In 2009 a Henkel Corp. plant in North Kansas City, Mo., celebrated 25 years without a lost-time injury and 10 years without a recordable incident. Although the plant only has 19 employees, it operates 24 hours a day, five days a week. Workers handle various types of mixing equipment and formulations used to make more than 50 million pounds of adhesives per year manufactured for envelopes, tissues and towels.
The company attributes the plant's success to an empowered safety culture that encourages workers to take ownership of their own safety, says Mike Rondholz, vice president of adhesive operations. "The management team at the local level has embraced the culture and made it a way of life more so than any other plant," Rondholz says. "The team looks out for each other." Employees and the leadership team conduct regular walk-around audits. The company also provides behavioral-based safety programs that focus on how plant employees approach their work rather than simply targeting the tools that they use, Rondholz says.