile equipment represents the most significant fatality risk in Alcoa. In particular, the vehicle-pedestrian interface is the most frequent type of mobile equipment exposure of concern. As a result of a multi-year effort across our global locations, more than 25% of our free-moving mobile equipment units have been eliminated or replaced with alternative equipment, greatly reducing the risk for vehicle-pedestrian collisions.

Efficiency and Effectiveness Program

We are continually looking to improve our safety system efficiency by streamlining the many information systems used to accumulate, analyze, and report safety-related information. This enables skilled people to focus on more value-added work, such as risk assessment and root-cause analysis.


Our global real-time incident management system, called Alcoa Incident, remains an effective tool to report and analyze injuries, illnesses, environmental incidents, and EHS-related events. Alcoa Incident is available in multiple languages and has more than 9,100 users. These include shop floor employees, contractors, department safety committee members, business leaders, audit staff, compliance employees, and EHS professionals. 

Continuous Improvement Efforts

Since 2005, we have focused on simpler and more binary safety standards; the adoption of the International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 18001 (occupational health and safety management systems) and ISO 14001 (environmental management systems) standards; common information systems; and streamlined audit protocols. Increased stability, reliability, and strength of the safety system were the goals, so long-term improvements in these areas would benefit the customer, the business, and individuals working within the system.


Annually, each Alcoa business group is challenged to analyze its injury experience and develop and implement a problem-solving and improvement plan that addresses the group’s risk profile as it relates to Alcoa’s injury performance. While individual business unit risks vary, the key corporate drivers include: employees new to the job (less than 18 months); hand and finger injuries; significant ergonomic risk; exposure to slips, trips, and falls; and seasonal or non-routine task exposures.


Alcoa Self Assessment Tool Rating
Percent of locations receiving a “Good” or better self-audit score
Category 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Goal Progress
Fatality Prevention   70 91 91 91 Achieve a
Confined Space Entry 93 91 91 97 95 sustained rating
Mobile Equipment Safety 92 89 94 95 92 of 100% “good”
Fall Prevention 91 89 91 90 94 or better by 2020.
Lock/Tag/Verify 93 88 94 95 95  
Molten Metal Safety     69 69 71  
Combustible Dust/Particulate Safety     79 77 73  
Electrical Safety 57 61 73 83 90  
Contractor Safety 71 77 88 94 93  
Machine Safeguarding 48 48 53 71 84  
Combustion Safety 52 50 51 51 66  
2013 Alcoa Self Assessment Tool Rating
Percent of locations receiving a “Good” or better self-audit score
Category First Quarter Second Quarter Third Quarter Fourth Quarter
Fatality Prevention 90 90 92 92
Confined Space Entry 95 94 96 94
Mobile Equipment Safety 91 93 94 95
Fall Prevention 95 95 96 96
Lock/Tag/Verify 95 95 98 98
Molten Metal Safety 71 73 75 79
Combustible Dust/Particulate Safety 75 76 77 71
Electrical Safety 90 90 91 93
Contractor Safety 93 92 94 96
Machine Safeguarding 86 88 91 92
Combustion Safety 69 71 76 77



We have been shifting our training focus from instructor-led training to more on-demand/online module training in response to the expressed needs of our customers and the economic climate.


In 2012, we added the following to our existing safety courses on AlcoaLearn, our online learning management system:

  • Fatigue Risk Management;
  • Hazards of Stored or Potential Energy;
  • High-Pressure Water Jetting, Blasting, and Cleaning;
  • Root-Cause Analysis;
  • In-Running Nip Points; and
  • Contractor/Contracted Services Fatality and Serious Injury Prevention.


Web-based broadcast sessions remained an important vehicle for training delivery in 2012, ensuring that our business unit and location professionals maintained the knowledge and skills necessary to support our EHS program needs. We completed 35 sessions totaling more than 104 instructor contact hours. Attendance reached 321 classroom registrations that varied from one to 13 participants per location, representing more than 544 individual attendees.


In addition to the web-based sessions, we provided seven traditional classroom courses. A total of 97 people attended these sessions, and we invested more than 92 hours of instructor class time to advance the capabilities of our in-house safety and health resources.

Alcoa Business System Implementation

The introduction of human performance concepts is just one example where the safety system is moving toward working in concert within the Alcoa Business System (ABS) framework, particularly the people component, to target non-conforming materials, products, equipment, and work practices, as well as accidents and waste. As we shift our safety focus to analyze work activities associated with a particular person, task, and time, we will be making error precursors and triggers more visible. Once visible, errors can be predicted, managed, and prevented through standardized work and built-in tests for validating safe work practices at the activity level.


Creating a clearer connection with ABS also includes the following:

  • Applying total productive maintenance principles so that equipment failures with the potential to cause harm are anticipated and eliminated;
  • Applying ergonomic principles to improve the flow of work, the demands of the task, and the fit between tools, equipment, materials, and the person;
  • Promoting a just and fair culture that supports respect for people and encourages employee engagement; and
  • Supporting analysis to cause and problem solving.

Case Studies

Supervisor Safety Training Reduces Frequency, Severity of Injuries 

Program for High-Risk Capacity Restarts Improves Safety, Productivity

Segregating Pedestrians and Mobile Equipment

Human Performance Program Reduces Errors, Boosts Safety Performance

Alcoa Russia Focused on Fatality Prevention

Eliminating Fatalities One Risk at a Time

One Tree, One Life

Related Links
Alcoa Health

Zero Is Possible View up-to-the-minute and monthly statistics on Alcoa’s progress toward zero injuries and illnesses.