Lafarge's Medford Quarry Reaches Amazing Safety Milestone
Lafarge North America Inc.
On June 17, 2013, Lafarge North America's Medford Quarry in New Windsor, Maryland reached an astounding safety milestone: 36 consecutive years without a single lost-time incident (LTI). To make this achievement even more amazing, it occurred right in the middle of the company's 6th Annual Health & Safety Month.
An LTI is an incident that injures or sickens an employee such that they cannot make it in on their next scheduled work day. Given the nature of the work going on at Medford Quarry - welding and cutting, blasting and drilling - combined with the heavy equipment used to get that work done, like dozers and excavators, haul trucks, crushers and conveyors, it is hard to believe that the last incident that resulted in lost time dates back to 1977. That translates to 2.6 million man-hours worked, without a single LTI.
Lafarge prides itself on its strong industry safety record, and its consistent focus on health and safety engenders a strong safety culture at all sites across the U.S. and around the world. Even so, accidents occasionally happen. So what accounts for such a remarkable safety achievement? According to Plant Manager Randy Heckler and Foreman Tom Lombardi, it's a combination of safety training and good, safety-smart people.
"There are a lot of procedures to review, and Lafarge has a lot of training," says Lombardi. "But I give most of the credit to the individual employees - they really look out for one another."
Medford is a relatively small operation, with only 18 employees currently. Most of the crew has been at Medford for 30 years or more. "At this point we work together like a family," says Lombardi, who marked his own 27th year at the Medford Quarry this past April.
Plant Manager Randy Heckler is a veritable newcomer, having been at Medford for less than 6 months. But being new to the operation gives Heckler a unique perspective and interesting insight into why it works so well. "I think a lot of it is due to the pace at which the guys work. They work hard, keep a steady pace, and don't fall behind - which is when many accidents happen," says Heckler.
Open, on-the-spot communication is another safety feature at Medford. As Lombardi explains, "One of the best things we did here, years ago, is we empowered everyone here to speak up if something doesn't look right. So everyone is an extra set of eyes for everyone else."
"That's critical," adds Heckler. "Having the guts to speak up when you see something that doesn't look right is a proven lifesaver."
Even beyond the safety achievement, the Medford Quarry crew takes great pride in their quarry and their company. "They care about every corner of the operation, from safety to quality to production and sales," says Heckler. "There's a whole lot of buy-in."
"I'm very proud of the Medford Plant for reaching such an impressive and important milestone." says Lafarge U.S. CEO John Stull. "With health and safety being our first priority, it's something all of Lafarge can be proud of. Medford's safety record sets a great example for the rest of our operations, and sets a high bar we encourage them all to try and reach."
Lafarge North America Inc. ("Lafarge") has more than 260 industrial and distribution sites and approximately 3,400 employees in 40 States in its U.S. cement, aggregate, concrete and gypsum businesses. Lafarge U.S. is an operating unit of Lafarge North America Inc. Lafarge is active in local environment, education and sustainable construction partnerships including the Wildlife Habitat Council, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, Habitat for Humanity, the American Institute of Architectural Students and the National Building Museum.
Lafarge S.A., together with its subsidiaries (the "Lafarge Group" or the "Group"), is the world leader in building materials and employs 65,000 people in 64 countries, and posted sales of €15.8 billion in 2012. As a top-ranking player in its Cement, Aggregates and Concrete businesses, the Group contributes to the construction of cities around the world, through its innovative solutions providing them with more housing and making them more compact, more durable, more beautiful, and better connected. Lafarge North America Inc. and its subsidiaries, including Lafarge Canada Inc., are Lafarge Group companies, and together constitute the largest diversified supplier of construction materials in the United States and Canada.
With the world's leading building materials research facility, the Lafarge Group places innovation at the heart of its priorities in order to contribute to more sustainable construction and to better serve architectural creativity. Since 2010, the Group has been part of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, the first global sustainability benchmark in recognition of its sustainable development actions. More information is available on the Lafarge Group's website: www.lafarge.com