Laconia, NH—For the third time since 2008, the Astro Division of New Hampshire Ball Bearings (NHBB) surpassed one million hours worked without incurring any lost time due to injury. And for the second time, Astro has gone 12 consecutive months without any lost-time injuries or illnesses. These achievements occurred between June 2019 and June 2020.
As a result, the National Safety Council (NSC) awarded Astro with the Million Work Hours Award and the Perfect Record Award. The NSC is a leading national nonprofit organization whose mission is to advocate for safety at work, home, and on America's roadways.
"Safety is more than a high priority at the Astro division, it’s the primary pillar in our value system,” says Rich Bardellini, Executive Vice President of NHBB and General Manager of the Astro Division. “Our value system is passionately driven and supported by top management and front-line employees, and our commitment to safety is demonstrated through an empowered Joint Loss Safety Committee. I am very proud of and not at all surprised by Astro's safety achievement 'hat trick’, given the committee's long-established history of excellence."
Compared to the manufacturing industry as a whole, a million hours worked without a single injury leading to lost time is a remarkable achievement. The typical fabricated metal manufacturing company averaged 1.1 incidents resulting in lost time in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The incident rate for other bearing manufacturers that same year was 0.9.
According to Mike Hamilton, Astro’s EHS coordinator, the Division’s outstanding safety record is the result of effective leadership, a robust safety program, and the commitment of every employee to creating a safe work environment. Mike says three things are the foundation of Astro's successful safety program: extensive training, an active safety committee, and a consistent flow of communication between committee members and other employees.
Extensive safety training starts from day one, during the New Employee Orientation Program (NEOP), and continues throughout an employees’ tenure. The safety committee holds monthly meetings to analyze safety metrics, review recent incidents, and discuss measures for preventing accidents before they happen. Division managers, EHS staff, and shop floor employees are on the committee, and they conduct frequent “Toolbox Talks” on the shop floor to share information. The EHS staff also writes and circulates regular Safety Alerts, which are one-page memos about a specific safety topic.
“A safe workplace is the result of everyone consistently doing the right things daily to prevent injuries and illnesses,” says Mike Hamilton. “NHBB’s commitment to safety is very evident here. During my career as a safety officer, I have worked at four different companies, and I can tell you that NHBB’s safety program and emergency preparedness response protocols are the best I’ve seen.”
While its recent awards are commendable, the Astro Division is not alone in creating a safe workplace. Every MinebeaMitsumi employee fully understands that a safe, healthy workplace is essential for improving product and service quality, consistency of manufacturing operations, and employee morale. For more information about MinebeaMitsumi's approach to safety, visit their Environment, Social and Governance web page.