ELYRIA, Ohio — Coming off the safest year in its nearly 90-year history, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems has been honored with a major corporate award recognizing its pursuit of safe operations.
The company was named to EHS Today’s 2019 list of America’s Safest Companies, an annual award recognizing the safest companies in the United States. Bendix joins 15 other companies to be selected by the publication’s editors.
EHS Today, a magazine for environment, health and safety leaders, founded America’s Safest Companies in 2002. Since then, more than 250 companies have earned the distinction. At a ceremony that was part of its 2019 Safety Leadership Conference in Dallas, Texas, EHS Today presented the award to Bendix and the other 2019 honorees.
“From the operations floor to the executive suite, employees throughout the Bendix organization strive to maintain the highest possible standard of safety, a value deeply held in our company culture,” said Carlos Hungria, Bendix chief operating officer. “This is an important part of our journey to operational excellence, and we are truly honored to be named among America’s Safest Companies with our 15 fellow recipients. The award reflects our unwavering commitment to ensure the well-being of each and every individual who sets foot inside a Bendix facility.”
To be considered one of America’s Safest Companies, companies must demonstrate transformational environmental, health and safety leadership in the form of support from management and employee involvement; innovative solutions to safety challenges; injury and illness rates significantly lower than the average for their industries; comprehensive training programs; evidence that prevention of incidents is the cornerstone of the safety process; excellent communication internally and externally about the value of safety; and a way to substantiate the benefits of the safety process.
An attitude of no compromise best describes Bendix’s pursuit of safe operations, which is built around the goal of zero injuries, Hungria said. In 2018, that unified mindset helped the company achieve its safest year ever. Of Bendix’s 18 North American locations, nearly all achieved significant safety milestones, and cumulatively experienced a 30 percent reduction from 2017’s injury rate. At the heart of the results are preventive and corrective safety programs, as well as processes and rituals that empower employees to help improve safety.
Bendix has implemented mature safety processes, which continue to drive noticeable improvement in year-over-year safety results, Hungria said, adding that part of the long-term strategy of the Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) team, these processes include a 24-hour incident notification and containment policy; Safety Shares, a practice begun in 2019 involving the sharing of a personal safety lesson at the start of each meeting; lessons learned from incident sharing across all of Bendix’s plants to identify and eliminate similar risks; among others.
In addition, engagement opportunities through the Safety STARS (Safety Top Achievement Recognition System) program enable employees to take on a key role in identifying unsafe conditions, unsafe behaviors, and safety improvements.
Key to the success of the safety program has been the integration with the Knorr Production System (KPS) quality, productivity, and continuous improvement culture. KPS is practiced worldwide throughout the Munich, Germany-based Knorr-Bremse Group, of which Bendix is a member. KPS tools and rituals have helped quantify improvement activities, increase visibility to safety losses, escalate safety concerns, and drive team-level ownership of safety.
“We’re so proud of our team members in Bendix blue who come to work every day 110 percent committed to performing their jobs safely,” said Maria Gutierrez, Bendix director of corporate responsibility and sustainability. “Their dedication made the America’s Safest Companies recognition possible. We look forward to reaching more milestones as we continue on Bendix’s safety journey.”