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Chromium Producer Polishes up Safety!

Elementis Chromium reduces lost-time injuries by 100% in first 12 months of employing Behavioral Safety.

Elementis Chromium’s Eaglescliffe site, produced chromic acid and chrome sulphate for use in consumer products like automobile accessories, domestic appliances, plumbing fixtures, and hospital equipment.

The site experienced an annual climb in injuries over a five year period. Believing many of these were related to unsafe behavior, they resolved to implement Behavior-Based Safety to control their injury rate.

"Buy-in" Sessions
Appointed as the preferred provider, B-Safe® began with ‘buy-in’ sessions with all employees to inform them about the process and seek their support.

Once the workforce agreed to participate, a plant project team were trained to implement the process over a five day period. This included background information on behavioral principles, incident analysis, checklist development, observer training, goal-setting, feedback, observation data-entry and analysis.

Checklist Development
Unsafe behaviors were obtained from analysis of the previous two years incident records. These and those raised at the ‘buy-in’ sessions were developed into ‘Behavioral Observation Checklists’ for 41 observation areas.

245 volunteer observers were recruited and trained over the next 12 months or so, to use the checklists, give feedback and set targets with their workgroups. The observers monitored their colleagues in the plant areas for 10-20 minutes a day for four weeks, to find out how safe people worked.

Each workgroup then set an improvement target. Observers continued to monitor daily and gave feedback when observing people and at weekly feedback meetings. The project team followed up any corrective actions, the status of which was reported back to the workgroups. This cycle of events was repeated every 30 weeks or so.

In the first year, Lost-time injuries reduced by 100%. Minor injuries also fell by 19%.

Since then minor injuries have fallen by over 90%. The site was accredited to the International occupational health and safety management standard - OHSAS 18001 - in October 2004.

B-Safe® was also rolled out to all the companies North American and UK operations. This helped the company reduce their OSHA recordable injury frequency rate by more than 50% in 2003 compared with 2002.