Monday, October 22, 2012

Indiana Foundry Hits Record on Days Without Lost Time

Make-It-Safe Monday

A colleague of mine forwarded me the following article posted a couple weeks ago.  I was moved to incorporate it into our Make-It-Safe Monday blog, while I give this organization a HUGE standing ovation on how to address workplace injuries head on.  Pay particular attention to the underline portions, as I believe these are key points to mimic their success:

Bremen Castings Celebrates 495 Days
Indiana Foundry Hits Record on Days Without Lost Time

Foundries and machine shops are notoriously known for being dangerous places, but one Indiana foundry is changing the tides of the industry. Bremen Castings Inc. (BCI) in Bremen, Indiana has gone almost 500 days without lost time. Lost time injury is defined as an occurrence that resulted in a fatality, permanent disability or lost time from work of one day or shift and possibly more.

President JB Brown notes, “We have an incredible staff that come to work and every single day, but we’ve implanted strategies and procedures to make sure that everyone is accountable for everyone’s safety while at work. One example is that require all employees to file “near miss” reports. So if there is a cable in the way or a slippery step, the employee is responsible for moving it and filing a report to inform upper management of the issue. This example is then looked at by our executive team to determine how we can possibly change things in the future to prevent a possible situation from happening.”  BCI’s last lost time occurred over a year ago and required their employee to miss one full shift of work. Since then the foundry and machine shop have gone incident free.

In the future BCI would like to establish a zero incident culture, 1,000,000 man hours without a lost work time and two years without lost work time. JB Brown is available to speaking about this milestone and their safety initiatives within Bremen Castings. Please contact me to schedule an interview.


About Bremen Castings Inc.: this family owned foundry and machine shop was founded in 1939 in Bremen, Indiana. With over 70 years of experience, BCI is known worldwide for its quality gray and ductile iron machined castings. As a leader in the machining & foundry industry, Bremen houses its own machine shop & foundry. Keeping up with technology is high on the priority list with the Brown family as the company continually reinvests in new equipment for production, environmental, and automation improvements. BCI uses 92% recycled ferrous material to produce world class gray and ductile iron castings for our world market. For more information about Bremen Castings Inc. please visit their website at

I can only imagine you are just as impressed as I am with how they approach work place injury.  Let's break this down into key talking and DOING points:
  1. Indiana Foundry Hits Record on Days Without Lost Time.  I love how they turned their success into a press release.  This is how it should be.  Notice the release did not highlight increased productivity, higher revenue streams, greater positioning in the marketplace.  It focused solely how their bragging rights to bring greater command on dealing with workplace injury.
  2. Foundries and machine shops are notoriously known for being dangerous places.  Tremendous first start, they recognized the problem.  Identifying the problem is paramount to  a path to elimation.  I am sure there are many companies out there that may be in a semi-state of denial when it comes to their own problems.  Bremen Castings Inc. can be a good example of how a very good place to start is to admit the problems are there.
  3. 500 days without lost time.  Bravo!  It can be done.  Bremen Castings Inc. set a goal, put policy in place, and made it a reality.  
  4. We have an incredible staff that come to work.  That's right, it is STILL always about the people.  I love how Bremen Castings Inc. is giving its compliments to its workforce.  As I said in my first post, workplace safety is a TEAM sport.  It is by the people, and for the people.
  5. Everyone is accountable.  This is exactly how it should be.  I think there are few moments in life where you resign your survival to the hands of others; being a passanger in an airplane or car, jumping in a roller coaster, or maybe putting yourself in the hands of a doctor for surgery. When it comes to workplace safety, EVERY INDIVIDUAL has a say through actions of how safe they remain that day.  
  6. Require all employees to file “near miss” reports.  I think this is the most compelling statement of the above article.  First, notice what this is NOT.  It is NOT an accident report. It is NOT a hospital report.  It is NOT an insurance claim report.  It is NOT a report to a family informing of lost work by the families' primary wage earner.  Simply, it is the acme of preventative measures.  I imagine this to be much like a game of safety telephone that could play out like this:  THE FLOOR ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE WAREHOUSE IS UNUSUALLY SLIPPERY.  EXERCISE CAUTION WHEN WALKING. PASS IT ON.  By informing others of impending danger, and filing these BEAUTIFUL near-miss reports is the front line to workplace injury prevention.
  7. Looked at by our executive team to determine how we can possibly change things in the future.  Clear leadership on workplace safety is vital to not only initiate measures, but to maintain them overtime and throughout an organization.  In the case with Bremen Castings Inc.  it is part of their daily and weekly agenda to make regular assessment on their safety policy and its effectiveness.  Imagine if the President of the United States gave a "state of the union" address on a daily basis.  Despite a little ennui, issues of the nation would be on the front of your mind DAILY.  In essence, this is how companies need to be when it comes to addressing injury.  This is how you get to 500 days without an injury.
  8. Establish a zero incident culture.  I was once told by a business mentor of mine that the difference between dreams and goals are that goals have a timeline.  I would be willing to bet that there are a significant amount of Environment and Health Safety managers that dream of turning their company into a completely injury-free environment.  Save from rendering themselves jobless if this were to actually occur, The spirit is there when a goal like establishing a zero incident culture is the true objective.  To make this policy, you have to put a timeline to the dream.  Little by little, bit by bit, calculated improvements can be made to eradicate the disease of workplace injury.  Do you think Bremen Castings Inc. is done with safety considerations now that they acheived 500 days without injury?  NO! 1000 days is right around the corner for them, and I look forward to reporting this when it happens.
Thank you for your time and attention.  Let's make it safe this Monday.

Aaron Lamb 
President, Ergologistics