A Continuous Improvement Mindset
We remain committed to continuous improvement in our Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) programs, delivery and results. In 2021, we formalized our “We Care” commitment to protecting our employees, helping to protect the environment, acting sustainably and engaging all employees as a shared responsibility with the launch of our “We Care” EHS Policy and Standards Manual.
Our “We Care” Manual is the operating framework to enable managing and continuously improving EHS and promoting our “We Care” culture within Whirlpool Corporation. It provides the company’s minimum requirements to control EHS risks at our sites and is aligned with the Global EHS Policy commitment. “We Care” is a way of life at Whirlpool Corporation, and we are part of the ongoing journey to ensure a workplace that protects our employees, visitors and contractors; preserves the environment; and enables our business and our people to act sustainably.
Health & Safety
|Recordable Injury & Illness Cases||528*||518||480|
|Recordable Injury & Illness Rate||0.76*||0.76||0.72|
|Serious Incident Rate||0.02||0.01||0.01|
|Total Hours Worked||140,371,368||136,921,903||133,773,414|
|Days Away from Work Rate||0.23||0.23||0.28|
|Sites ISO 45001 Certified||69%||69%||78%|
*Reflects the inclusion of 22 Recordable Cases which were inadvertently omitted from the original calculation of the 2019 Recordable Case Rate.
Core Competency Teams & High Consequence Work
Our global EHS Core Competency Teams (CCT), comprised of regional and global subject matter experts, continue to enable best practice sharing and optimization of workstreams. Among them is the Safety CCT, consisting of cross functional representatives from Engineering, Operations and EHS, who partner to implement approaches and tools to prevent incidents and injuries associated with high-consequence work. Our approach to machine safeguarding focuses on our existing machines and equipment that are assessed as high priority followed by a risk reduction process that includes remediation. For newly acquired machines and equipment, we’re enhancing our machinery safety-related Early Equipment Management (EEM) process to be globally deployed.
While 2020 was a year of development and implementation of policies and procedures related to the pandemic, 2021 efforts pivoted into change management, education and continual improvement.
In alignment with our “We Care” EHS Policy and Standards Manual, the Safety CCT is expanding our Latin America region “Attitudes for Life” campaign globally. The Attitudes for Life establish and communicate vital guiding behaviors that can save lives when performing high-consequence work such as working at heights, in a confined space or on live electrical energy. These foundational non-negotiable precautions are brought to life by the conscious choices workers make each day and reinforce the “We Care” EHS policies and procedures while elevating employee awareness regarding activities with a high-potential severity outcome.
Additionally, we continue to secure and maintain outside recognition for EHS Management System implementation with 78% of our manufacturing plants globally certified in ISO 45001.
Maintaining Safety During COVID-19
Since the global COVID-19 pandemic began, the health and safety of our employees has remained our top priority. While 2020 was a year of development and implementation of policies and procedures related to the pandemic, 2021 efforts pivoted into change management, enforcement and continual improvement. Our global EHS teams have continued to play a central role in our efforts to continue operating safely by implementing COVID-related safety protocols, enforcing the use of masks and social distancing, managing COVID-specific audit processes and responding quickly to evolving guidance, benchmarking and practical learnings. Corporate efforts to encourage employee vaccination included a steady stream of employee information and communications, on-site vaccination events held at Whirlpool Corporation facilities globally and monetary incentives for employees who got vaccinated. These significant efforts proved to be effective in a significant percentage of our employees globally getting vaccinated in 2021.
Since the onset of the pandemic, and continuing through 2021, we have continued to actively monitor the pandemic through a cross-functional Global COVID-19 Task Force, which meets weekly to assess the latest developments, make policy and procedural decisions and manage changes in our facilities.
Regulatory Compliance & Governance
One of the most critical responsibilities of the EHS function is providing assurance of EHS performance to our key stakeholders, including our consumers, our Board of Directors and our executive leadership. A continual focus of all stakeholders is compliance with environmental, health and safety regulations around the globe. 2021 saw a complete refresh of our EHS assessment process. In our continuing partnership with Gensuite, we continue to introduce new tools to drive consistency and accuracy in our assurance process.
EHS Assessment Process
Each of our manufacturing sites globally is required to conduct a “Level 1 Self-Assessment” on an annual basis. We have partnered with Enhesa, which provides country- and state-specific EHS regulatory checklists for the regions in which we have operations. Upon completion of the checklist, which includes documented evidence of compliance, the site achieves a “percent compliant,” which is used to inform leadership and track opportunities for improvement. Actions taken by a site in order to comply with a requirement are tracked internally through Gensuite’s Action Tracking System (ATS).
Global “Fresh Eyes” Assessment
Periodically (at least every third year) a team of global subject-matter experts conduct a comprehensive assessment at each of our manufacturing operations. This structure provides an external review of the site’s Level 1 self-assessment and provides an opportunity for the global team to evaluate risks to site workers and the environment and the effectiveness of controls implemented by the site. This process also includes a root cause workshop with the site Leadership Team to improve the quality of corrective and preventive actions taken by the site to address opportunities for improvement. Findings and resultant corrective actions are managed through Gensuite’s ATS.
The Level 3 assessment provides our leadership the latitude to take a “deep dive” into an area of concern at a site. A Level 3 assessment may be appropriate to conduct a comprehensive review of EHS performance metrics, such as injury and illness record keeping or Zero Waste to Landfill performance. Additionally, a Level 3 may be conducted following a serious injury to review the incident and related corrective and preventive actions.
