At West, we believe that a healthy and safe workplace is a fundamental right of every person. We take responsibility for maintaining a safe workplace at every site and work hard to minimize the risk of incidents, injuries, and exposure to health hazards for all team members, contractors, and visitors at our sites. It is West’s policy to comply with all applicable health and safety laws and regulations, designing and operating our sites to provide a safe and healthy workplace.
We also firmly believe in the importance of cultivating a culture of safety where every team member has a shared responsibility and is engaged in safety. Our President, CEO, and Chair of the Board, Eric Green, leads with this mindset, and it is carried through to the entire leadership team and every site director. To build this mindset organizationally into our sites, we have established Safety Embedded Organizations, which identify and put into place Safety Champions across all departments within our sites. These champions are recruited from non-HSE (Health, Safety, Environment) roles and help to hold their teammates accountable — supporting the mantra that safety is everyone’s responsibility.
In 2022, our West manufacturing sites were required to hang a Safety Charter and hold a signing ceremony when the site leadership signed their commitment to safety, and site team members then signed as well. These public displays of commitment and visible reminders have helped to keep our team members engaged and holding each other accountable to always remain focused on safety.
A key to the safety improvements we have realized has been our HSE Excellence strategy and ongoing initiatives around a proactive focus on prevention and identifying hazards in the workplace. This strategy provides a holistic approach towards achieving excellence in our HSE Management System and protecting our team members. This Management System is based on our Core Values, strives for continuous improvement, and fulfills the intention of ISO 14001 and ISO 45001.
To ensure compliance with our standards, our production sites are audited, both internally and externally with corporate experts, with HSE Excellence Audits, HSE Maturity Audits, and Focused Improvement Audits. In addition, audits are performed by PSCI, of which West is a signatory member.
An anchor for our proactive focus is our SEE-DO-SAY Something program, which requires all team members to work together and keep a constant eye out for hazards in the workplace (SEE), act on the hazard right away to immediately mitigate the risk if possible (DO), and then report the risk to management or HSE Representative (SAY).
Another successful behavior safety program has been our BEST (Behavior Safety Tours) West program, which is an observation process that provides direct feedback from team members. Our manufacturing sites select five to six safety behaviors to master. When trained team members walk the floor, they observe and record the actions they see. If team members are conducting their work safely using the appropriate methods, it is positively noted and recorded. If a team member is not working safely, they get instant feedback.
This proactive focus and team member engagement has resulted in an improved Recordable Incident Rate (RIR) — the lowest RIR West has achieved since recording that metric. Our 2022 RIR of 0.67 was a 21percent improvement versus 2021, and a 29 percent improvement versus 2020.
While the consistent RIR improvement is noteworthy, the most significant aspect is the work being completed in the areas of proactive implementation as previously mentioned. We will continue to have an enhanced focus on leading indicator metrics, Corrective and Preventative Action (CAPA) program globalization, and the cadence of weekly and monthly business review meetings.
These programs, and many others, are aligning and standardizing the safety process in ways not previously achieved. Demonstrated commitment to safety at this level takes dedicated time and effort across the organization. The fact that our One West Team has taken that time is further evidence of our mutual goal of creating the safest workplace possible.