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Hydro Takes a Stand on Safety
30-minute production standstill emphasizes need for plant safety in aluminum extrusion plants
“If we are willing to shut down multi-million dollar projects so we can talk to every worker about safety, we’re going to get their attention, said Extrusion Americas President Fernando Simόnes Henriques. “It reaffirms our insistence that on the worksite, safety is a requirement that we will enforce very aggressively. A safe workplace helps us improve productivity and contain costs, but most importantly it’s the right thing to do.”
In preparation for the work stoppage, facility management teams met with employees to determine the barriers to becoming zero-injury facilities. The intelligence gathered at these meetings was used to focus management team presentations and discussions during the stand-down.
Several operations in Hydro’s Extrusion Americas group have run accident-free for years. In Argentina, extrusion plant workers have gone more than 900 days – nearly three years – without an accident. In Kalamazoo, Mich., they have not had an incident in more than 800 days. Hydro’s extrusion facility in Sidney, Ohio, has not had an incident since November 2008; in Guaymas, Mexico since December 2008.
Steve Robuck, Health, Safety and Environment director for Extrusion Americas, believes the stand-down will further the company’s safety mindset. “To get to zero injuries, we need visible leadership, improved communication, and personal involvement. When you’re talking about workplace injuries, good is not good enough. We can and will be better.”
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Extrusion Americas is a unit of Norsk Hydro, a global supplier of aluminum and aluminum products. Based in Norway, the company employs 23,000 people in 40 countries and has activities on all continents. Hydro is the world’s third-largest aluminum supplier, the largest single manufacturer of primary metal and extruded aluminum products in Europe, and a leader in delivering innovative light metal solutions to the automotive and building industries worldwide.