Safety first

A cross-functional team at Gränges in Shanghai helped bring the plant’s accident rate down to its lowest level in ten years, winning them a Gränges Company Award. Vice-President for EHS and Quality Ge Sun explains how they did it.

Walking the talk. Ge Sun, VP EHS & Quality in Shanghai, says increasing safety awareness is key to reaching a healthier working environment.

Gränges has a “safety first” culture. None of the employees or other individuals should be at risk of injury in a Gränges workplace, wherever in the world the company operates.

But achieving a safe environment takes persistence and determination. Ask Gränges Shanghai, whose dramatic progress won them the Health and Safety category in the Gränges Company Awards.

Between 2017 and 2018 a cross functional team led by Ge Sun, Vice President for EHS & Quality, succeeded in reducing the Total Reportable Rate (TRR) of accidents per million hours worked from 6.25 to just 2.85, the plant’s lowest level in ten years. Sun takes up the story:

“Around two years ago, the Gränges Production System started in Shanghai and zero accidents is one of its targets. But in 2017, our TRR was 6.25 and we had a total of nine recordable cases, so there was a big gap between us and the target.

“First of all, we focused on increasing safety awareness with the support of our top management team, who issued a company-wide statement on the matter. Then we carried out strict observation and follow-up routines through onsite audits.”

A team of production workshop managers, maintenance supervisors, utility managers and EHS staff started meeting weekly, working out how to identify potential hazards and communicate safety messages. They involved employees in target-setting and established daily 5S activities on-site.

They also introduced the Lock Out, Tag Out (LOTO) safety program, and strengthened the training and monitoring of suppliers and contractors. And each month one of the top managers leads an on-site audit of the fire-fighting system, 5S, supplier management and special equipment.

The award is not the end, it’s a new start.
- Ge Sun, VP EHS & Quality

Sun believes that this mixture of a top-down approach, total involvement of employees across the board, plus persistence and determination are universal keys to success.

Good to go?
The daily check of forklifts is an important routine in Shanghai, as it is elsewhere in the company.

But, he adds, “Raising people’s awareness was one of the biggest challenges. We spent several months getting people to follow a simple rule requiring them to walk on the pavement while at work. There was a lot of communication involved, including training and talking with the employees and their managers. Eventually, everyone understood and they all now follow this rule.”

“We are all happy to get this award, but we also feel that it’s not the end of the process. It’s a new start for us that motivates us to further improve our safety performance in future. To have an attractive and safe work environment is a key factor in being a good enterprise.”

The jury’s motivation

“Gränges Asia has improved its safety performance with an all-time low level of accidents resulting in a TRR of 2.85. This performance was achieved by a strong focus on the critical hazards such as the LOTO program and also by deploying the 5S system all over the plant”.

Participants: Multifunctional teams of production workshop managers and maintenance supervisors, EHS team and HR.

“We’re all happy to get this award.”
Ge Sun and the team involved in the safety program in Shanghai.'