Four Seconds to Safety: Building Plastipak’s Culture of Safety

June 27, 2023

With the fast-paced, high-pressure nature of plant work, manufacturers have a special obligation to ensure their employees are kept safe. From properly maintaining facilities to implementing adequate training, employers can take a number of key steps to protect their workers. At Plastipak, we’ve continued our unwavering commitment to safety since our founding in 1967. Even though our commitment has stayed the same, we’ve routinely reviewed and enhanced our approach over time to strengthen our safety policies and practices. Engaging all of our associates in Plastipak safety program is the cornerstone of our success. Our safety data is a leading indicator that transcends all business metrics. For example, over 80% of our global workforce is actively engaged in our safety program. Whether this be through a safety conversation or a near miss/observation, we value the feedback of our workforce and use these as opportunities to learn from and improve our processes.

2022 — Our Safest Year Yet

The most well-thought-out safety policy isn’t worth much if it doesn’t get results. That’s why we judge our programs and policy changes by objective data to see what’s working and what needs to be changed. We put our latest round of safety revisions through this same review process, and by every metric, our latest enhancements to our safety programs are working.

In 2022, we recorded our lowest number of injuries since Plastipak was founded over 50 years ago, including historic lows for serious injuries. Our injury rates continue to fall well below what’s common in the plastics manufacturing industry.

At the core of these stellar results is our associates dedication to our strong safety values and high levels of engagement with the safety program throughout the company. Our leadership at every level, has a strong commitment to workplace safety and supports the effective policies we’ve put in place to embody this vision.

Adapting Our Approach

Last year, we made a strategic shift in our overall safety philosophy, switching from merely a compliance-based approach to focusing on the work that is actually getting done and the people that are doing it. This new approach is guided by the principles of Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), through which we seek to understand and influence our associates’ actions and choices to facilitate safer working conditions and practices. Instead of merely writing rules and expecting our associates to follow them, we now focus on the real-life tasks getting done on the manufacturing floor and the people behind that work. For example, we updated our injury investigation process to reflect this new mindset. We’ve also started to assemble learning teams that proactively address potential safety issues within our company.
To keep safety at the forefront of all we do, we intentionally set up touch points between supervisors and our newest team members to encourage additional learning opportunities and allow for opportunities to ask questions. We also pair our new associates with mentors to help them safely integrate into their new roles and encourage them not to do more than they were trained to do.

Key Safety Tips

Our safety motto at Plastipak is “Four Seconds to Safety” because we know many workplace injuries can be prevented by simply taking just a few seconds to stop, think and assess before you react. Rushing is one of the greatest causes of injuries in the workplace. Our “Four Seconds to Safety” mindset seeks to address that.

A key safety concept to move with your eyes before you move your body. We train our associates to make sure there are no hazards in the way before moving their hands and feet. We also stress the importance of checking any areas associates may place their hands into or rest their hands on to make sure they are safe.

By taking the time and reminding our associates of a few common-sense safety provisions and carefully taking their feedback into account, we are building a strong workplace culture of safety.

If you’re interested in joining a team that takes your safety seriously, visit our Careers page to learn more about our available positions.