Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Nissan improves safety

Article at http://www.murfreesboropost.com

'Focus on safety begins to pay off for Nissan' by Erin Edgemon. This is interesting as it sounds like the programme being followed is most concerned with hazardous conditions, rather than behaviors.

Nissan North America decreased its reportable injuries at its manufacturing plants by nearly 72 percent from 2000 to 2005.

2000 Nissan North America had a recordable injury rate of 31.4 meaning that 31.4 out of every 100 people had an injury that required more than first aid treatment during the year. By 2005 that rate dropped to 8.9. Over the same time lost work time rate dropped from 6.3 to 1.6.

Nissan's safety program works because it gets everyone from top-level management to production technicians on the manufacturing floor involved. Nissan benchmarked other companies including receiving consultations from Dupont, which is known for its world-class safety program. It spent millions of dollars to improve safety in its plants from purchasing mats for technicians to stand on to installing lift assists and robots to do more physically demanding jobs.

“The intent of it was to enhance our safety program to become world class,” said Greg Daniels, senior vice president of Nissan’s U.S. manufacturing of the program. “We wanted our employees to come to work and leave the same way. It was critical to us.”

In order to make the program work, Daniels said employee mindset had to be changed to view safety as the first priority. Every employee is trained to spot problems and are expected to tell non-management safety committee members or management to have them corrected.

Workers inspect their work zones at least once a week. It takes a few hours to inspect for potential hazards and to talk to the employees in his area. The employees doing the inspections have the authority to fix problems or write-up work orders to have problems fixed.

Each zone on the manufacturing floor is audited for safety eight times a month due to the constantly changing environment, Dove said.

Now that Nissan has the basics perfected, more of the company’s focus has been placed on ergonomics and making the assembly of vehicles easier for employees.
"Most of our issues now are design issues," Dove said.

Andy Brazier

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