ABB Drives Celebrates Safety Record

March 12, 2009
Company marks one year without a lost-time injury

Cake and speeches were included in the celebration of one year without a lost-time injury at ABB Automation Production Products, Low Votage Drive’s production facility in New Berlin, WI.

March 6 marked the official day for achieving the milestone at the LV Drives’ North American manufacturing site.

“Your achievement, both in practicing safety here in the workplace, and helping ABB be highly productive at this facility, is a marker we want to pause and honor today,” said Aaron Aleithe, vice president and general manager of LV Drives and LV motors, in an addressto all the manufacturing employees gathered for a celebration event.

“In an economy in which we’re committed to being as efficient, productive and safe as possible, this achievement is all the more notable,” Aleithe said. “It also means that we have all hands on deck and, through a conscious focus on safety, are able to count on your contributions, without loss of your expertise due to any accidents while here.”

The drives production facility includes 200 manufacturing employees, and more than 500 total personnel are employed on two Wisconsin campuses (production facility, as well as Drives Services). The production employees were on hand early this morning for the ceremony that honored their achievement.

The one-year milestone represents more than 750,000 hours worked. Safety has been elevated in emphasis and importance to a top priority, closely followed by a Customer Focus and Operational Excellence program, said George Lord, managing director of operations. “We know that reaching these yearly milestones is remarkable, and they also provide an incentive to reach for entirely new milestones. In February, 2008, the facility achieved 768 consecutive days without a lost time injury – and we keep an electronic-timing board up, so that everyone can work in concert to best that record!” Lord said.

The company goal is “zero injuries, period,” according to Rick Kegel plant and safety engineer for the two facilities.

The OpEx work began in earnest in 2004 at the facility, “and has changed entirely the culture, participation and level of engagement of employees throughout the production facility,” Kegel said. “The two go hand-in-hand: as employees provide critical feedback and help implement changes, safety considerations get built into the process. Our objective is to make this a habit of mind – so that safety continues to become systemic.”