US – Indiana Transmission Plant I (ITPI) and its 2,700 personnel, including 1,100 new hires, have now operated for three years without a lost-time injury. The facility makes six-speed transmissions as well as nine-speed units for the Jeep Cherokee, turning out 500,000 of the latter since May 2013.
“The most important asset of any company is the people who perform the work,” commented Brian Harlow, vice-president – Manufacturing, North America. “This record is a result of the commitment of the ITPI team to doing the right thing to help control and eliminate safety hazards identified in the workplace.” With the encouragement of the plant’s management and UAW, employees have proactively addressed hazards, improved the working environment and focused on training to eliminate work-related injuries or illnesses.
The OEM says “a main contributor” to achieving the milestone has been its World Class Manufacturing (WCM) system, which includes safety as one of its ten fundamental principles. Through implementation of WCM and employee suggestions, ITPT identified more than 5,000 possibilities to drive forward its safety. These included ergonomic assessments, delivery of parts to ‘the golden zone’ immediately in front of the operator and designing machines with dry-floor protection to eliminate slip hazards.
“ITPI is now a recognised benchmark in safety throughout the FCA network,” said Jeremy Keating, ITPI plant manager. “In fact, several of our best practices in safety have been implemented by other facilities in the company.”