Manufacturing,Safety | March 13 2019

Cuts Like A Knife: How Kokomo Transmission Plant Reduced Laceration Injuries

“Be safe by choice, not by chance” is the mantra Kokomo Transmission Plant (KTP) employees heard during a new safety program rolled out in 2018 by the Laceration Elimination Committee.

Wait, a Laceration Elimination Committee? Yes, in a building full of sharp edges, corners and raw sheet metal, lacerations pose a risk to employees in the production of transmissions at the Indiana plant.

“The committee came together after 61% of the plant’s total injuries in 2017 were lacerations, up 30% since 2015,” said Maria Milescu – Environment, Health & Safety Lead for KTP. “We made it our mission to create a safer workplace for our colleagues.”

Lacerations include anything from minor to severe skin tears.

The committee developed a dual method to train the more than 4,000 plant employees: Laceration Awareness Training and a Mobile Laceration Dojo.

The Dojo, a special training area for deep learning, was launched in July 2018 and can be moved around the 3.1-million-square-foot plant to train employees at their workstations on laceration awareness and countermeasures.

Laceration Awareness Training focuses on eliminating the risk first, then using Personal Protection Equipment, like cut-resistant gloves and arm sleeves, as a last resort.

Six months after training began, the plant reduced its laceration injuries by 19% by eliminating unnecessary sharp edges on conveyors and installing rubber trim on sharp edges throughout the plant.

KTP’s forward-thinking solution was recently recognized by the state of Indiana during the Governor’s Workplace Safety Awards. Open to all Indiana businesses, organizations and people, the awards honor best practices for eliminating workplace injuries and illnesses. Of the five award categories, FCA was recognized with the Innovation Award for implementing a new or unique approach and strategy aimed at enhancing employee safety and health.

“All Kokomo Transmission Plant employees should be proud of this recognition. The entire plant worked together to tackle a significant safety issue,” said Jerry Skomp, plant manager at KTP. “It took the effort and ingenuity of the committee to develop a solution, combined with the teamwork of the employees to implement the program. Everyone worked together to earn this award, and make our plant a safer place.”

The Dojo and Laceration Awareness Training continue to educate KTP employees in 2019.