Luxfer is a materials technology company, specializing in the design, manufacture, and supply of high-performance materials, components, and gas cylinders to meet customer’s specifications.
The Riverside, California, facility manufactures complex parts made of aluminum, magnesium, and titanium for the aerospace, automotive, rail, and medical industries, using an exclusive forming process called Superplastic Forming (SPF).
With this process, the company provides parts to The Boeing Company, Bombardier Incorporated, Embraer SA, Karma Automotive, among others. Its 90,000 square feet facility has five SPF presses with capacities enabling part manufacture up to 10 feet x 6 feet x 3 feet in size, accompanied by five 5-axis computer (or computerized) numerical control trimming centers; computer-aided three dimensional interactive application, design, manufacturing functions; and automated capability maturity models for inspection. This facility also contains state-of-the-art welding capabilities.
Luxfer Superform learned about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), On-Site Consultation Program, through professional associations and formal training sessions provided by the Cal/OSHA Consultation Services Branch office in San Bernardino, California. The OSHA On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. On-Site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies, such as the Cal/OSHA Consultation Services Branch or universities, work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice for compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing and improving safety and health programs.
“After learning through positive outreach experiences who and what Cal/OSHA Consultation Services Branch was,” said Human Resources Manager, Angela Rayfield, “it seemed like the next proactive and logical step to improve our safety and health culture.”
Reached Out for Help
The company reached out to the Cal/OSHA Consultation Services Branch, and their first on-site consultation visit occurred on December 1, 2015. Over a 4-year period that included five consultations, 27 hazards were identified, of which 11 were categorized as serious. Nearly three quarters of the hazards found were identified during the first three consultation visits. These hazards included machine guarding, electrical, personal protective equipment (PPE), lockout/tagout, emergency eyewash, and other noncompliant issues.
Luxfer Superform worked with the CAL/OSHA consultants to correct all of the hazards.
“With the CAL/OSHA Consultation Team’s support, we have made many great changes to our safety programs over the past few years,” said Rayfield. These changes included, but were not limited to, establishing employee safety committees and teams, conducting safety stand-down meetings, performing job hazard analyses, reviewing and updating safety programs, updating PPE requirements and products, and establishing a robust safety training program.
Participating in the OSHA On-Site Consultation Program continues to benefit Luxfer Superform in a number of ways.
Along with increased employee participation, safety is promoted and supported by senior management and leadership.
“We strive to place health and safety at the forefront of everything we do, and we are honored to be recognized with the OSHA Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) certificate and banner,” Rayfield said. On October 1 last year, the company earned its initial approval to become a SHARP participant. This program recognizes small business employers who have used OSHA On-Site Consultation Program services and operate an exemplary safety and health program. Acceptance of a worksite into SHARP from OSHA is an achievement of status that singles Luxfer Superform out among its business peers as a model for worksite safety and health.
While improving the safety and health management system at Luxfer Superform, the challenge was getting employee involvement and moving toward a safety culture. Change is always difficult, and the status quo sometime proves hard to overcome.
“For us, progress started with making small changes, gradually adding more changes once prior changes had been successfully implemented,” Rayfield said. “The majority of these changes came from input of the Cal/OSHA Consultation Team.”
Strong Safety Culture
Participating in these programs assisted the company in developing a strong safety culture. Now, there is substantially more employee involvement in all levels of Luxfer Superform’s safety and health management system. Safety has been fully integrated as part of their quality systems as well. Management and employees frequently perform internal audits to ensure safety remains part of the team culture and always acts as a primary focus when developing and implementing policies and procedures. Working with CAL/OSHA has had several additional positive impacts on the company.
To earn the OSHA SHARP designation, companies must have injury and illness rates below the national average. Improving adherence to OSHA safety standards and updating company safety policies and procedures positively affected Luxfer Superform’s injury and illness rates. In 2014, the year before the first CAL/OSHA visit, the company experienced five recordable injuries and illnesses. After working with CAL/OSHA starting in December of 2015, there have only been two recordable injuries, both in 2017.
From 2015 through 2017, their average total recordable case (TRC) rate was 2.10, their average days away, restricted, and/or transfer (DART) rate was 1.14. For North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code 332112, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the national industry average TRC rate was 5.37 (61 percent higher than Luxfer Superform), and the national average DART rate was 3.07 during this period (63 percent higher than Luxfer Superform).