**Does not include the operations of IVC or KAI, which were acquired in 2015. Tracking for both businesses began in 2016.
Mohawk utilizes the U.S. standard for incident case clarification as specified in 29 CFR 1904 in order to maintain a consistent and viable means of case classification on a global basis.
Training plays a significant role in reducing the risk of injury on the manufacturing floor. In 2015, a group of supervisors and managers successfully completed the 10-hour Occupational Safety Training Course for general industry, which includes topics such as protective equipment and machine guarding. Also during the year, a number of participants were certified in the Mohawk Master Safety Trainer program, enabling us to use our own employees to deliver Mohawk safety training to co-workers. Similarly, we added additional American Red Cross-certified training instructors to our ranks in 2015. These instructors are certified to provide training to personnel in our facilities.
The effectiveness of our strategy to leverage internal resources is also seen in an internally developed version of Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Specification (OHSAS) 18001 certification. This internal certification audits to the same criteria as externally developed certification. During the year, two sites received the internal certification, and six additional sites passed external OHSAS 18001 certification.
Among the facilities to receive 18001 certifications in 2015 were Dal-Tile plants in El Paso, Texas, and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In addition to the OHSAS 18001 certification, Gettysburg achieved two other important milestones: the VPP Star site designation, and a 90 or above score on a Global Health and Safety Audit, making it the first plant in Mohawk history to earn a safety “Triple Crown.” These awards are testaments to the strong safety culture of the 200 team members of the plant.
In recognition of Mohawk’s safety successes, Liberty Mutual presented 88 awards for safety performance at individual sites in 2015. Sites must achieve a DART rate of 50 percent or better than the industry average to earn a Safety Commendation Award; 60 percent or better for a Silver Award; and 80 percent or better for a Gold Award. In addition, the Georgia Association of Manufacturers recognized 26 Mohawk facilities in Georgia for zero lost time accidents in 2015. Finally, the North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL) awarded all three sites in Garner with a first-year Gold Award, which is given to organizations that have achieved at least 50 percent below the average for its industry group. Unilin Garner employees accepted the Gold Award on behalf of the plant at the NCDOL ceremony.
At Mohawk, we strive to promote a culture of safety not only through training and practice, but also through employee engagement. For the second year in a row, we had 100 percent participation across all North American businesses in our Corporate Safety Scorecard, which tracks both leading and lagging indicators to support our emphasis on proactively reducing risks. As a result, we are able to realize ongoing reductions in overall injuries and the associated costs, both personal and business, associated with them.
Beyond completing the Corporate Safety Scorecard, many plants undertake their own employee safety engagement initiatives. At our Sunnyvale, Texas, plant, for example, every department began completing weekly internal audits to increase accountability and focus on preventive safety steps. The overall success of these audits was so well received that “level 2” and “level 3” versions of the audits, which include additional key safety steps, were developed and are currently being introduced. Also, as recognition for a job well-done, the Marazzi industrial department in Finale Emilia, Italy, organized an event to celebrate an injury-free year at the local production plant. All factory staff and production management attended a dinner, received t-shirts and signed commemorative tiles to pledge their commitment to safety.
Further engagement initiatives across the Company include the continued use of employee safety perception surveys, regional reviews of employee safety teams and the development of Key Performance Indicator (KPI) safety scorecards for tracking safety-related behaviors and activities. Corporate Safety Services also provides monthly messages on the myMohawk employee website and on digital signage to support our commitment to safety.
The Karastan manufacturing site in Eden, North Carolina, celebrated 365 days without a recordable injury in 2015. The safety team in Eden first created a “100 Days of Safety” campaign, which included daily slogans, PowerPoint presentations, targeted toolbox meetings and other employee engagement activities. This initiative helped enhance employee awareness on safety and open the doors to communicate concerns and suggestions.
These first 100 days incentivized safety through prizes and green stickers signifying an accident-free workplace, which helped ingrain a culture of safety at the plant. After the initial 100 days, with strong support from plant management and heightened levels of employee engagement, employees kept looking out for one another and continued their safety successes.
The Eden Safety Coordinator, Tommy Perdue, attributes the plant’s safety achievements to listening. “The best advice I can give any safety person,” he explains, “is stay on the floor as much as possible. It’s important to stop and listen to, document and follow up with employee concerns.” As a testament to their ongoing commitment to safety, the Eden plant has now adopted the slogan, “Safety is a frame of mind. Think about it all the time.”
Our logistics network is made up of warehouse and distribution employees who ensure our products and materials arrive at the right place at the right time. In 2015, Liberty Mutual Insurance recognized 37 warehouse sites in the Southeast region with its prestigious Safety Commendation Award for an exemplary safety record of at least 50 percent better than the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ published rate for the industry. Meanwhile, across the country at Mohawk’s Anaheim, California, warehouse, the team reached eight years of zero accidents or incidents.
Since 2012, Mohawk has seen an overall decrease in the number of employees injured while performing logistical operations. This has allowed us to realize a reduction in our OSHA recordable rates from 3.14 in 2012 to 1.10 in 2015. We attribute this substantial improvement to our new, three-tiered safety framework, which ingrains safety throughout the organization.
The first tier, creating a solid safety foundation, ensures that all employees are aware of and held accountable for fundamental safety concepts. The slogan “STOP & THINK” is a top-of-mind and easily accessible tool used to simplify key safety protocols. The second tier, establishing a complete engagement system throughout the business unit, fosters a culture of safety throughout our organization, from management to floor-level employees. Proper engagement at all levels promotes the concept that everyone is responsible for both their own safety and that of their co-workers. Finally, because of our manually intensive operations, musculoskeletal injuries are common. Accordingly, the third tier to our framework is improving our case management performance to the best of our ability.
Better management of particular incidents has had a tremendous impact on decreasing overall injuries. As an example, we began an immediate icing protocol, wherein every employee applies ice whenever they experience any type of sprain, strain or injury in order to reduce longer-term injury. When necessary, this is followed by treatment with an occupational nurse or physical therapy coach, who in most facilities, is available 24 hours a day. Treatment of each case to the highest standard demonstrates our concern for the personal safety and well-being of our employees.
No safety strategy would be effective without preventive measures to avoid injuries in the first place. Our risk management strategy targets reducing known or perceived risks by identifying their root cause and developing preventive measures. While trends are headed in the right direction, with an average incident rate significantly less than the OSHA average of 4.6, our ultimate objective is to have zero injuries on the job.