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Workplace Safety at Alcoa

Essay by   •  October 24, 2016  •  Case Study  •  683 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,893 Views

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Workplace safety at Alcoa

  1. What are the key elements in Mission Valley’s approach to improving safety?
  • “safety is the top priority”: Came with arrival of Alcoa’s CEO Paul O’Neill is his belief that safety is the top priority, since he did not agree with the opinion that productivity necessitated danger. His announcement can be passed down through the daily operation among managers and workers according to the structure of vertical integration.
  • safety managers’ involvement in safety: The managers’ expertise on external and internal standards, offering advice, helping divisions implement safety procedures and processes made efforts to improve the safety.
  • Standard operation procedures: It formed the foundation of Mission Valley’s approach to safety.
  • Safety and health committees (JSHC): listing required safety actions and mandating superintendent participation in injury investigations and the monthly safety walk helped in safety adherence and enforcement.
  • Operators and supervisors’ investigation on accidents: Analysis of the causes and the recommendations on policies helped in preventing the future injuries.
  • Alcoa’s eight-step process: a standard approach for addressing quality problems.
  • Critical behavior inventory: adopted a process for workers to observe their co-workers to evaluate them on an inventory of specific behaviors.

  1. What explains the pattern of improvements the plant has experienced?
  • Workers were driven to make changes in their work process and habits according to the OSHA.
  • Regulation changed such as the speed limit for fork lift trucks.
  • Employees’ attitude towards the strict procedures changed when the accidents truly happened that arouse their attention to the importance of following the rules.
  • The organizational culture also changed generally.
  1. How effective has the approach been?
  • The safety performance had improved over the last four years from 8.65 to 5.45 serious injuries per 200,000 hours worked.
  • However, the multiples layers of organizational management could lead to the lower effectiveness because everyone take less personal responsibility for safety.
  • And there is still a long way to the benchmark of the company- Dupont’s serious injury rate of 1.08.
  1. what are the major opportunities for improving safety in Mission Valley over the next two years?
  • Conducting more internal hazard assessment: Analyzing the root causes of the accident and the similarity between them, so that the comparable hazards could be prevented in the future.
  • The safety observation and check can be conducted more frequent: The frequency of the horizontal observation, between co-workers; and the vertical check, between different levels, could be increased to decrease the accidents rate.
  • Offering rewards to the workers who can strictly follow the safety regulations and keep his or her accident rate as 0 for a longer period of time.
  1. What are the major obstacles to that improvement?
  • Lack of the employees’ awareness to the danger and the respect to the safety regulations.
  • The incomplete observation to the daily work
  • The dimmed information from the organization management
  • Lack of the leadership and responsibility of the supervisors.
  1. what is your evaluation of Linda Merton’s plan for 1992?
  1. What changes, if any, would you recommend?
  1. what position should Merton advocate, if any, in the 9:00AM meeting with Tevens and Harris?
  • Equipment operator. According to the injuries reported an Mission Valley in August 1991, this was the position with highest frequency of accidents in the organization, so these workers should be paid more attention both by managers and themselves.
  1. Should Harris fire Stepancik?
  • No, Harris should not fire Stepancik.
  • In the memo, it can be told that Harris just gave warning to Stepancik on the accident happened on his crew, but we could not tell which kind warning it was and the amount of each kind of the warnings. Since there are verbal warning and written warning before the suspension and dismissal, so we can just easily fire Stepancik in that way.
  • According to the OSHA, as a supervisor, Stepancik needs to ensure the workers wearing the protective clothes and devices, and offer advice to the workers of the potential dangers. Meanwhile, as a worker, they should also follow the disciplines, so it was not only Stepancik’s responsibility to this hazard.



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