Zero Injury Program
Over 10 years ago, Xerox ramped up its safety processes in order to reduce workplace injuries to the optimum level: zero. In 2009, the Total Recordable Incident (TRI) rate decreased 7% from 2008 while the Days Away from Work (DAFW) rate decreased by 4%. These numbers represent a 62% improvement in the TRI rate and a 53% improvement in the DAFW rate since 1996. This improvement is consistent with our goal of continual improvement. Xerox experienced no work-related fatalities in 2009.
Xerox Recordable Injury rate (five-year history)
At the heart of this program is the overarching commitment to make safety a core value of each operation. For 2009, our target was set on the basis of a 5% improvement in injury rates over the better of the last two years’ performance. A focus on proactive methods such as the utilization of an effective health and safety management system, an ever-renewed commitment to management leadership and an aggressive hazard recognition and prevention program using employee involvement, work together to allow us to reach our goals. Reporting of work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities is based on the same criteria for all operations, worldwide, regardless of the geography in which they reside. In addition to the Xerox Corporation roll-up, monitoring of injury frequency rates occurs for different geographies and by organization.
Xerox Injury rate performance, by geography
For 2010, our objective remains to continue year-over-year improvement and to implement comprehensive safety management processes. When possible, we utilize external frameworks and third-party review to validate our programs. For example, our AMAT photoreceptor manufacturing operation in Webster, New York, has been recommended for “Merit” certification under the U.S. Occupational Health & Safety Administration’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), and our Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, facility is VPP “Star” status. In addition, our three European manufacturing facilities are certified to OHSAS 18001, further demonstrating exemplary performance in safety management.
Motor Vehicle Safety
With our service technicians and sales representatives depending on their vehicles to get their jobs done, motor vehicle safety is a key component of our safety initiatives. Xerox has in place a company car program that specifies motor vehicle safety requirements of drivers; and Xerox provides employees with comprehensive driver safety training and ongoing reviews of their driving records. Company vehicles have safety features such as daytime running lights and safety barriers between the driver’s seat and storage areas.
Musculoskeletal disorders represent about one-half of our work-related injuries and illnesses. That’s why Xerox has taken significant steps to reduce ergonomic stresses in the workplace. We recorded a 7% decline in reports of musculoskeletal disorders in U.S. operations in 2009 compared to 2008, a 58% decline since 1992. We address potential ergonomic issues in a variety of ways, always keeping in mind that the most effective way to prevent ergonomic injuries is to minimize the risk factors up-front when the job is designed.
For example, the company’s health and safety organization develops and promotes these ergonomic assessments and tools:
To improve ergonomic conditions across the population, Xerox developed an ergonomic training program aimed at our aging workforce. In 2009 we were able to train the majority of our manufacturing population. Over the next two years we plan to modify this program to meet the specific needs of our other work groups. The training is designed to provide simple ergonomic strategies, as well as awareness of the normal aging process, to reduce personal risk to employees.
Xerox’s emergency preparedness and response program helps protect the safety of Xerox employees, their surrounding communities and the environment. It requires all Xerox operations worldwide to develop documented plans for responding to fires, chemical releases, natural disasters and other potential incidents. Mandatory management reviews, scheduled routinely, as well as drills and corporate audits, verify that plans will be effective in protecting our people and our business during emergencies. In addition, Business Resumption Plans are in place and drills are conducted annually to ensure effective processes are in place to restore business operations post-incident.
Our plans strive to strike a balance between being detailed enough to address specific issues and being flexible enough to allow us to effectively deal with the uniqueness of any particular event. The H1N1 influenza virus in 2009 was a successful test of our planning and execution. When the influenza outbreak first occurred in Mexico City, we immediately implemented key elements of our pandemic preparedness plan including hygiene practices, work from home processes and use of personal protective equipment. When this threat expanded beyond Mexico, Xerox created an Incident Command Team with membership from Xerox subject matter experts and major operations globally. It is through this Incident Command Team that the risk was assessed, safety and business continuity decisions were made and communications were issued to all Xerox employees. Our pandemic plan served us well, and has been further refined to improve our preparedness for future threats.
Monitoring Workplace Exposures
To protect employees from unsafe exposures to chemicals, noise and radiation, Xerox defines strict exposure limits for worldwide manufacturing, research and service operations. They reflect the most stringent regulatory requirements or industry standards. For some materials – including toners, solvents and certain metals – Xerox has established limits well below the strictest regulations and standards.
Industrial Hygiene and Safety Professionals monitor and characterize workplace exposures through implementation of the Xerox Exposure Assessment Process and execution of Annual IH Sampling Plans. Exposures are minimized and controlled through use of engineering controls, safe job procedures and use of personal protective equipment. Of the workplace exposures monitored in 2009, 97% were within Xerox limits.
Health Studies: Establishing the Safety of Toner
As one of the world’s largest manufacturers and distributors of toner – a fine powder composed of plastics, colorants and small quantities of functional additives – Xerox recognizes the need to help ensure its safe development, production and use by employees and customers. We carefully review the safety of all materials used to make our toners and have invested in studies to examine the potential for any long-term health effects from exposure to toner.
The first of these studies, a comprehensive laboratory analysis completed in 1989, indicated some health effects at very high levels of dust exposure – levels that workers would likely not be exposed to in Xerox plants. Nonetheless, Xerox has lowered toner dust levels in our factories and established strict controls on dust emissions from Xerox products.
Other studies focus on Xerox employees who manufacture toner and service our equipment. One study continues to evaluate more than 32,000 employees who worked at Xerox between 1960 and 1982. To determine if there are work-related mortality patterns, the study uses standardized techniques to compare employee causes of death to causes of death for the overall U.S. population. Another study is evaluating the potential health effects of toner on current Xerox manufacturing and service employees exposed to toner. To date, these studies have shown no evidence of chronic health effects due to toner exposure.
With the burgeoning growth of color printing and Xerox’s market leadership in color production printing, the company has expanded its health assessment studies to employees exposed to color toners.