Posted on December 22, 2015
Workplace safety is a top priority for Victaulic. At the core is a firm belief that all injuries are preventable, all safety and health risks are controllable and management is accountable for overall safety performance. The company continually refines practices, innovations and investments to foster a safe work environment.
This intense commitment to safety was recently brought to the forefront when EHS Today magazine named Victaulic one of America’s Safest Companies. EHS Today is among the foremost publications for environment, health and safety leaders across a wide range of industries. The magazine conducts an exhaustive annual study of safety practices at businesses and organizations to uncover best practices and recognize leadership in workplace safety. Inclusion on the 2015 list of America’s Safest Companies is clear validation of Victaulic’s commitment in this important area.
Safety is everybody’s job
Manufacturing environments and foundries have inherent safety challenges. Employees at all levels within Victaulic have a role in addressing safety, such as identifying potential hazards, developing innovative safety practices and equipment, and making sound investments to help ensure employee safety.
It’s clear that Victaulic employees recognize and value this culture of safety. A recent internal survey showed that employees feel safety rules and environmental regulations are embraced and consistently followed across the organization. The survey also revealed that this trait, more than any other corporate objective or leadership behavior, is emphasized on a daily, weekly and annual basis.
Victaulic’s safety initiatives are working. The company has netted an 87 percent reduction in recordable injury rates within the past decade alone, and it continues on a path of continual improvement in workplace safety.
Victaulic and its employees continually look for innovative ideas and approaches to safety. The EHS Today analysis highlighted specific safety innovations spearheaded by employees.
The first is the innovative BOGU Foundry Worker Safety Coat. The BOGU coat was the brainchild of an environmental health and safety manager at Victaulic who helped drive development of a new polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) fabric. This fabric was designed to be lighter weight and more breathable than traditional aluminized Kevlar used in standard foundry safety coats. Beyond improved comfort, the PTFE fabric provides measurably better molten metal splash protection, improved durability and easier maintenance compared to previous gear.
In a work environment where average temperatures can top 110° F, the new BOGU coats are enhancing safety and comfort for people who work around molten metal.
The EHS Today analysis of Victaulic also featured an innovative and safer practice to maintain foundry ladles. A Victaulic ladle repair operator researched the idea of using a Brokk robot to eliminate the manual and labor-intensive task of ladle relining and repair.
A product demonstration proved that the Brokk unit could assist in many of the ladle repair tasks. Jobs that previously took two full shifts could now be completed in just a few hours. More importantly, the remote controlled Brokk eliminated the need to use a manual chipping hammer and provided a solution to an ergonomically difficult task.
Investing for a safer workplace
Finally, EHS Today highlighted Victaulic’s significant investments in workplace safety. Over the past three years, the company has committed more than $2 million to upgrade facilities and improve safety. Investments focused on improved air conditioning and metal splash protection on melt and pour decks, enhanced fall protection, new jib cranes and other equipment that minimize lifting by employees, and many other safety enhancements.
Safety is paramount at Victaulic. The recognition in EHS Today is just one more proof point of that commitment.