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Morton Salt’s Prize-Winning Safety Program
Many of Morton Salt’s employees work in one of the most dangerous industries: mining. Even so, the company recently earned a spot on EHS Today magazine’s list of America’s safest companies. The honor was no accident. The company makes safety one of its sustainability goals and actively promotes employee involvement in safe practices.
Morton’s safety program involves four main efforts. First, the company directs employees to report to a supervisor any “near misses,” or hazards that could cause an accident if ignored. Morton has learned that the more near-miss reports it receives (and responds to), the fewer accidents occur, so it strives for 750 reports each quarter.
The second safety effort is an annual Safety Day held at each facility. Production stops so employees can participate in team building and safety training exercises, with a break for lunch hosted by top managers. Third, Morton invites safety suggestions, which it posts online and distributes via e-mail. Prizes go to employees whose ideas are selected as the best.
Finally, the company participates in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). OSHA approves an application to this program only if the company has demonstrated that it has established corporate level systems for managing health and safety, implements them effectively, and uses control processes to evaluate each facility’s performance at maintaining worker safety and health. Many VPP-certified organizations are federal agencies; Morton was the seventh business to be certified, and as of this writing, only five businesses currently participate.
While VPP certification and a place on EHS Today’s list are certainly honors to appreciate, the real accomplishment is the well-being of Morton’s employees. Morton periodically celebrates this accomplishment with events for employees whose facilities have passed safety milestones. For example, the facility in Grand Saline, Texas, recently held a banquet to celebrate a million work hours without an accident, and an event in Rittman, Ohio, celebrated that facility’s achievement of nine million accident-free hours.
1. How does Morton Salt’s safety program surpass the requirements of the OSH Act?
2. How might a human resource manager at Morton Salt support the company’s efforts to promote worker health and safety?