A Focus on High-Potential Events
Another new aspect of our assessment process is an intense focus on events with potential for high-severity outcomes. High-potential (HiPo) events could be severe injuries, impact to the environment, reputational harm and/or events with the potential for business interruption. Each are examples of events with the potential for high-severity outcomes. Not coincidentally, our focus on HiPo events closely aligns with serious injuries that we’ve experienced in the past. Our goal is to raise awareness of these types of risks and incent our sites to aggressively mitigate these risks, effectively eliminating them from our operations.
Concluding the Assessment Process
At the conclusion of the Level 2 Global “Fresh Eyes” Assessment, the site is provided a maturity level. In order to advance through the EHS maturity model, a site must achieve a compliance level to regulatory obligations of 90% or better. The identification of any HiPo finding results in a default rating at the lowest level of maturity (Fundamental). In order to advance to the highest levels of maturity, a site must maintain a high level of compliance and have no HiPo events.
Preventing Injuries & Illnesses
While we maintain targets for year-over-year reduction of the total recordable incident rate (TRIR) and serious injuries, our goal is always zero. At the same time, we continue to emphasize key activity indicators (KAIs) as opportunities to fix hazards or issues before they become incidents. KAI deployment and tracking falls within the WCM methodology and includes unsafe acts, unsafe conditions and near misses. As a result of our continued growth and maturity with WCM and our utilization of Gensuite, our digital EHS solutions platform, we have experienced an increase of 24% in leading indicator reporting, which is used to establish countermeasures to further reduce risk.
As a result of our continued growth and maturity with WCM and our utilization of Gensuite, our digital EHS solutions platform, we have experienced an increase of 24% in leading indicator reporting, which is used to establish countermeasures to further reduce risk.
We continue to address ergonomics and repetitive motion injuries on an ongoing basis, as well as through robust employee onboarding processes, job rotation and engineering controls implementation. In our U.S. facilities, we have enlisted Humantech to help standardize and streamline our approach to ergonomics assessments, and our facility in Rio Claro, Brazil, was the first to achieve the Management in Ergonomics certification from the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT). This new legislative proposal is to validate the 360º vision, with clear cycles of continuous improvement, based on Brazilian Association of Technical Standards: ABNT PE.342—Ergonomics Management System.
In 2021, we experienced a total of 480 OSHA recordable injuries, 8 of which (approximately 2%) were classified as “Serious” incidents. While we recognize that even one injury event is too many, we learn from every event as we progress on our journey to maintaining zero incidents. In Q4 2021, Whirlpool Corporation manufacturing operations in all regions conducted the first ever Global Safety Stand Down led by our site operating leaders. The intent was to share key lessons learned from the serious incidents, including the fundamental precautions for performing servicing or maintenance on equipment or machinery, machine safeguarding devices and controls, and Stop Work. An outcome of the Global Safety Stand Down was to determine local issues/concerns and promote the expansion of corrective actions to closure. Our commitment as a company is to continue to identify risk within our operations and implement solutions to eliminate the risk or put defenses in place to reduce the risk and protect our employees.
Global Machine Safety Evaluation & Remediation
Starting in 2018, Whirlpool Corporation implemented a global machine remediation program focusing on Thermoformers based on trends and incidents’ analytics. The effort was expanded globally to cover the rest of the machinery implementing additional evaluation tools and controls. In 2020 Whirlpool Corporation developed the multi-year Machine Safety Initiative.
An Asset Ranking Process was implemented in order to identify and prioritize, globally, the sequence of equipment to be intervened. Following this prioritization, three specific processes are performed for each piece of equipment:
- Machine Safety Threshold Questionnaire
Evaluation form to ensure current machinery meets minimum machine safety requirements
- Functional Safety Check Procedure
To determine inspections routines for every single safety device
- Machine Risk Assessment
Deep analysis of machine’s safety devices performance level in order to identify gaps and implement countermeasures as part of the Machine’s Remediation Process
Safety Performance: A Shared Responsibility
Whirlpool Corporation is committed to reduce the frequency and severity of workplace injuries. We recognize that to get there, we must further embed EHS as a shared responsibility, relying on strong connections within and between EHS, Engineering and Operations at all levels of the organization. The WCM methodology drives cross-pillar engagement and empowers everyone to own the risk-reduction efforts.
We host Global Manufacturing Councils monthly to connect with our operational leadership and key stakeholders and align priorities, expectations and share best practices and success stories. Our EC also maintains visibility to monthly EHS performance dashboards and key improvement actions.
A personal commitment to safety is paramount at every level of the organization, and our “We Care” culture change extends to site operating leaders and frontline supervisors. To aid in this culture change, the Operating Safely workshop was developed to provide frontline supervisors and site operating leaders tools and acumen using Human Organizational Performance (HOP) principles. Human error plays a role in incidents, and error-free performance can’t be guaranteed, so HOP realizes reliable hazard defenses and human error prevention. In 4Q 2021, the Operating Safely workshop was piloted with 35 frontline supervisors and site operating leaders across three manufacturing locations in India.
Moving forward, we will continue our transformation to one Global EHS team, forging stronger connections between regions and among subject matter experts to standardize our systems and procedures, digitize our processes and operationalize EHS using the WCM methodology. We will also actively utilize our risk analysis process as our compass to drive improvement in EHS, recognizing our shared responsibility to protect our employees, preserve the environment and act sustainably, in constant pursuit of improving life at home.