• A.O. Smith's McBee, SC Plant Earns Safety Award

    April 1, 2007
    A. O. Smith Corporation today presented its highest safety honor, the President's Safety Award, to the 450 employees of its Water Products Company plant

    A. O. Smith Corporation today presented its highest safety honor, the President's Safety Award, to the 450 employees of its Water Products Company plant in McBee, SC.
    The A. O. Smith President's Safety Award, established in 1954, is given to the facility that compiles the best safety record in a calendar year. McBee was one of 38 company facilities worldwide competing to receive this year's honor. The award is presented based on statistical evidence of improvement over a one-year period as well as by sustaining a comprehensive facility-wide safety program focused on the goal of accident prevention.
    "Over the last four years, everyone in this plant has worked to take your safety program to an entirely new level of excellence," Paul W. Jones, chairman and chief executive officer of A. O. Smith Corporation said during a special presentation ceremony at the plant, "and it is certainly easy to see the evidence of that effort throughout the facility."
    "This is a facility that has undergone a tremendous amount of change over the last five years, from the consolidation of the commercial water heater product line to the introduction of commercial boiler assembly," Ajita G. Rajendra, president of A. O. Smith Water Products Company, told the employees in attendance. "A lot of new equipment has been introduced here, there have been new processes put in place, and many new
    faces, including on the plant leadership team. Thanks to everyone's unrelenting efforts throughout this period of frequent change, you have been able to maintain McBee's reputation as a safe place to work."
    This is the third time the McBee plant has earned the company's top safety honor. Prior awards were presented to the plant in 1982 and 1992.
    How They Stay Safe
    A. O. Smith Corporation uses three statistical measures to determine a facility's safety performance:
    •Lost workday case incidence rate--This measure relates to the most serious,
    work-related injuries or illnesses that result in one or more lost work days;
    •Recordable case incidence rate--Recordable incidents are significant, work-related injuries or illnesses beyond first aid as defined by the U. S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA);
    •Lost workday incidence rate--This category measures a facility's total number of lost work days and provides a measure of accident severity.
    McBee placed among the leaders in each of the three categories. In lost workday cases, the plant worked the entire year of 2006 without a lost-time accident, and to date has accumulated more than 1.5 million hours without a lost-time incident. It is the second time in four years that McBee has exceeded one million hours without a lost-time accident.
    McBee was among the top three facilities in the category of recordable case incidence rate, compiling the best incidence rate in the plant's history last year. Over the last six months, the plant has sustained just one recordable case.
    Full Employee Involvement McBee's safety performance can be attributed to its comprehensive safety program that strives to involve all employees. The plant has a Safety Team, made up of hourly and salaried employees, that is responsible for conducting regular safety inspections throughout the facility. The Safety Team also offers training for plant employees and, beginning earlier this year, is part of the group responsible for handling any accident and "near-miss" investigations in the plant.
    The Safety Team — Linda Blackwell, John Bradford, Fred Budde, Allen Burch, Chris Count, Donnie Engelbert, Leroy Harris, Lori Hudson, Donnie McFadden, John Touchberry, and Tim Wallace — accepted the award on behalf of the McBee employees.
    Over the last several years, McBee has expanded its safety program into a number of innovative areas. In 2005, employees began a daily stretching exercise program designed to reduce muscular and skeletal injuries. The program was designed by a physical therapist specifically for the McBee operation and is based on the types of equipment in the facility and the repetitive motions employees make in doing their jobs.
    The McBee plant has also held a health fair for employees and sponsors weight reduction and exercise programs as part of its effort to promote safety and wellness.
    The 800,000 square foot McBee facility manufactures commercial water heating equipment and high-efficiency copper tube boilers. It is also the site of the division's Product Engineering Center, a laboratory dedicated on designing and testing new water heating products.