10 Safest Companies In America and the ‘Extraordinary’ Ways They Did It

10 Safest Companies In America and the ‘Extraordinary’ Ways They Did It

EHS Today recently announced their “2016 America’s Safest Companies Awards” (

There are no clear criteria on the results page as to how this is judged but the application form (download here) makes for interesting reading – the first few pages are devoted to extensive details of your injury frequency rates, OSHA citations and dozens of tick boxes for your safety program elements before you get to the fluffy stuff. Oh, and if you have had a fatality in the last 5 years, bad luck, you are obviously unsafe and cannot enter.

(See Jerry Won The Safety Award But He Didn’t Do Anything)

From EHS Today’s announcement:

“All of the 2016 America’s Safest Companies demonstrated support from management and employee involvement; provided innovative solutions to safety challenges; reported injury and illness rates significantly lower than the average for their industries; supported comprehensive training programs; believed that prevention of incidents is the cornerstone of the safety process; integrated safety into their corporate culture and communicated the value of safety to employees and customers; and substantiated the benefits of the safety process.”

So, going on the summary of each winning company (here: 2016AmericasSafestCompanies.pdf (9 downloads)  ), it would seem that to win this award it’s all about zero harm, hunting hazards, injury performance and measurement, identifying hazards, PPE, assessing hazards, programs, recording hazards, auditing, controlling hazards, aphorisms, awareness of hazards, processes, eliminating hazards, training ….blah, blah, blah and mentioning ‘safety culture’ as many times as you can …….the same old traditional safety rubbish that rarely moves beyond the calculative stage!!! (see Who Said We Don’t Need Systems)

I don’t believe that you would ever find the real safest companies on this list as they just don’t measure safety in the way you need to to win this award. In fact, they probably don’t talk about safety very much at all, let alone nominate themselves for these awards – they are probably the best companies at everything they do and just get on with continuous improvement without too many silly accolades and false attributions.

Our Authors have written many times about safety not being a value (We Can Value Safety But Safety Is Not A Value ), that it is a higher order goal and therefore cannot be measured (The seduction of measurement in risk and safety/) and that culture is much more that just “what we do around here” or zero harm (Safety and Risk Culture  and A Culture Of Care And Sackings )

Might also be a good time to have a read of this: Deepwater Horizon which shows what can happen when under the over-confident illusion that, due to going a few years without an LTI, you are one of the worlds safest companies.

In justifying these awards, all I read is lots of acronyms, programs, motherhood statements and corporate double speak. Here are a few extracts – You be the Judge:

  • Safe physical conditions are provided and maintained to the extent feasible. • Employees are provided with and trained on the proper use of personal protective equipment. • Adequate safety rules and procedures are developed. • Training is provided. • Rules and procedures are enforced.
  • In addition to the Stop Work Authority program, the company offers the Huddle Up Process. This process is a setup that is performed in the field three times daily. The times selected for the Huddle Up meetings are based on company-wide trending data that identifies the three peak times related to incidents
  • Some policies include standards for acceptable types of clothing and accessories, personal hygiene and prohibited electronics devices as well as required PPE such as safety glasses, hearing protection and shoes.
  • With our 5+ years injury-free, we have been able to attract and retain high-potential employees as well as enhance the company reputation
  • Hazard Hunts, in which employees visit other work areas and “hunt for any hazard” that may cause injuries.
  • “We realize that the health and safety of our employees and communities are among our most important sustainability focus areas. To achieve a zero injury and incident culture, we are committed to integrating sound environmental, health and safety practices into our everyday activities.

My personal favourite:

  • To top it off, Leprino has an annual companywide “World’s Best Safety Award” which one of its nine plants can earn by meeting the following criteria:
  1. Must meet injury target goals and being in the top quartile.
  2. Must provide incentives for all tied to actions that improve safety.
  3. Must have active ongoing processes to reduce ergonomic and fall hazards.
  4. Must have at least one best practice developed and shared with other locations.
  5. Must keep accurate and prompt records as well as incident investigations.
  6. Must not have any disabling serious injuries.
  7. Must have an ongoing, posted corrective action tracking process.
  8. Must achieve a 90 percent score on level 2 of the corporate safety audit for safety systems. “There is no doubt that safety will continue to be a top priority in order to reach our maximum potential,” Forrester said. “Leprino Foods is committed to becoming the world’s safety company.”
  • Middough’s EHS program has been created to outline the policies and procedures necessary to help proactively develop an EHS culture, reduce the potential for incident and injury and ultimately achieve a hazard-free work environment,”
  • On the job, a safety observation program encourages proactive recognition and reporting of unsafe actions or conditions to reduce the possibility of incidents or injuries. project expectations are shared and communicated on all levels
  • The concern for safety 24/7 extends to contractors as well, he added. “We aren’t afraid to make difficult decisions. If we have employees or subcontractors that don’t or can’t measure up and meet our needs, we are willing to make a change. If we can’t do our work safely, then we don’t do the work, even when it could be good for us financially.”
  • Currently, 44 employees complete and submit more than 4,000 safety observations on an annual basis. Once observations are noted, each is reviewed to determine what corrections or actions should be taken
  • A corrective action program (CAP) is available to all employees as an effort to identify unsafe acts or conditions on the job, document them and mitigate or correct the action or condition.
  • Before work even begins, South Dakota Wheat Growers requires that all employees complete safety training, both hands-on and follow up. The company’s safety program is used as a selling point for prospective employees who hear about the safety measures taken by South Dakota Wheat Growers because of its involvement and reputation in the local community

What do you think? Are these America’s Safest Companies? Are you inspired to be safe now?

This article was written by Dave Collins for Safety Risk. See original article.