Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Best practices for creating a safety culture

November 4, 2010
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Automation professionals – including manufacturing innovators, decision makers, designers and engineers – learned how to better protect personnel, equipment and the environment using advanced machine safety technologies and best practices at the Safety Automation Forum in Orlando, Fla., on November 2.

The event, "Protecting People, Productivity and Planet," attracted more than 300 attendees, and featured keynote speakers Greg Anderson, author of Safety 24/7: Building an Incident-Free Culture, and William Hilton, director of Safety & Health for Georgia-Pacific’s North American Consumer Products Business. Together, they detailed best practices for creating a successful safety culture among employees to ultimately improve safety and productivity.

"A number of critical components are necessary for a company to be successful in establishing a safety culture, including risk assessments," said Steve Eisenbrown, senior vice-president, Rockwell Automation, who provided closing remarks. "Namely credibility, commitment, accountability and rigor. If employees don’t believe it’s a credible program, or if they believe it’s simply a marketing ploy, then it will surely fail. In a successful safety culture, everyone is a stakeholder."

According to event speakers, consistent commitment from senior management drives that credibility.


"Most companies have some level of management commitment, but it must result in action and funding," Eisenbrown explained. "Without this, a safety program cannot survive. If you have management’s commitment, and you have buy-in throughout the organization, then safety becomes a core value. Without buy-in and consistent reinforcement throughout the organization, it will be very difficult to drive a safety culture and to view employees as critical assets in the organization – no matter how you conduct a risk assessment."

To understand and adopt that philosophy takes time and continued commitment by the senior management team and the rest of the organization to see it through.

In addition to creating and sustaining a successful safety culture, industry experts, including specialists from PepsiCo Americas, Universal Creative, National Security Agency, Vestas and Rockwell Automation, armed attendees with insight into the continued importance of machine safety in manufacturing. Sessions detailed how enhancements in machine safety can improve personnel protection while positively affecting the bottom line, as well as helped attendees understand how to overcome compliance challenges with global standards.

To view presentations from the event, visit

Rockwell Automation created the multi-session, one-day industry conference to be held in conjunction with its annual Automation Fair event.

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