Based on article published in ERJ's January/February issue
Opinion: Zero in on safety
The most uncompromising words I ever heard about industrial safety came, a few years ago, from Craig Torrance, global senior manager, health, safety and well being, at food and beverage giant PepsiCo.
Though relatively new to the job, Torrance had been given enormous power in the organisation and was certainly not afraid to use it. His remit was to harmonise and enforce corporate safety standards and systems across the group’s 800+ plants and 6,500 warehouses – all, as he said, jam-packed full of machinery.
Every item of equipment supplied into the group – even seals for taps in the washrooms - had to comply with PepsiCo’s strict safety standards regardless of where in the world they were manufactured.
But, said Torrance, the real key to raising standards at PepsiCo was the establishment of a clear line of manager accountability so that the CEO could readily see who was responsible for any incident or departure for the zero-tolerance safety policy.
Quite well, really, at least based on comments from Assocomaplast, SRI/Falken, Trelleborg and VMI, who provided feedback for our factory safety feature (see p27 ERJ Jan/Feb issue), as well as more strategic reviews from Bridgestone and Pirelli, which are running on-line on the ERJ website.
These companies have all recognised the need for effective global safety strategies, with the key requirements of accountability, responsibility, and shopfloor-to-boardroom communications channels – as well as continuous monitoring and improvement of their systems and equipment.
However, I think that the tire and rubber industry, in general, can still learn a lot from PepsiCo and other bluechip companies in outside industries – particularly when it comes to ensuring the use of best-available, and hence safest, equipment and technologies at their plants.
And, as our industry commentators point out, the focus should be on minimising and eliminating the need for human intervention and manual processes at tire and rubber manufacturing around the world.