Initiatives to Ensure the Health and Safety of Employees

Occupational health and safety is one of the most important topics in Komatsu's business operations.
In addition to internal Group-wide safety, we extend our efforts to include our business partners in putting a strong emphasis on safety in the workplace.

Overall Policy regarding Occupational Health and Safety

Along with communicating the President's message regarding occupational health and safety, in the April 2011 edition of the “Komatsu's Code of Business Conduct” Komatsu pledged that it would establish a “Occupational Safety and Health Policies,” and that the company would work in cooperation with its employees to develop these initiatives.

·Komatsu's Worldwide Code of Business Conduct, Occupational Safety and Health

As part of health and safety efforts, we are working on having every employee participate in Zero Accidents small-group activities and conducting well-established safety training sessions, and supporting safety activities globally. Our goal is to promote the health of our employees by having the entire Group have a health and safety management system set up, and promote mental and physical health management.

·Overview of Health and Safety System

Project members from PMO and members of Safety &Health Administration Dept. and the Ibaraki Plant. Writer of this article is at the back row, to the left.

Project members from PMO and members of Safety & Health Administration Dept. and the Ibaraki Plant. Writer of this article is at the back row, to the left.

Japan-USA's Joint Health and Safety Project

Mr. Michael Hoffman
Manager, Safety & Loss Control
Peoria Manufacturing Operation (PMO),
Komatsu America Corp. (KAC)

『Why Safety?』

When an accident occurred at our plant in August 2012, the member of Safety & Health Administration Dept. from Japan came to our plant, to be reminded of the importance of life and health. It was then that we established the following plant policy, to show our employees why we have to pay attention to safety, and for whose sake we emphasize safety.

PMO Safety Policy
Why Safety? ... For yourself, your family and for PMO

The initiative did not start from zero. Instead we looked at the current overall activities being undertaken, kept the ones that were working well, incorporated initiatives taken in Japan in place, and classified the initiatives into “initiatives to be continued,” “new initiatives,” and “initiatives to reinforce.” In order to do so we first reviewed the system and organizational structure. We set up a safety expert to support the manager and to make on-site improvements and give directions, and put a safety supporter in the manufacturing line on-site to be the safety leader. The bottom-up form of SAR (Safety Action Requests: safety improvement suggestions) has also continued to improve, and on-site safety has significantly improved by both parties.

Communication and Leading by Example

The next most important thing is the “Attitude of the Top.” The employees are always watching their managers. If the managers are indifferent toward health and safety measures, no one else will follow these measures. Leading by example, like posting the policy and measures and conducting health and safety patrols, is crucial.

Daily Standing Meeting

Daily Standing Meeting

One of the surprising outcomes from this initiative was that the managers and supervisors (management above the foreman) voluntarily began holding Daily Standing Meetings start from 8:00 AM for about 30 minutes to share information such as problems at the plant and near-miss occurrences, in order to improve communication. These meetings are great for understanding what is happening at the plant. These meetings continue to be held everyday, even now.

Safety Circle and Human Resource Development

At the moment, these safety initiatives are based on understanding the US laws and regulations, and working on understanding and incorporating methods used in Japan. However, I can confirm that these initiatives are helping to reduce the risk of industrial accidents. Out of these initiatives, the Safety Circle activities, Safety Action Requests, and communication have become absolutely essential. The Manager, Safety and Loss Control from Japan contributed by opening for the presentation of the Circle's activities, helped heighten motivation, and directed the dissemination of improvements.
The common challenge in each country is the human resource development. We are starting by reinforcing the responsibility of the management, particularly the supervisors and foremen, to work on health and safety management along with risk prediction, and to help their team heighten awareness of health and safety by instructing the responsibility of “returning his/her staff come to work healthy to home healthy.”
As a result of keeping up these activities for a year, the number of accidents at the Peoria plant has been reduced to less than half the number of the previous year. We are planning to disseminate the implementation of the main principles of these activities to every plant in KAC, as well as all related manufacturing facilities. In the future, we hope that the health and safety levels throughout KAC will rise through more voluntary safety initiatives and internal audits. I believe that this will lead to better safety and reassurance for our customers.

The Safety Circle activities presentation

The Safety Circle activities presentation

Safety simulation sensory training by supervisor

Safety simulation sensory training by supervisor