1 million man-hours of safety and counting

They’ve done it. The folks at Bremen Castings (www.bremencastings.com), a family-owned foundry and machine shop in Bremen, Indiana, have recorded 1 million man-hours without a lost-time accident. To clarify, a lost-time accident is an occurrence that results in a fatality, permanent disability, or lost time from work of one day or shift, and possibly more.

Mike Bacidore has been an integral part of the Putman Media editorial team since 2007, when he was managing editor of Control Design magazine. Previously, he was editorial director at Hughes Communications and a portfolio manager of the human resources and labor law areas at Wolters Kluwer. Bacidore holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He is an award-winning columnist, earning a Gold Regional Award and a Silver National Award from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He may be reached at 630-467-1300 ext. 444 or mbacidore@putman.net or check out his .

Machine shops and foundries are notoriously dangerous places to work, but Bremen is retooling the way we look at safety. I originally wrote about Bremen’s impressive safety progress back in October when the foundry hit 500 days without a lost-time accident, and then I had an opportunity to ask President JB Brown a few questions when he’d set the foundry’s sights on the million-man-hours mark.

Bremen introduces safety to new hires before they even hit the floor, putting them through an interactive safety orientation that emphasizes the company’s goal of a “zero incident culture.” Weekly safety meetings are held each Monday to remind employees to think about safety, and monthly training addresses bigger subjects, such as forklift safety or electrical safety. Bremen encourages employees to offer safety suggestions or opportunities to the safety committee.

“We’ve implanted strategies and procedures to make sure that each and every employee is accountable for each other’s safety while at work,” says Brown. “We require all employees to file ‘near miss’ reports if they notice something is amiss. For example, if a cable is in the way or there is a slippery step, the employee is responsible for moving it and filing a report to inform upper management of the issue.”

The executive team analyzes all reports and decides how to implement changes to prevent a potential situation in the future, explains Brown.

Bremen’s next goals are one year without a recordable incident and two years without a lost-time incident. Keep going, guys. We’re all pulling for you.

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Way to go, Bremen! Once everyone is thinking about safety, it really can be the top corporate priority.
Stanton McGroarty