Paying Attention to Safety

September 27, 2000
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Congratulations to two major materials suppliers to our industry who lead the large chemical companies in safety.

Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Lehigh Valley, Pa., had the best safety record of large-scale chemical manufacturers in the United States for 1999, according to Responsible Care® performance measure data released by the American Chemistry Council (formerly the Chemical Manufacturers Association).

Air Products’ frequency of recordable injuries — employee injuries that must be recorded under Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines — was 1.04 per 200,000 employee hours worked. Air Products’ frequency rate of lost-time injuries, a measure of more serious injuries, was 0.50 per 200,000 employee hours worked. Both safety statistics were at least 35% lower than the average results for large-sized chemical companies.

Eugene Ervin, director of Corporate Environment, Health and Safety at Air Products, attributed the results to Air Products’ safety programs and employees. “Our process safety efforts are focused on preventing accidents through design and maintenance of sound operations, and they’re yielding positive results. But it’s our employees who really made these results happen.”

Bayer Corp., Pittsburgh, is the nation's second-safest large chemical manufacturing company, according to the American Chemistry Council. Based on a record-setting safety performance in 1999, Bayer improved its safety record from fifth best in 1998.

Achieving a 44-percent safety improvement over the past five years, Bayer also is one of 25 chemical companies nationwide whose continuous improvement in workplace safety earned a Responsible Care Performance Improvement Award from the Council. The chemical industry is four-and-one-half-times safer than all other manufacturing industries combined, the Council reports.

“Safety is our number-one priority,” said Helge Wehmeier, Bayer president and CEO. “The Performance Improvement Award is a tribute to every one of Bayer's 22,000 employees. Their persistent dedication to safety means that over the past five years, 545 of their colleagues have been spared work-related injury or illness.”

Achieving a laudable safety award is no accident. One man’s theory on preventing injuries to increasing productivity boils down to teaching employees how to control their attention.

“What people do not understand,” says Robert Pater, founder of Strategic Safety Associates, Portland, Ore., and the MoveSMART® safety and motivational program, “is that their attention span is just another part of their body. It can consciously be changed and controlled with practice and training. Attention is a crucial and often hidden element in performance, productivity and safety. It is part of all decision-making processes. When well-controlled, it is an instrument for effectiveness in every realm of life.”

As expert consultants in the field of motivation, performance enhancement and injury prevention, Pater and his team have applied mental and physical control strategies from certain principles of the martial arts to help companies of all types and sizes make significant changes. For more information, call Robert Pater at 503-977-2094, or visit the Web site


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